Birds, Pesky

The primary bird pests are crows, pigeons, and Canada geese (see separate file on dealing with each of these pests). Blackbirds, grackles, quail, robins, sparrows, pheasants, catbirds, and starlings can be considered pesky birds at one time or another. Being a “pest” is a relative term. Starlings may be pests when they take over your bird feeders, but when they are cleaning Japanese beetles off your roses they are good guys. Catbirds are cute and valuable for eating lots of insects, but become pests when the blueberries become ripe.

Pest Birds Damage

Pest Birds Damage to look out for
Many birds are pests simply because they congregate in excessive numbers making noise and generally causing a disturbance. Crows will be very noisy early in the morning. Pigeons and starlings can overwhelm a bird feeder. A woodpecker can decide to peck at your metal water spout early in the morning. Geese can ruin a lawn if in sufficient numbers.
Other birds are pests only when they are bothering a crop in the food garden. Various species of bird will bother the vulnerable plants in the home landscape at certain times and in certain areas of the country. Their “pestiness” is only during the period that the target vegetable or fruit is becoming ripe.

Most Obvious Symptoms of Pest Birds

Suspect your local songbird population if any of these signs appear in the home landscape: most of a patch of young seedlings completely disappear; the tops of the young plants are bitten off; or chunks are taken out of the snap peas, tomatoes, cherries or strawberries; raspberries, blueberries and blackberries disappear right as they become ripe.

Plants Vulnerable to Pest Birds

At various times songbirds are known to bother broccoli, corn, green peas, snap peas, apples, apricots, blackberries, blueberries, cherries, currants, grapes, peaches, pears, plums, raspberries and strawberries.

Products for controlling pesky birds can be found in our Yardener's Tool Shed in bird control products.

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