Are birds pulling up your lawn?

Author: Stefan Palm   Date Posted: 23 July 2019 

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

More and more I’m hearing stories of birds relentlessly ripping up lawns. They come back day after day and are not easily deterred by frustrated home owners. 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 straight forward enough, how to stop them is another matter. 

There are 2 common scenarios where birds get stuck into lawns. The first is from birds like magpies and the second, and more common scenario is from birds such as Galahs, Cockatoos and parrots.

Damage Caused by Magpies and Crows:

If the you notice Magpies and crows feeding on your lawn, they are almost certainly hunting for insects and grubs in the soil. If you want to stop them, the best solution is to apply a chemical such as Yates Complete which will kill insects such as black beetle and black beetle larvae. In this way, you remove the food source and essentially solve the problem.

Damage Caused by 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 and nodes 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.

To tackle this problem, we have heard from people trying approaches such as bird deterrents and bird scarers. 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 seem to have been effective however I’m all ears to hear from you if you have any tricks up your sleeve.  

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


Comments (2)

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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