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Do Birds Eat Tomatoes? (and How to PROTECT Your Plants)

As a sustainability advocate and avid gardener, I know how frustrating it could be to realize that “Birds are eating my crop” and, they especially like tomatoes. Do birds eat tomatoes? Unfortunately, the answer is yes, and in this blog post, I’ll share how to protect tomatoes from birds and keep them safe.

Do Birds Eat Tomatoes?

Yes, birds are known to consume tomatoes both when they’re ripe and when they’re still green. The taste of tomatoes is particularly appealing to many species of birds, and tomatoes are among their favorite foods. Gardeners sometimes use nets to prevent birds from eating their harvest, but this may not be enough to protect tomatoes from determined birds. It’s important to note that not all birds eat tomatoes and that some types of birds may prefer other types of food instead.

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If you’re a gardener, you might be familiar with the problem of pesky birds eating your tomatoes. If you have birds in your garden, it’s very likely that they’ll try to snack on your tomato plants.

Before going through preventive measures to keep birds off your tomato plants, let’s have a look at the type of birds that can eat your harvest.

Types of Birds That Like Tomatoes

birds that eat tomatoes

Can birds eat tomatoes? Yes, they can, here’s a list of birds known for eating tomatoes:

  • American Robin
  • Blackbirds
  • Blue Jays birds
  • Brown Thrasher
  • Crows
  • Horned Lark
  • House Sparrow
  • Magpies
  • Pigeons
  • Sparrows
  • Starlings
  • Woodpeckers
  • Quail
  • Finches

So, for example, do crows eat tomatoes? Yes, they do! And do cardinals eat tomatoes? Yes, cardinals can eat tomatoes.

However, not all birds eat tomatoes, but many do. Among the birds that like to eat tomatoes are both garden varieties of birds and migrating birds that are passing through.

  • Garden varieties of birds that might eat your tomatoes include species like sparrows, American goldfinches, and towhees, among others. These birds are classified as granivorous, which means that they like to eat seeds, including tomato seeds.
  • Migratory birds that target tomato plants can include yellow-billed cuckoos, wood thrushes, and scarlet tanagers. These birds are known to eat both ripe and unripe tomatoes, and they can cause significant damage to a tomato crop if they are not deterred.

It’s important to know which birds are in your area so that you can take appropriate steps to protect your tomato plants.

Why Do Birds Eat Tomatoes?

So, why do birds eat tomatoes? There are a few reasons.

  • Tomatoes are a rich source of nutrients, including vitamins A and C, as well as minerals like calcium and potassium. Birds need these nutrients to maintain their health and energy levels.
  • Tomatoes are easy to spot and access, particularly when they are hanging on a vine or bush. Birds are attracted to bright, colorful objects, and tomatoes fit the bill perfectly.

What Parts of the Tomato Plant Do Birds Eat?

Birds can eat both ripe and unripe tomatoes, as well as the leaves and stems of the tomato plant. They may also eat the tomato seeds, which can be found inside the tomato fruit.

When tomatoes are left to ripen on the vine, they can be particularly attractive to birds, who may peck through the skin of the tomato to get at the juicy flesh inside. If you notice birds congregating around your plants, it’s important to take action to keep birds from eating tomatoes.

how to protect tomatoes from birds

If you’re a gardener who is struggling to keep birds away from your tomatoes, don’t worry! There are a variety of methods you can use to deter birds from eating your crop.

Here are the best methods to keep your tomatoes safe from birds:

1. Physical Barriers

One of the most effective methods of deterring birds from snacking on your tomatoes is to use physical barriers. There are several different types of physical barriers that you can try, each with its own unique benefits.

Bird Netting

Have you ever heard a bird song in the early morning and felt instantly relaxed? Well, that’s all well and good until you realize that those feathered friends are making a meal out of your prized tomato plants.

Fear not, bird netting is here to save the day! With a variety of sizes and shapes available, you can easily block off your plants from those pesky beaks as well as from squirrels.

Their lightweight material won’t harm the plants or birds; it just keeps the birds from munching on your veggies. Say goodbye to bird damage and hello to beautiful, untouched tomatoes.

Row Cover

Row covers are lightweight and flexible fabrics that act as a barrier between your plants and the pesky birds that love to feast on them. They’re easy to install and can be removed at any time to allow for watering and fertilization.


Not only do these garden cloches protect your plants from unwanted avian visitors, but they also provide a cozy little microclimate that can help your tomatoes thrive. They come with a variety of designs and materials, so you’re sure to find a cloche that fits your garden’s aesthetic.

Tomato Cages

Tomato cages can be a lifesaver. Not only do they provide physical barriers, but they also offer support for your growing plants. You can also get creative with the design and add some flair to your garden.

2. Shiny Objects

Birds are scared of movement and reflective surfaces. So, if you place reflective tape near the tomato plants, it will help scare the birds. It can be purchased at most hardware stores or online.

Also placing pie tins in trees or near tomato plants can help keep birds away.

3. Wind Chimes

One effective method for keeping pesky birds out of your garden is by using wind chimes. As birds tend to be silent and sneaky, the sound of the chimes disrupts their expectations and encourages them to stay away. By strategically placing several wind chimes throughout your garden, you can create a more hostile environment for birds and protect your plants.

4. Scarecrow

Scarecrows have been a popular garden decoration for a long time and for good reason. These human-shaped decorations are designed to look like people, and birds are very afraid of people. You can use a scarecrow to scare off birds and keep them away from your tomato plants.

