How to Keep Birds from Eating Grass Seed

7 Easy Ways to Prevent Grass Seed Bird Thieves

Are you wondering; How to Keep birds from Eating Grass Seed? Perhaps you’re installing a new yard or patching thin areas on your lawn and want to prevent birds from eating your hard work!

So the big question is, do birds eat grass seed? Yes, birds will eat “any grass seed they can find, and if you’re like me, you only want to plant your grass seed once.

So let’s answer the question – How do I keep the Birds off my Grass Seed?

Here are seven simple methods to keep birds off your grass seed and keep them from eating it before it has a chance to germinate.

How To Keep Birds From Eating Grass Seed:

We know not everybody has the time (or the want to) needed to read lengthy articles about birds and how to stop them in their tracks, but let’s face it, birds will eat your grass seed if you allow them to.

7 Best Tips to Keep Birds from Eating Grass Seed:

  1. Lay down straw
  2. Put down mulch
  3. Put burlap sacks over the grass seed
  4. Scare them off (the most fun way)
  5. Use noise-making products
  6. Mylar Tape
  7. Distractions

To understand “How to use these methods”, please continue reading below;

Tip #1)  Laying Straw Over Grass Seed

You’ve probably seen this application before but never understood precisely why that straw existed. It’s pretty simple; the straw protects the seeds from its number one enemy, birds.

How to Lay Straw Over Grass Seed:

Laying down straw isn’t rocket science; all you need to do is lay down a thin layer on top of the seeds you planted. But it would be best if you did this right after you do the seed planting.

Try to cover at least three-quarters of the grass seed. Of course, it would be best if you could cover 100% of the seeds, but we know that’s a tall task.

Laying the straw also helps to keep the seeds in place on some of those abnormally windy days you are bound to get in the fall and spring months. Try and get the seeds about an inch into the ground before covering them with the straw. You can use a rake to help with it.

When To Remove Straw From Newly Planted Grass Seed:

Once the seeds have germinated, you will need to remove the straw. Once the grass germinates, it will require much sunlight to grow.

The straw (even if it’s only a thin layer) will cut down severely on the light that gets through. Effectively killing the sprouts before they ever become fully grown.

Make sure you remove the straw as gently as possible.  Some people suggest using a rake to remove the straw, but we recommend doing it by hand.

Tip #2)  Lay Down Mulch

This is the same as putting down straw, the only difference being that it is mulch instead of straw. There is one added benefit of the mulch, though. A well-aerated lawn needs water to grow; straw will help your soil retain its moisture, even when warm outside.

They also act as weed inhibitors as well. Mulch is a highly valuable product when starting your lawn.

How to Lay Mulch over Grass Seed:

Again, like with the straw, you must spread a thin mulch atop the newly planted grass seed.

You’ll want to use a thinner layer than you would with the straw because it is heavier than straw, and it doesn’t let as much light through. Cover at least 75% of the seeds to be the most effective.

Once the seeds germinate, remove the mulch and watch your grass sprout into a lush carpet of greenness.

Need some tips on how to aerate your lawn? Check out our article on How to use a Lawn Aerator here!

Tip #3)  Place Burlap Over Grass Seed 

If you live in a windy climate, mulch and straw won’t cut it. When the wind picks up, that straw will fly right off the lawn, leaving your seeds vulnerable to the birds’ attack.

In these cases, you can put down burlap sacks or buy Burlap by the Roll  and lay it directly over the seeded area.

If you’re like me, you probably think these are too heavy and dense for grass seeds to thrive under. But these are pretty great for grass seed. Burlap lets water, sunlight, and heat hit the soil’s surface, giving the grass seed all the nutrients it needs.

All you have to do is lay down one layer of burlap over the seeds and plant the U-pins on the edges to keep them in place. As always, remove the burlap once the seeds germinate.

Tip #4)  Scare the Birds before the Land

Keep birds from eating grass seed - best home gear
Keep birds from Eating Grass Seed

This is a fun way to keep them out of your lawn when planting seeds, and it works well for gardens, too. This is the same concept farmers use when putting scarecrows in the fields.

Birds are easily frightened creatures, so it doesn’t take much to scare them into not entering your lawn again. You can even get creative with it.

Materials to Scare Birds Away from Grass Seed:

There is the age-old, tried, and valid method of a scarecrow, but that’s pretty weird, and it isn’t aesthetically pleasing either. Try using something else they are scared of. Rubber snakes work well since birds have an evolutionary fear of them embedded into their tiny bird brains.

You could also use plastic or wooden owls to keep them away. Of course, it looks a little silly. But hey, as long as it works, right? You might try pinwheels or tin foil pans (tied to a stationary object) that move around and make a ton of noise when the wind blows.

Are you curious to know how long grass seed takes to grow? Read all about it in this article!

There are many ways to scare the birds; my favorite is the rubber snake method. But make sure you move the decoys around every so often. Otherwise, the birds will catch onto your tricks; the trick is on you when you wake up with seeds in the yard.

Tip# 5) Install Noise-Making Devices To Scare Birds

For the record, we aren’t talking about amplifiers and speakers. Something small will do just fine.

Birds prefer being in quiet and safe areas; you see them around the city, in community parks, and even in your backyard before everybody wakes up. You take advantage of their preference for silence by putting devices that make noise in the wind.

Chimes work very well for this, and they also add to the ambiance of your home. You can never go wrong with wind chimes. They’ve got other things you can use if wind chimes aren’t your thing.

Check out those wooden ducks with wings that flap in the wind. Like we said earlier, get creative. Use the aluminum pan method if you don’t feel like spending extra cash (since you just spent hundreds on the seed, spreader, and soil).

