Strawberries are such a popular fruit that grow only a small amount of time at the end of spring. You definitely want to make the most of your strawberry abundance. Learn how to protect your strawberries from potential thieves like the birds!
This project is so easy to do and I love getting my daughter involved. Anytime I can include her in gardening I do! Gardening is such an important life skill that I want to pass down to her.
You don’t have to be a professional Picasso to do this. Remember, you’re trying to trick the birds here, so get out of your head a little and enjoy the quality time making these painted strawberries with your kids.
Why Paint Rocks To Protect Strawberries From the Birds?
The trick to these painted rocks are to make them look like strawberries. You place them next to your strawberry plants a few weeks before they’re fully ripe. For instance, when you start to see small green strawberries, this is the perfect time.
The birds will mistake the painted strawberries for real ones and you’ll enjoy watching the birds be fooled. They’ll attempt to eat the rock and feel some discomfort pecking something so hard. After a few attempts with the unexpected outcomes, they’ll hopefully learn their lesson and stay away from your strawberries when they’re finally ready.
Enjoy A Nature Walk & Look for Rocks
This is my favorite part of the whole thing! Being out in nature is therapeutic to me and my daughter loves it too. Nature studies is a part of our homeschool curriculum and we love making observations out on our walk.
You can look for rocks in your yard or out and about. Have fun with the hunt, just be sure to keep rocks at the parks as it’s their property.
Look for anything that looks like a strawberry. Think of it’s size, shape, and texture.
Prep Your Rocks
Once you have collected all your rocks, rinse them off with warm water using a brush. Let dry on one side then rotate to dry the other side.
For an added touch you can add a base coat to your rocks. I just had some white spray paint laying around that needed an excuse to be used up, so I painted the rocks with that. This is completely optional.
- acrylic paint: red, green, and black
Paint Your Rocks
Typically acrylic paint is used for rocks and that’s what we had on hand. You don’t have to be picky about this as far as the colors are concerned (any red, green, & black will do). We just used what we had lying around the house. My daughter loves painting so we had everything already.
After you have added the optional base coat you’re ready to start painting. If the kids are involved, don’t forget to prep your area with aprons and drop cloths!
Start off with a coat of red paint. Make sure there’s enough so none of the rock is showing through. It may take a couple coats. Since we had the base coat added to ours, one coat was fine. You can paint the whole rock or just paint the side that’s showing. Depends entirely on what looks good for you.
Once it’s painted a beautiful strawberry red color, you get to decorate! Paint the top with green to make the leaves/stem of the strawberry.
Lastly, you’ll add little black seeds all over your strawberry. Instead of the paintbrush, take a toothpick to dab it into the paint. Then add little black dots with the toothpick all over your strawberry.
Optional: Seal Your Rocks
If you plan on using your rocks for years to come, you’ll definitely want them to last through the weather and the elements. Seal your rocks and you’re done. I used a sealer spray paint I had in my garage. Again, this step isn’t necessary, but helps them last.
How To Protect Strawberries From The Birds Video
Place The Decoys Out!
Now that your rocks look like strawberries it’s time to deceive those birds. Don’t get me wrong, I love birds. In fact my favorite thing is watching the birds feed from our feeder.
But the feeder is where I’d prefer them to stay! Gardeners work hard on their plant babies and the last thing they need is someone else enjoying their bounty.
Put a painted strawberry rock or 2 next to each strawberry plant.
The perfect time to set them out is a few weeks before your strawberries are ripe. A good sign is when you start to see little green strawberries.
Once you see the green strawberries, places out the decoys. They’ll be fooled into eating those “strawberries.” The idea is, they’ll have tried to eat the decoys and become annoyed that by the time your real strawberries come in, they’ll completely ignore them.
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Have you tried to protect your strawberries from the birds this way before? How did it work? Let me know in the comments!