Birds and Cannabis: Symptoms And Solutions
Cannabis growers are tasked with taking all sorts of precautions to ensure their crop makes it to harvest in good condition. One danger to the outdoor plant is birds, as they are known to steal seeds and ruin your grow operation before it ever really takes off. Here are some tips to handle this threat from above.
No matter the level of experience, when it comes to growing marijuana, growers are faced with many challenges. Some of the worst include insects, bad weather conditions, soil issues, heat stress, and birds, among other threats. It’s a real bummer to experience damaged or no crops at all after investing so much hard work, but it’s even worse knowing you could’ve done something about it.
When it comes to birds, there’s a really strange relationship shared with miss Mary Jane. At times, birds act as defenders, gobbling up the many pesky critters on your marijuana plants. On the other hand, they can wreak havoc on your future harvest by stealing your marijuana seeds. Here are a few things you should know about birds, and what you can do to stop them from harming your plants.
Now, let’s not assume we’re talking about all birds here. More often than not, growers have problems with game birds. It may be hard to believe, but there are many species that will specifically seek out marijuana seeds, so the struggle is certainly real for us growers. Once your marijuana seeds are prepared for soil, the flying attack on them can be almost immediate, leaving you without anything to grow. If you are also growing to produce seeds, then birds can strike as they grow. For the grower not really dealing with seeds, birds are unlikely to ever be a problem. The birds most likely to give you issues include:
- Common linnet
- Lesser spotted woodpecker
- House sparrow
- Tree sparrow
- European turtledove
SYMPTOMS OF BIRDS
The appearance of birds is always to be expected in any outdoor growing situation, so it won’t take much to tell if birds are tampering with and stealing from your crop or not. Birds visiting your grow isn’t automatically a bad thing. Here are marijuana plant symptoms to watch out for:
- Seed disappearance: This is usually a clear sign your seeds have been taken, but sometimes the cause is unknown. Aside from game birds, it’s also quite possible that your seeds were accidentally eaten by other critters while searching for bugs.
- Catching birds red-handed: If you witness firsthand birds stealing seeds or eating from your plants, then you can be pretty sure that you have a bird issue.
- Bird faeces: This is probably the biggest symptom of them all. If there are places with multiple droppings, there is a good chance they have been in your crop regularly.
SOLUTIONS FOR BIRDS
Birds are usually in your crops for two main reasons: to eat them, or to eat the critters on them. Either way, you don’t really want them around. Fortunately, there are some things you can do to protect your marijuana plants from birds; however, we recommend that you wait to act until you can say with confidence that birds are stealing your cannabis seeds. Here are a few tips:
- Placing a scarecrow near your crop is an oldie but goodie for effective plant protection.
- Tactfully spreading reflective or shiny objects on tree branches across the grow site can be a big help in deterring birds. You can use tin cans, disposable pie pans, or even CDs. The more you place around your garden, the higher chance of survival your crops will have.
- Creating a barrier between your crop and birds may help. This could be a lightweight net or clear PVC cover that will not only keep birds away but other pests as well.
- Probably the safest way to protect your plants is using a bird feeder, as it can make for a good distraction when positioned correctly. Birds love eating rye, barley, or oat seeds, so you should fill it up and place it close to your garden to keep them from munching on your plants.
Security of your grow site is always a priority. This includes keeping your grow-op discreet if you live in areas where cultivation is illegal or frowned upon. If you have the freedom and space to optimise your outdoor grow to be safe from critters of all kinds, count yourself lucky. For those dealing with guerrilla grows and the like, research and thinking on your feet are the name of the game.
If you’ve been a victim of marijuana seed theft by birds, it’s important to take proactive measures to decrease the likelihood of another incident.