Getting birds not to build in my hanging baskets

jdunham(Ohio)May 4, 2006

Help...I just bought beautiful baskets of Million Bells and the morning doves are eyeing them as a future home. What can I do? I was considering moth balls...will those chemicals hurts my plants?


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lindac(Iowa Z 5/4)

Well....I would be thrilled to have a bird building a nest in my flowers! I have loved it when a robin has built a nest in my front basket!
But doves usually build on bare rocky soil or on a branch. I doubt they were eyeing your basket for a nest.
Mothballs won't hurt your plants.
Linda C

    Bookmark   May 4, 2006 at 5:45PM
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I have a robin's nest in the wreath on my front door so we are enjoy that one. The last time that doves built in my Million Bells, it practically killed the plant! I don't know why, but shortly after they built there, the plant started looking awful...and then the aphids showed DROVES!! They were everywhere...I tried spraying everything I could think of (but was careful not to disturb the birds) but the plant was a total loss. That is why I was wanting to avoid that again!

Thanks for the information!


    Bookmark   May 4, 2006 at 6:15PM
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Carol Henry

I had this problem one year in my ferns in hanging baskets. I couldn't water them when I found the nests. The next year I bought some rubber snakes and coiled them in the baskets and never had that problem agin. The birds were afraid to build thir nest there. It really worked!

    Bookmark   May 4, 2006 at 6:23PM
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lindac(Iowa Z 5/4)

I have sacrificed many a plant to the birds....I grow wild grape vines for the birds...I grow sunflowers, for the birds, I tolerate sticky sugar drips from the feeder, for the birds...
I would much prefer the birds to a healthy plant.
I water the basket where there is a nest very carefully!...When Momma is out and about. I have always been able to have the plants fill in after the babies have left.
Linda C

    Bookmark   May 4, 2006 at 7:01PM
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I too prefer the birds to the flowers, but an easy solution might be to stick a few bamboo skewers into the basket so the birds can't land easily. Might even crisscross a little thread across the skewers. josh

    Bookmark   May 5, 2006 at 6:36AM
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hang a bird feeder next to your hanging plant..i have a hanging plant that's near my bird feeder and the mourning doves have know interest in nesting in my hanging plant..

    Bookmark   May 5, 2006 at 2:31PM
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Two yrs ago I had mourning doves build a nest in one of my deck hanging baskets. It was a flowering maple, first time I ever bought one. Our deck isn't a real large one and the front door was there too. Didn't stop those birds. I couldn't water the plant so I lost it. Then there wasn't any protection for the birds from the sun. It got sun from 8am until 4pm. Way too much sun. Also the pot dried out so when we would have bad storms the pot would just swing all around. We managed to stick artificial foliage in the pot for shade. Then hubby made a round thing that was on a long pole. The round part he put around the pot and stuck the pole in the ground so the pot wouldn't blow around in bad weather. The babies were born and yes it was fun to watch them. But no, I don't want birds building a nest in my hanging pots. I don't have any bird feeders around either. I love seeing them, but I don't want the droppings around. They can carry many diseases. My father died of a disease from birds and my mother got avian tb from birds. When those babies grew up and few away, I wrapped up that pot and thew it away. So now I put those cute wind catchers in the pots. There are so many cute ones out and when the wind blows it makes the parts move. Birds don't come near them. They were fun to watch that one time, but I don't want them back.


    Bookmark   May 6, 2006 at 4:29AM
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zachslc(6 Salt Lake City)


    Bookmark   May 6, 2006 at 11:52PM
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ptmax(Zone 6b)

Mourning doves build nests in my hanging baskets every year.They make watering very difficult.Sometimes I leave them alone and other times I dispose of the nest before eggs appear.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2006 at 2:48PM
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ljrmiller(z7 NV)

I guess I can be thankful: I haven't had any birds nest in my hanging planters yet. Perhaps it's because I don't put up my hanging planters until nesting season is pretty much over. I DO, however, have Scrub Jays who tuck peanuts into the planters (I buy roasted, unsalted ones so they won't germinate) hanging or not, then root for their stashed nuts at a later date. They also stash acorns and hazelnuts. It doesn't do enough damage for me to worry about--it just cracks me up.


