Garden pests

Birds eat my flowers: Why do birds eat flower buds?

Gardeners are constantly concerned about protecting their plants from deer, rabbits and hungry insects. Sometimes, our feathered friends may also eat flowers and buds of certain plants. Learn more about why birds eat flower buds and how to protect flower buds from birds.

Why do birds eat flower buds?

Some flower buds provide nutrients to birds in early spring when their favorite fruits and seeds are not available. The following flowers provide energy for the migration of cedar wax wings in spring :

  • Pear
  • Apple
  • Fishing
  • Plum
  • Cherry
  • Potato

Cardinals, finches, mockingbirds, blue jays, golden finches, grosbeaks, quails and grouse are also known to feed on these fruit tree flowers. Finches and cardinals also seem very fond of forsythia flowers. Although birds generally do not eat enough flower buds to damage the plant, there are simple ways to prevent birds from eating the flower buds.

What to do when birds eat my flowers

Most garden centres have nets to protect plants from birds. There are some problems with this net. If the net is placed directly on the plant, birds can still forage and get germs.
The best way to cover your plant with this net is to use stakes or wood to support the net on and around the plant without touching it. This can be difficult for large shrubs and small trees that birds like to treat. Also, if the net does not extend well around the plant or supports, birds can become entangled in it. Fine mesh netting can also be used to wrap plants that are eaten by birds.
Hanging cake boxes on fruit trees is a traditional method of preventing birds from eating flower buds. The glossy surface, reflected light and the movement of the rotating pan in the wind frighten the birds. A modern version of this ancient tradition is to hang old CDs on fruit trees. Anything that turns and sways in the breeze, by scattering the reflected light, can protect the flower buds from the birds.
Birds don’t like the sound of bells hanging from trees either. The flickering of outside lights can also deter birds. You can also create a bird-friendly flowerbed in another part of the yard. Install bird baths and hang bird feeders to give birds a better option than eating from the buds of your fruit trees.

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