5. Faux Predators

Placing fake predators like snakes or birds of prey may deter birds. These decoy predators, like owls can be purchased online or found at garden centers.

Another effective way to keep birds away from your tomato plants is to use fake predators. There are many different types of fake predators on the market, including fake owls, snakes, and cats. These fake predators look like the real thing and scare birds away from your garden.

6. Bird Whistles

These are devices that produce bird distress sounds that scare off birds. They can be placed near the tomato plants and set them up with a timer.

However, ultrasonic devices work better than those!

8. Ultrasonic Devices

Ultrasonic devices produce ultrasonic sounds that are unpleasant to birds, they can be very effective also with squirrels and deer, but can be a bit expensive.

7. Liquid Repellents

You can create repellents using things like hot sauce or vinegar sprays and apply them on tomato plants with a spray bottle.

9. Companion Planting

Some plants, such as marigolds and nasturtiums, can be planted alongside tomatoes. These plants are natural bird and squirrel repellents.

10. Distractions

Another effective method of deterring birds from your tomato plants is to provide them with distractions. By providing alternative sources of food and water, you can help to steer birds away from your valuable tomato crop.

Add a Birdbath

Try adding a birdbath to your outdoor space. By creating a designated area for birds to safely drink and bathe, they may be less inclined to feast on your juicy tomatoes. In addition, a birdbath adds a charming touch to any garden and encourages bird watching. It’s a win-win solution. Consider choosing a design that complements the style of your garden and fills it with clean water regularly to encourage more frequent visiting.

Provide an Alternate Food Source

One of the easiest ways to distract birds from your tomato plants is to provide them with an alternate food source. Birds are attracted to a wide variety of foods, so you may need to experiment a bit to find the right type of food to use in your situation.

Some good options to try include fruits like apples, berries, and cherries, as well as seeds and nuts. By providing birds with a reliable source of food, you can ensure that they will be less likely to turn to your tomato plants for sustenance.

Best Practices for Protecting Tomato Plants

While those tactics are a great way to keep birds away from your tomato plants, it’s also important to take steps to protect your plants also in other ways. Here are some best practices for protecting tomato plants.

Select Suitable Locations

When planting your tomato plants, it’s important to choose a suitable location. Tomato plants need plenty of sunlight and should be planted in soil that is rich in nutrients. You should also avoid planting tomato plants in areas where birds are known to be a problem.

Keep Tomato Plants Healthy and Strong

Healthy tomato plants are less likely to be attacked by birds. Make sure your plants are getting enough water and are free of disease and pests. Keeping your plants healthy and strong will help to ensure that they are less vulnerable to bird damage.

Monitor for Early Signs of Bird Damage

It’s important to monitor your tomato plants for early signs of bird damage. If you notice that birds are starting to nibble on your tomatoes, it’s important to take action right away. You can try using scare tactics or physical barriers to deter the birds and protect your plants.


Do cardinals consume tomatoes?

Cardinals are known for their seed-based diet, but they are also known to indulge in various fruits. Tomatoes, being a fruit, are not an exception. However, cardinals are not likely to cause significant damage to tomato plants compared to other birds like grackles and crows. Using protective barriers like netting and row covers can still be effective in deterring cardinals from eating your tomatoes.

Can parrots eat tomatoes?

Yes, parrots can eat tomatoes. Tomatoes are not toxic to parrots and are a good source of vitamins and antioxidants. However, it’s essential to avoid feeding them large quantities of the tomato plant itself, as it contains solanine, which is toxic to birds.

Can budgies eat tomatoes?

Yes, budgies can eat tomatoes. Tomatoes are rich in vitamin C and contain antioxidants that can benefit your bird’s health. Make sure to cut the tomato into small pieces or slices to prevent choking hazards.

Can parakeets eat tomatoes?

Yes, parakeets can eat tomatoes. They can be a good source of vitamins and minerals. However, make sure to wash the tomatoes before feeding them and remove any stems that may be a choking hazard.

Can canaries eat tomatoes?

Yes, canaries can eat tomatoes. Tomatoes are rich in nutrients and antioxidants that can benefit birds. As with all birds, it’s essential to avoid feeding them large quantities of the plant itself, as it contains solanine, which is toxic to birds.

Do hummingbirds eat tomatoes?

No, hummingbirds do not eat tomatoes. They primarily feed on nectar from flowers, tree sap, and insects like spiders and gnats.

What is consuming my tomatoes during nighttime?

If you’ve noticed that your tomato plants have been vandalized overnight, cautious nocturnal animals such as little rodents could be the culprits. These animals are drawn to gardens containing fresh produce and can be quite damaging to tomato plants.

To avoid them creating any damage, consider utilizing protective enclosures such as covers or bird mesh. Additionally, offering alternative food sources like bird baths can discourage birds from feasting on tomato plants. It’s important to take these precautions to avert contamination and promote healthy tomato growth.


So, do birds eat tomatoes? The answer is a resounding yes! If you’re a gardening enthusiast, you’ve probably experienced the frustration of having birds swoop in and snatch your ripe tomatoes before you even get a chance to harvest them. But fear not – there are ways to keep these pesky birds away from your precious crop!

Whether you choose to cover your tomato plants with nets, use bird deterrents, or try planting companion plants that birds dislike, there are plenty of options available to protect your tomatoes. Just remember, not all birds eat tomatoes, so you may need to experiment to find the best solution for your specific garden. With a little creativity and persistence, you can ensure that both you and the birds can enjoy the bounty of your garden without any tomato-related issues!