Tie them to posts you set up and let them crash around whenever the wind blows.

Tip #6)  Use Mylar Tape To Keep Birds Away

This is another long-standing method used by gardeners, farmers, and lawn growers for generations. Mylar vinyl tape has a shiny metallic finish, which moves freely in the wind and sparkles in the sunlight.

This blinding reflection discourages birds from entering the yard, which means your grass seeds are safer. This type of tape can even work for larger birds like ducks and geese.

How to Set up Mylar Tape:

Setting up the tape isn’t a complicated process but a particular one. You’ll need to set up wooden poles or stakes at least 3 feet tall, roughly five or six feet apart from each other.

Next, tie a strip of the tape between the poles, and make sure they are crossing over (the criss-cross technique works best) the newly seeded area. Ensure you don’t have the tape too taught; you want it to move freely when the wind blows.

The glare from this metallic tape will keep the birds out of your yard for as long as you have it up.

Tip #7)  Use Distractions To Scare Birds

Distractions are a great way to diverge the bird’s attention from the newly planted grass seed to something else in the yard. Not only that, but they are also pretty nice to have around, provided that they aren’t eating your crops or your grass seed.

Even though I have said many less-than-flattering things about birds, I don’t hate them. They are intelligent creatures, and their songs bring a distinct joy to any yard.

So maybe keep them out of your yard instead of doing everything. You invite them in with something that keeps them out of the grass seed.

Put some bird feeders in the yard and hang them on trees and poles. Maybe some birdhouses or even a birdbath. This will keep them away from your seeds and let them get their meals and bathes.

And the distraction isn’t just for the birds either. Watching birds play and bathe and listening to their songs is truly enchanting. You’ll be just as distracted from your work as they will be from the grass seed. It’s a win-win situation.

The Biggest Obstacle For Growing Grass Is Birds.

Plenty of obstacles get in the way of having the perfect lawn. Improper planting, improper watering, improper seeding time… you get the picture. But one of the most overlooked reasons for people’s difficulties is other outside influences.

Because it’s a quick and easy “free meal,” it is common to see wild birds eating grass seed. 

One homeowner was overheard saying he didn’t think Birds loved the seed as much as they loved watching him pull his hair out trying to keep them off his newly seeded lawn!

Well, we’re pretty sure they’re just hungry, but since birds are one of the most intelligent beings in the wild kingdom, who knows?

Whatever the reason is, we can say with certainty. You must protect your lawn from wild birds if you want your grass seed to take root fully. Thankfully, there are several ways to go about this.

Next Step After Germination of Grass Seed

Depending on conditions, the germination process isn’t very long – usually 5-20 days. Once the grass has germinated, it’s ready to mow and safe from birds and their prying eyes (save from the occasional worm they spot burrowing into the ground).

At that point, you can remove your bird repellents. Depending on your method, you may need to remove them.

If you have used mulch, straw, burlap, or any other method for covering the grass seed, you should remove it when you notice the lawn has germinated. Otherwise, you risk losing all the cash you spend; worse, you’ve wasted weeks of your time.

Now that your lawn is fully seeded and ready to germinate Check out the Best Electric Push Mowers!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q:  What’s the Best Way to Keep Birds from Eating Grass Seed?

A:  Once you have raked new grass seed into the topsoil, the best way to keep birds from eating grass seed is to lay a mesh netting over the soil.  Mesh Netting deters birds from eating grass seed for two reasons:

First, birds are wary of getting their feet tangled in the mesh and have difficulty reaching tilled grass seed through the mesh netting.

In addition, mesh netting can prevent other critters, such as mice or rodents, from getting to your newly planted grass seed.

Q:  How Long should you leave Burlap on top of Grass Seed?

A:  Burlap can protect grass seeds but should be removed within 7-10 days. 
While burlap is a decent way to deter birds from eating grass seed, it should be removed no later than ten days after planting it. 

Besides protecting grass seeds, Burlap can hold too much moisture in the seeded areas, preventing enough sunshine from reaching the seeds. 

Q:  Is Straw Good For Protecting Grass Seed?

A:  Straw Is a good choice for protecting grass seed, as long as you don’t overdo it.  Lay straw over newly tilled grass seed, no thicker than a 1/4″, which allows sunlight to reach the seed.


Growing out your lawn is a long, tedious, and painstaking process. And once you’ve got everything planted and put in the ground correctly, that doesn’t mean your work is done. Now, you must protect your hard work and investment from outside dangers.

Some people plant 50% more seed to cover any seeds lost to birds, trampled on, or anything else that could prevent growing a nice full lawn. Instead of leaving it up to chance, take additional measures to keep your lawn safe during its most vulnerable few weeks.

Follow any of these techniques, and you’ll stop the birds from attacking the ground long enough to get the glorious lawn you have always wanted.

Thanks for visiting and checking out our Reviews along the way.  We hope to see you again soon!

Additional Reading

Kevin Carroll
Kevin Carroll
Kevin is the author and editor for Best Home Gear, and uses his 25+ years experience in Commercial and Residential Construction Management to author and publish the work for this website. In addition to publishing Best Home Gear; Kevin enjoys the outdoors in Michigan and Arizona, hiking, cycling, fishing, golf, and completing DIY projects at his Home and Garden.


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Author and Publisher for Best Home Gear

Kevin is the Author, and Publisher @ Best Home Gear, which he began In 2018.

As a Professional in Construction, Real Estate and Property Management, Kevin uses that experience to publish Useful Articles, and help homeowners improve (DIY) their own homes, lawns, and outdoor spaces.

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