Birds are a lovely addition to any garden.
They’re not only gorgeous to watch fluttering around but they also help to pollinate flowers and reduce the number of pests your plants have to deal with.
But, some species of birds, like sparrows, pigeons, and doves, can create havoc with succulents kept outdoors.
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Why Are Birds Eating My Succulents?
Birds will often eat your succulents because they like the nutritious juice inside and because there may not be much else around for them to eat.
The diet of most birds does not include succulents but it soon will if their usual food and water sources are scarce.
Plants like aloes and echeverias contain delicious and nutritious water.
During times of scarcity, this gives birds what they need in terms of water and nutrients.
Some succulents, like agaves, are a delicious treat that many birds can’t resist.
It’s almost like a dessert for them.
And when they are done with all their pecking, it doesn’t leave the succulent in the best condition.
Birds can also invade plant pots if they are looking for somewhere to nest or just for material for a nest.
Damage to succulents doesn’t heal and an onslaught from birds can even cause the plant to die.
Related Article: Does Touching Succulents Hurt Them? (Not Always)
How Do I Stop Birds From Eating My Succulents?
You can stop birds from eating your succulents by covering the plants, scaring the birds away with scarecrows, placing ornamental owls and snakes around your plants, or by setting up bird feeders and water baths so the birds are no longer hungry or thirsty for your succulents.
Of all the pests that plague gardens and plants, birds are arguably the easiest to deal with.
You may have to test and try out several methods before coming up with one or more that work.
Here are a few of the most effective ways to stop birds from eating your succulents.
Feed The Birds So They Lose Interest In Your Succulents
The birds are eating your succulents because they are hungry.
Set up water baths and bird feeders and position them away from your succulents.
Once the birds have had a good feast of seeds at the feeders, they’ll likely leave your succulents alone.
To make things easier and less messy, don’t put mixed seeds in all of your feeders.
Different species of birds like different types of seeds and if you mix seeds together, birds will pick through the seeds to find the ones that they like, discarding the ones they don’t like on the floor.
This can lead to quite the mess, and can even attract other unwanted pests.
Instead, set up a few different bird feeders and put only one type of seed in each one.
This will attract only the birds that are interested in those specific seeds.
Try out different seed types like suet, millet and Niger seeds.
Scare Birds Away From Your Succulents
Believe it of not, scarecrows are still effective at scaring away birds.
Birds are scared of people and seem to have trouble telling people apart from scarecrows.
It can be effective to set up a scarecrow or two in your garden.
But, you’ll have to move it around because the same birds coming back to your garden, again and again, will begin to recognise it as a harmless dummy.
Birds are also afraid of things that shimmer in the light, such as tinsel, CDs, reflective tape, broken mirrors or pieces of foil.
Place items like these close to your succulents and they should help to scare birds away.
Use A Covering Or Some Fencing
You can try covering your succulents with plastic or glass if pigeons and doves are the culprits.
Ensure the translucent surface you choose has enough holes so the plants can breathe.
For sparrows, you can use mesh fabric or cages to prevent them from eating your succulents.
For all other birds, you can use small stakes, skewers, fencing or chicken wire over your plants.
You could even use some foil or other shiny material for an added effect on sticks and coverings.
Use Natural Predators To Keep Birds From Your Succulents
Your dog or cat can be an effective bird deterrent.
But, birds being chased around could ruin other parts of your garden, knock over potted plants and trample other seedlings.
Unless you want to witness a live rendition of Wild Kingdom in your garden, try to employ other means of prevention.
You can also buy plastic owls and rubber snakes and place them around the garden.
These are natural predators of small birds and will scare the living daylights out of them.
But like the scarecrow, you’ll have to move them around the garden or the birds will figure out that they are no threat at all.
Clicking noisemakers or electronic devices that produce the sounds of eagles, hawks and owls often work too.
What Do I Do If All Else Fails?
If you’ve tried everything you can to stop birds from eating your succulents, you may have to bring your plants inside.
Invest in a grow light and create a space for the plants in your home.
If birds are too rampant in your area, there might not be any other way.
But, also consider for a moment that it might not be birds eating your plants at all.
It could be other pests and insects like mealy worms, slugs or even deer nibbling at the tender leaves and center growth of your succulents.
Ensure you actually see birds eating your plants before deciding they’re the culprit.
This is because you won’t be helping your plant in any way if you’re targeting the birds when it’s really some other type of pests to blame.
Birds eating your succulents is not ideal but in almost every other way, birds are really good for your garden and your other plants.
Birds allow your garden to come to life with song and the fluttering of wings, they pollinate flowers and control harmful insects and rodents.
Some birds even consume and remove weeds from your yard.
The benefits of having birds in your garden will always outweigh the negatives.
If you’ve tried everything without success, you may have to bring your succulents indoors to ensure their survival.