General Question

silverfly's avatar

Mockingbirds are eating my tomatoes. Does a plastic owl deter them?

Asked by silverfly (4025 points ) June 15th, 2012

Before I buy a fake owl I wanted to make sure they actually do their job. Does anyone have any experience with these “creatures”? Is there another way I might deter the birds from eating my fruits / veggies?

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25 Answers

syz's avatar

Temporarily. They eventually get used to it. Things that have movement work better. If you have some old CDs or discs, hang them so they sway in the wind and flash light.

(This is a kind of cool thing that my sister uses for the deer.)

CWOTUS's avatar

I used a plastic owl for a couple of seasons to keep birds from roosting on my car. It seemed to work okay, I think.

But I think in your case you might also try monofilament fish line or some other kind of netting over the plants. Birds don’t like that stuff, either, especially when they start flying into it and still can’t see it.

gailcalled's avatar

Fine netting is the only deterrent. If all the plants are together in a friendly bunch, pound in green metal garden stakes (they come in several lengths and have hooks on them to catch the fine net) and net the whole area, as you would do with a berry patch.

See picture at right: http://www.garden.org/ediblelandscaping/?page=201107-how-to

gailcalled's avatar

Sorry. The answer to your primary question is “no.”

ragingloli's avatar

Only until they learn that it does not do anything.

Coloma's avatar

Right at what@Syz said. I used to put out rubber snakes around my trees when I had chickens to keep them from scratching out dirt baths, it worked for awhile until they realized the snakes never moved. lol

You might try a food distraction….cat food kibble, seed, etc. Set up a bird feeding station away from your tomatoes and see if you can lure them towards the distraction of a new food source.
Over here the Scrub and Stellars Jays pilfer cat food like crazy if it is outside.

gailcalled's avatar

…cat food kibble, seed,etc.

Not only will you have mockingbirds, etc. eating your tomatoes, but you will attract most of the other birds (both seed and insect eaters) and the raccoons, chipmunks, squirrels, pheasants, wild turkeys, opossums, skunks, deer, rats and mice.

It would be like skywriting that says, “Free lunch, guys. All welcome.”

ragingloli's avatar

How about…
automated, compressed air, AAA turrets?

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augustlan's avatar

[mod says] Please remember: This question is in the General Section. Responses must be helpful and on-topic. Thanks!

josie's avatar

At the risk of being modded, I am serious. You have to choose between your tomatoes and the birds.
The solution is a pellet gun or a 22 rifle if you live in the country.
Drop a few, and the rest will go someplace else.
Sorry, but it’s true.

gailcalled's avatar

Birds have notoriously short memories, like mice.

Drop a few today; watch what shows up next week.

josie's avatar

@gailcalled Then keep doing it until they are gone.

bkcunningham's avatar

Are you positive it is mockingbirds eating your tomatoes? I agree with @gailcalled‘s answers about the netting and the owls not working 100 percent, but it seems odd to me that the mockingbirds would eat your tomatoes unless the plants had bugs on them.

gailcalled's avatar

@josie: Your plan is to wipe out the entire bird population on the planet? Short of that, your plan is misguided.

Garebo's avatar

I have to admit,I do detest there racket, and resorted to my pellet gun. I am more of a lover than a killer, but when I got my sons pellet gun and it in the scope it was thereafter quiet. I felt terrible and amazed I got it through the tree foliage and ended it.
IKarma rewarded me with more, and even some loud thrashers If only they would eat my tomatoes and shut up, I would be happy.

gailcalled's avatar

@Garebo; Consider yourself lucky that they didn’t come after you. And in the scheme of things avian, thrashers have rather nice albeit loud songs, just a rung below the thrushes (who are considered the divas of the songbird world).

bkcunningham's avatar

Please, don’t kill birds. Please.

silverfly's avatar

I built a little cage out of chicken wire – it’s all I had – so we’ll see how well it works!

patifernan's avatar

Hey everyone, the sprinkler referenced by “syz” has a newer and better version specifically designed to repeal birds. http://www.amazon.com/Havahart-5266-Spray-Away-Sprinkler/dp/B0079GHJVG
Anyone tried this out already?

Garebo's avatar

I have no choice now but to appreciate them, there is mental block however. I can say my cat don’t like their attention and I can’t blame them for that.
I told you, I don’t like to and don’t take pleasure in taking life-I disdain it, but in that particular situation I became Anne Oakley and am still paying the price.

Thrashers Rule!! Mockingbirds Unite against Big Brother!!

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