A cover or barrier, if that is feasible, is the best method for preventing bird damage to any crop.
For a barrier to succeed at keeping out the birds, it must completely surround the plant. Any opening and the birds are sure to find it. To be covered completely, trees and bushes must be reasonably small; it is difficult to screen plants over 7 feet tall. Bush fruits and dwarf trees, because of their size, make perfect candidates for barrier protection. If you're interested in using fabric or “plastic netting” you should know that it can't be casually draped over the dwarf tree or bush the way the advertising pictures show. Draping netting on a tree may save a few fruits, but birds will peck right through it and squeeze in under it. Some kind of support is needed to hold the netting out away from the tree or bush so the birds can't reach any of the fruit. If you must drape, cheesecloth is a better deterrent than the wider-meshed fabrics.
A reliable way to protect plants is to build a screen box around them using stout, rot-resistant posts. Stretch and nail a fine-meshed wire fence around the posts. Nail 2 by 4 stretchers from post to post at the tops, and spread more fencing over the stretchers to form a roof. A screen door makes a handy entrance for you to get in and out. An even better way to protect the plants is to make up 4 by 8 foot panels of wire mesh, using 1 by 4 inch boards for frames, and affix these panels to the posts and over the stretchers. The panels can be taken down and put up again after the fruiting season, then stored indoors for the rest of the year. It will take time and money to build these panels, but they should last a lifetime.
Bird Control Netting - Bird Control Netting is available in rolls 14 feet wide and from 50 to 5,000 feet long. They are also available in smaller sizes.
A floating row cover, made of “agricultural fleece” or “polyethylene film” with slits, keeps pesky birds away from plants. The agricultural fleece is particularly good for protecting corn seedlings from birds. You can also replace the plastic film panels on row-covering tunnels with agricultural fleece or bird netting as the spring warms up. This is especially good for young corn plants and strawberries, which are vulnerable to bird attack.
To protect raspberries from birds, construct a tepee of pipes, pole or lumber over the berry patch, then drape a net over the structure. You could also build a frame of 2 by 3's with wire screening; just be sure to leave an access door for yourself.
Barrier to Birds Perching In Large Numbers
Birds instinctively fly to “landing strips”, such as window sills, air conditioners, roof ledges, cornices, rafters and beams. When it is just one or two songbirds, we do not even notice. When a squadron of ten pigeons or 15 starlings zoom in to roost on the roof or on the edge of the roof’s gutters, we can view this as a problem. The Bird-X Company makes a product, Spikes Needle Strips, that is designed to block pest birds from these comfortable landing areas. The product will work for decades of maintenance-free protection.
The all-plastic barrier strips project upward and outward at varying angles to both sides of a base strip. “Branches” protude from vertical spiked shafts to offer full, dense coverage. Birds avoid surfaces treated with Spikes as people avoid walking on nails. Spikes is not lethal; just extremely uncomfortable.
Try Mother Nature’s Barriers
Wrens will keep all other birds away from their nest when there are babies present. Since they eat only insects and leave your fruits and berries alone, you can use them, hopefully, as ``watch birds'' to keep other hungry birds from your harvest.
A dog will usually keep geese at bay.