Beautiful blooming hanging baskets are here. They’re perfect for porches, balconies, even a shepherd’s crook in the yard. And it’s about time for the birds to move in and make them their home for the summer.
Every spring, I hang a beautiful hanging basket by my front door. And every year, I have little house wrens wanting to build nests in them. The first time it happened, I thought, “Won’t it be fun to watch the babies hatch and grow?”
The Problem With Birds in Hanging Baskets
Not so much fun–cleaning bird poop off the side of the house and watching the plant (it was a Boston fern that year) die because it was difficult to water with the baby birds in there. And it was even more fun when the first baby flew the nest, landed on the sidewalk and was promptly nabbed by my neighbor’s cat.
Every year, I keep a close eye on the basket, checking it for nesting debris every day when I walk by it. If I miss just a day or two, I’ll find a nearly completed nest in there. I hate to destroy their handiwork, but I remove the nest and take down the basket for a couple of days hoping they’ll get the message and move on. Sometimes it works after just one time—sometimes it takes several tries.
Solving the Problem
I did a little reading and looked for other suggestions on keeping birds out of my hanging baskets and here are some of the suggestions I found:
- You can keep on doing what I’ve been doing—remove nesting material every day and take the basket down for a day or two until they give up and move on.
- Buy plastic forks and sticking them in the soil of the basket—no nice level area on which to build a nest.
- Coil a rubber snake in the hanging basket. Move it every day or two to simulate a real snake. I’d probably make sure the head is tucked inside the pot so as not to scare the next person who knocked on my door.
- Attach strips of foil to the hangers on the pot. The movement and light shining off the foil will keep the birds away. Don’t know that I want strips of foil fluttering by my front door, but if it works….
- Hang the basket in front of a window and encourage your pet cat to nap in the window. Good idea—if I wanted to hang a basket in front of the window, instead of by my front door–where there is no window. And have you ever tried to encourage a cat to nap where YOU want? They’ll nap where THEY choose, thank you very much!
- I Googled “bird repellents” and got some sort of ultrasonic device—for your yard, cost of $670, for a balcony or patio sized area $70.00. Right! $70 to repel wrens from one $19.99 hanging basket…
- This one from Martha Stewart—hang bird netting over your hanging basket. Doesn’t that defeat the purpose of putting up a pretty plant in the first place?
- Provide birdhouses in more appropriate locations—for more information check out the National Wildlife Federation.
So, if you have this problem, there are some choices. Maybe I’ll try the rubber snake. And next time my youngest son, the practical joker, comes by maybe I’ll ask him to check the basket for water.