Birds Eating My Sunflowers

Question:

Bluebirds are eating the leaves of my sunflower and morning glory plants. Any ideas on how to deter them?

Hardiness Zone: 6a

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Marie

Answer:

Marie, I'm going to assume that your sunflower and morning glory plants are seedlings. Although I've never seen birds eat morning glory seedlings, it's plausible, because they sure love tender young sunflower sprouts. I would suggest getting some cheap floating row covers to cover your plants. You can easily make your own using some lightweight, white fabric and a few wire hoops for supports. After a few weeks the seedlings will be well established and the birds won't be interested anymore so you can uncover them.

If, on the other hand, your sunflower and morning glory plants are mature, I suspect that the birds may be going after insects on the leaves rather than the eating the leaves themselves. Check the plants for insects. If it seems like this could be the problem, it can probably be easily remedied just by spraying the plants down every few days with a stiff jet of water from the hose. For a serious infestation, you can apply an organic insecticidal soap to the leaves or make your own using 2 Tbsp of liquid dish soap and a gallon of water. Apply this in the morning and be prepared to rinse it off the morning glory leaves after a few hours to prevent the leaves from getting burned by the sun.

Ellen

About The Author: Ellen Brown is our Green Living and Gardening Expert. Click here to ask Ellen a question! Ellen Brown is an environmental writer and photographer and the owner of Sustainable Media, an environmental media company that specializes in helping businesses and organizations promote eco-friendly products and services. Contact her on the web at http://www.sustainable-media.com

July 17, 20060 found this helpful

I posted yesterday; but don't see it, so I will post again!

I strongly suspect that if you look at your plants closely, you will see bugs/caterpillars of some sort are actually doing the damage; and the bluebirds are eating the real culprits.

Bluebirds are prized visitors to the garden, where they eat a variety of pests. I have never heard of them eating the plants!

Take a good close look; I bet you'll be glad you didn't chase the blues away!

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July 18, 20060 found this helpful

Well birds like seeds and sunflowers are a great place to get them.What I have seen some people do is cover the sunflower bloom with a white gauze material.Air and sun can get in but the birds have a difficult time getting the seeds thru the gauze.I don't think it has to be white but I have never seen it any other color.

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July 19, 20060 found this helpful

Bluebirds are insect eaters and I agree that they are prized visitors. I am an avid bird watcher and belong to a national bird group. I agree with the post about them eating pests and they are the real culprits. You are soooo lucky to have bluebirds.

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July 19, 20060 found this helpful

I, also, forgot to mention that the red birds and other seed eaters will eat the sunflowers right off the plants. I love to watch them going all over the flower and hanging up side down to do this.

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July 20, 20060 found this helpful

Consider youself lucky. This is what sunflowers are for... !

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July 20, 20060 found this helpful

That's true, sunflowers are for the birds! But if you prefer to enjoy them yourself, try stringing some aluminum pie plates up in the same area of your plants. The reflection and the noise seems to deter birds.

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June 1, 20140 found this helpful

No. The birds are eating the Sunflower leaves. They are not going for the bugs. The snails/slugs are not eating the leaves.

I do not consider myself 'lucky' that they are eating my flowers.

Having read so many posts on this on various sites it's amazing that people do not simply answer the question as it is posted.

With that said, I have tried Repellex (deer spray) and other animal deterrent sprays to some success. Be careful to spray on a non windy day. Spray at the stem of the leave where the birds begin feeding. I have also uses tablets for other shrubs that you drop into the ground when planting and give the plant a sour taste, not good for sunflowers seeds you want to eat however. I am also considering a hoop house to grow my sunflowers with out issue from squirrels and the birds.

Yes, again, the birds are eating the leaves.

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July 26, 20150 found this helpful

Yes the birds are eating my sunflower leaves too. A simple internet search will prove this is true. Take a look at this video (not my personal video, just one from the web) to see it in action:

https://youtu.be/j5_bV_46nkI

I thought the cute little Finches were eating bugs on the plant but just now I witnessed a rather aggressive little fellow tearing the leaf to shreds! I'm going to try bird tape, hanging cds or pie pans to deter them. And make sure to keep the bird feeders full and water available for them.

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