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One of the delights of a garden is the opportunity to watch birds that invariably come and make use of it. The more they get used to you, the bolder they will become in your presence, but what should you do when they are starting to affect your home?

Birds can cause problems around your house. Birds like Jackdaws nest in your chimney and can cause fires, while other species can decimate your vegetable plots. If you notice that larger birds are intimidating smaller birds for food, try changing the food you are feeding them.

There are some easy ways to stop birds from being too much of a nuisance in your garden. For some great tips, please read on.

Photo of Jackdaw on chimney

Stop Birds From Nesting In Your Chimney

Birds do not see the difference between a natural tree hole and a chimney pot. Birds such as Jackdaws often view the latter as an attractive nest site and, recognizing that the hole is too deep, attempt to make it smaller by filling it with sticks.

Jackdaws have learned that sooner or later, the sticks may wedge, creating a platform on which the nest can be built. Too often, the plan fails causing the sticks to drop down, creating a mess in the fireplace, or becoming lodged too far down to be of any use but creating a blockage, which can be a potential fire hazard.

If the chimney is swept every year, the risk is reduced, but blockages make the sweep’s job more difficult and expensive for you. You can discourage this behavior by fitting a mesh cap to the chimney but have the flue swept every autumn anyway.

Stop Birds From Drinking Your Milk

Although getting milk delivered to your door is not as popular as it once was, there is still a chance that birds will peck at the foil of any milk bottle they see.

Blue tits and Great tits learn to associate milk bottles with an easy source of rich food, especially the cream that collects at the top of full-fat milk, just under the foil cap.

The supply is replenished daily, and these birds have been known to follow the milkman on his rounds. The decline in doorstep deliveries of milk and the increasing popularity of low-fat milk, less appealing to birds, have reduced the problem.

However, if you do find your morning pint is tampered with, leave the plastic cap from a used aerosol can on the doorstep and ask the milkman to use it to cover the foil top when he delivers.

The amount of milk lost may be small, but bird beaks carry germs, so these birds should be discouraged.

Keeping Birds Away From Vegetable Plots

Every vegetable gardener will lose part or all of a crop to birds at some time. Wood pigeons and Starlings are common culprits, but house sparrows can also do plenty of damage.

The measures you can take to keep birds away from areas where they are not wanted fall into scarers or barriers. Barrier techniques such as mesh fences or cages can be labor-intensive and visually unattractive. Bird scarers can work well, but you must ensure that the birds become used to them.

Try making your own scarecrows or use reflective materials such as old CDs or foil. Shiny objects on strings that twinkle as the breeze catches them can be highly effective.

A scarecrow can be both functional and decorative. If making your own scarecrow, make sure the clothing is loose so that it flaps in the breeze.

Old CDs or DVDs make great bird-scarers as they move in the breeze and cast colorful beams of light around the vegetable plot. They are also effective in deterring cats from soiling flowerbeds.

Birds need a fresh supply of water.  Find out how to attract birds to your garden here

Keeping Large Birds Away From Your Bird Table

Feeding birds is one of the best things you can do for birds, and you probably hope to see a wide variety of feathered visitors to your garden. However, when you look out, and all the food has gone five minutes later, it’s probably because one or two larger species are eating it all.

Starlings and pigeons are particularly good at hoovering up food put out. Being large, they eat a lot themselves and easily intimidate other species. The best way to combat this is to vary the types of food you provide and the way you deliver it.

Seed and suet feeders that require agility to access are more of a challenge to these larger gluttons than a simple platform.

Photo of pigeon on table

Don’t Invite Them To Your Dinner Table

It is nice to see lots of bold sparrows hopping onto the table to clear crumbs, and it’s hard not to be charmed by their proximity and tameness.

However, it isn’t really a good idea. Germs carried in droppings and on dirty feet can make us ill, and many of the foods on our plates are less than ideal for the birds themselves. Try to be tidy and clear plates from the table when you’ve finished, shoo the birds away and provide them with a suitable feeding station of their own nearby.

Nest Raiding Birds

One of the most distressing scenes in your garden is the raiding of the nests of other species. Magpies are especially known as ruthless nest predators and Carrion crows do this as well.

In your garden, you may notice that they can destroy almost every other brood. There isn’t much you can do after this has happened. Scaring off the bird won’t help. It is a part of nature, after all, and although it is upsetting, it is not so different from a lion killing an antelope.

In order to help other birds before they are raided, ensure that you provide them with secure areas to build their nests. You can buy bird boxes or make your own, and these, along with natural hedges and bushes, can keep larger predators away, giving the young a better chance of survival.

Do you know how to attract nesting birds to your garden?  Find out here

Keep An Eye On Your Valuables

Members of the crow family and other birds such as Starlings are known to have an obsession with anything shiny. If a piece of jewelry, a bottle cap, keys, or even a fork has gone missing from your table when you weren’t looking, it could have been a bird that has taken it.

These items are taken either to impress their mate or because of curiosity. Members of the crow family are known to be some of the most intelligent birds alive, and it is their curiosity and willingness to investigate new objects. Because they want to investigate them safely, they are likelier to take away small, shiny objects.

Do you know how to attract nesting birds to your garden?  Find out here