Please give well reasoned answers.
hang CDs from the branches, the flashes of reflected sunlight will do the trick for more than birds
Sorta late post - but I cover my strawberries and tomatoes with remnants of tulle (like tutus are made out of) from the fabric store. Two bucks got me enough to cover everything. I didn't cover them until after a good bit of pollination had taken place, and I uncover the plants during the day for a few hours. Hope this helps!
This clothes line wire and mesh was under $14 ad the Depot.
The easiest and most reliable is to simply make a mesh cover for the tomatoes You can get mesh from home depot for 3-5$ Then you just bend it to the shape you need! Hope I helped!!
Shiny things that move easily in the air are known deterrent to many flying lizards. Not all, by any means, but many become, shall we say, distracted by the sudden shifts in light, in all likelihood because it somehow mimics the suddenness with which a predator charges just prior to a kill Old CDs, tin pie plates (like from a frozen pie), blah blah blah... There's always bird netting, and even a simple throw of it over the top would assist the shinies, but it's not free. (not terribly expensive, but...)
This be what you be wantin'!
Keep in mind that birds are pretty smart creatures. Crows and grackles in particular, are almost as intelligent as your family dog and it won't take them long to figure out that most static objects aren't a threat and they will ignore them in short order. Moving objects are the same. Have you ever watched a crow dodge traffic on a busy street to scarf down a tasty morsel? The same goes for your garden. Other than chemical repellents, physical barriers or a couple of ten year boys with B-B guns, the only way I have found that is effective, is to keep an eye on the garden and run outside banging a couple of pans together when you see any birds. Who cares what the neighbors think, eh?
I really like that part about the ten year olds. The BB guns are an effective method at keeping them away, just make sure your local authority (or up-tight neighbors) won't arrest you for it.
Easiest way to not get into trouble: don't get caught.
Adopt a feral cat from the Humane Society and allow it outside occasionally- birds learn quickly which yards are dangerous. (I know, I know cats live longer if kept inside but formerly feral cats live longer if they just have a home and a steady food supply and generally they hate staying inside all the time- and since you feed them their appetite for wild food is diminished)
Get a fake owl and put it by your garden. I'm talking smack dab in the middle of it. My father has done as long as i've known him and has never had a problem. The large nature of the bird tends to fend off most.
Oh and he's been growing tomatoes for over 25 years with that thing sitting there...
I've had my best luck with bird netting. It's kind of a pain to remove when you need to get to the plants, but it keeps the birds off.
My grandfather used plastic bags or easter eggs wrap He hangs up them spread by the land, in order to make them move with the wind. The birds were scared by the noise and the movement. (I'm sorry for my english, I'm italian)
Scarecrows of various kinds. Some people have had success with owl figurines; some haven't. Some have had success with flashing whirligigs; some haven't. Some have had success with motion-detector computer-aimed water canon. Not many have tried that one....