    Bookmark   May 9, 2006 at 4:19PM
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putzer(z4 WI)

Would it work to stick plastic forks tines up in the soil?

    Bookmark   May 11, 2006 at 12:05AM
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mimistl6(z6/St. Louis)

Mourning Doves have built nests in my hanging baskets on the front porch before. I tried to co-exist with them but now I fight them. MDs are dirty birds who leave their large messy droppings all over the area where they build their nest. My front porch was a mess. And they have 3-4 clutches every year and keep coming back to the same nesting place if possible. Now every year in the spring I put bamboo sticks threaded and/or plastic forks tines up, both previously suggested.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2006 at 9:16AM
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cat or children- a cat is easy to find around this time- children not quite so easy to obtain. =) The first year we moved into our house we had a TON of birds build nests in our deck,and found old nests so we knew they had in previous years as well. As the number of children moved from 2 to 3 to 4 we've pretty much eliminated birds nesting any where near the house! And the three cats deter the rest I'm sure. Seriously, the bamboo or fork tines should work well- or just move the nest before there are eggs like someone else suggested.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2006 at 2:20PM
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Stick toothpicks in the middle of the basket as soon as you hang it. No nests.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2006 at 10:58PM
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becky_jean(z8 GA)

Yesterday I discovered why my beautiful bougainvillea was looking awful & dying.....bird nest! Every year birds build nests in ferns off my front porch & destroy the plants. I got this nest eggs yet.

I'm going to try the various suggestions here. I had thought of moth balls, also, so may use a combination.

I love my birds but there are plenty of other places in my yard for them to build nests other than destroying the few hanging baskets I have.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2006 at 10:21AM
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madsonc(z4 Iowa)

A tip was passed on to my by a good neighbor. Soak a cotton ball with ammonia and set it where you don't want birds to nest! It actually works for me every year when the robins want to build nests where I don't want them too.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2006 at 3:18PM
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I tried tooth picks last year to keep the morning doves out of my hanging baskets, but that didn't work! I am going to try the ammonia cotton balls and the wind catcher...those sound like good might the moth balls. Thanks!

    Bookmark   May 17, 2011 at 9:06AM
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love_the_yard(z9A Jax FL)

How often do you have to resoak the cotton ball? Doesn't it dry out within a day or two?

How do you keep it in place - skewer it on a toothpick?

    Bookmark   February 14, 2012 at 10:35AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

i didnt read all this.. but why not just move your basket every night.. until nesting season is over .. it should be a relatively short period where they fly back into town and start building ... maybe a week or so ...

or invert a large pot.. and set the hanger on the ground.. every other night..

once the birds have nested elsewhere for the season.. they dont go looking for vacation condos ...

simply put ... the human intervention of moving it.. will deter them ..

the same thing is accomplished by watering every night ... but nesting.. being spring.. the young plants dont need the water every night.. so you ignore them for a week or so.. giving the birds to time to take over ... who is in charge of it all anyway????


    Bookmark   February 14, 2012 at 11:09AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

I'm another who votes for the bamboo skewers. Toothpicks simply aren't long enough. And I also suggest that you put a BUNCH of the skewers in each pots. Birds can be very persistent, trying to build where you don't want them to for weeks.

We've had to resort to strips of bird spikes along the ledge under our porch overhang. One family of adorable barn swallows is charming...but when they bring all the relatives in subsequent years, not so much! The finch can be just as bad, if not worse.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2012 at 2:50PM
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I have a nesting dove in my hanging basket! I think it likes the stringy moss that I topped it with. It is now in it's second week. Hopefully things will go well and I will see them hatch soon. Even though I've been unable to water my plant and it is dying I find it a joy that I have this opportunity to house a family of doves. I can always replace the plant. One thing I've been worried about is it seems to be in the sun for about half of the day. I wonder if too much sun will be harmful?

    Bookmark   July 25, 2012 at 3:21PM
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    Bookmark   August 14, 2013 at 3:15PM
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