Are birds pulling up your lawn?

Author: Stefan Palm   Date Posted: 3 August 2021 

Have birds been pulling up sections of your lawn? It's a problem many homeowners are facing and one where solutions are thin on the ground.

More and more, I hear stories of birds relentlessly ripping up lawns. They come back day after day and are not easily deterred by frustrated homeowners. The questions most people ask are, why are they doing it? And how do I stop them? While the reason they are doing it is straightforward enough, how to stop them is another matter. 

The most common scenario where birds are found to be pulling up lawns is from birds such as Galahs, Cockatoos and Parrots.

These birds are granivorous, meaning they have a totally vegetarian diet. They live off seeds and other vegetable matter and, by their curious nature, have discovered that they have a penchant for lawns such as Kikuyu. It's not the blades of grass they are after or even the surface runners but the rhizomes (or underground runners) that lie just beneath the surface. This is why they scratch around and dig, pulling up chunks of your lawn. You’ll often see an array of lawn runners lying on the surface when they have finished. Kikuyu rhizomes are thick, white runners with small nodes every 2-3 cm. The birds bite into these runners to release the sugary starch that exists within them. They are essentially eating your lawn and loving every minute of it.

This problem is becoming more common as bird populations increase. With less food around to support them, they are forced to look for alternative food sources.

We have heard from people trying approaches such as bird deterrents and bird scarers to tackle this problem. We've even heard of people going to the lengths of putting out bowls of seed to provide them with an alternative food source instead of eating their lawn. Being intelligent birds, they are not easily deterred! To date, none of these efforts seems to have been effective however, I’m all ears to hear from you if you have any tricks up your sleeve.  

Please email me at for more information or with any effective methods of deterring birds.

Feedback from Readers:

06/08/21 - Tracey 

Last year our kikuyu lawn was decimated by galahs.  Back in March we installed a motion activated impact sprinkler and it’s working really well. Ended up buying 2 to get coverage and we move them every week or so.

The brand we bought is sureguard.



Comments (3)

Galahs eating kikuyu

By: on 18 August 2021
Hasn’t been too bad this year but in the past, they have been a nuisance until we bought one of those big plastic owls from Bunnings and put in on the front lawn near where they liked to congregate. It worked a treat.

Paul Munns Instant Lawn Response
Hi Paul Thanks for your comments Cheers

Galah deterrent

By: on 13 March 2021
Tried every thing to stop galahs ripping up lawn nothing worked. Went to Bunnings got 6 bags of chicken manure mix for $3.90 each throw on lawn then mowed it in without catcher .they all still come but eat nexy doors lawn now . They wont go near it . 3 weeks an not a blade of grass ripped up

Paul Munns Instant Lawn Response
Hi Ron Thanks for your tip Glad to hear they're not ripping up your lawn anymore

Galahs eating kikuyu grass

By: on 17 August 2019
I put a new kikuyu lawn down ,it cost $3500 ,and it looked great,then the galahs came and started pulling chunks out . I have put bird rattle tape out but they are not scared of it so i scoured the internet and found an article by don bourke that says use Alum from pool supply shops at a rate of one teaspoon per litre of water, he says the birds hate the taste and it is environmentally friendly. I am going out today to buy some to try.

Paul Munns Instant Lawn Response
That's great David. Let us know how it goes! Regards, Stefan

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