How to Use Fishing Line to Scare Birds Away From a Garden

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When your garden is flourishing and it’s time to harvest, you aren't the only one excited about eating the fruits and vegetables. Chances are that the birds have also enjoyed your hard work. If you don’t want to put up a scarecrow, there is a new and inexpensive way to scare off these feathered freeloaders, using fishing line.

Things You'll Need

  • Poles, size depends upon the height of the plants.
  • Garden trowel
  • Hammer
  • 200 pound monofilament fishing line
  • Scissors
  • Staples (optional)
  • Weights, such as nuts, bolts or fishing weights, for container plants
  • Select poles that are several inches higher than the projected height of the mature plant. This will allow you to just move the fishing line up the pole, rather than having to replace the pole as the plants grow. These poles don't have to be fancy; they can be stakes or dowel rods

  • Push one pole into the ground at either end of the rows of veggies or fruit, as soon as the seedlings emerge. If the soil is softened, you probably won’t need anything more than your muscles to push the pole in. However, if the soil is hard, you might need to dig it up a bit or use a hammer.

  • Space these poles no closer than 12 inches apart, all around your garden. If they are further away, they don’t provide enough scare-power. If they are closer than 12 inches, they get in the way of harvesting the produce.

  • Tie one end of the fishing line to a pole, about 1 to 2 inches above the emerging plant. Walk to the pole on the other end of the row, unrolling the fishing line as you go. Measure a few extra inches beyond the pole and cut the fishing line. Tie the other end of the fishing line to the pole. You can staple the line, if you want to secure the line a little bit more. As the plants grow, move the fishing line up the pole, always keeping it 1 to 2 inches above the plant.

  • Protect plants that are in containers-like strawberries or patio tomatoes-by creating a teepee effect with the fishing line. Push one pole into the middle of the container, being careful not to disturb the plant's roots. Attach several lengths of fishing line to the top of the pole; the number of lines will depend upon the size of the plant and pot. Attach a weight to the other end of the line and drape it around the plant. If the container is in a garden area, you can stake the lines instead of weighing them down. It won't matter if the plant protrudes from between the line; it still frightens the birds.

Tips & Warnings

  • No one knows why the fishing line scares the birds. Maybe it's because the mono-filament line seems to appear and disappear, making the birds think there is a barrier or net that they might get tangled in.
  • Using fishing line seems to work best with sparrows, but doesn't seem to affect robins or starlings.

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