Red-headed Finch eating a tomato.

Do Birds Eat Tomatoes? (And How to Prevent It Easily!)

Birds are generally known to eat many types of food, but do birds eat tomatoes? In this article, we will explore the idea of whether a bird would eat a tomato.

Do Birds Eat Tomatoes?

This is a question that many gardeners have. The answer is yes, birds do eat tomatoes. They like the taste of the ripe tomatoes, as well as the unripe green tomatoes. Tomatoes are one of the most favored foods of many birds.

In fact, there are over 20 different species of birds that like to eat tomatoes. Some of these species include the cardinal, blue jay, robin, woodpecker, thrush and mockingbird.

Do Birds Eat Tomato Plants?

Birds will eat the foliage, fruit, shoots, and stems of tomato plants. They’re known to pick off the flowers and even eat the seeds.

Any tomato plant in your garden is a good target for birds to snack on. To help prevent this kind of damage, we have some simple solutions you can try below.

Do Birds Eat Tomato Leaves?

Many people are surprised to learn that birds also enjoy eating tomato plant leaves. They mainly eat the leaves of low growing varieties, where they are close to the ground.

This makes it easier for them to reach the tomato leaves and bugs that feed on the plants. They may also eat larger plants if enough bugs, or other foods, are not available.

Do Birds Eat Tomato Seeds?

Yes, they do eat tomato seeds. Not only that, but the following types of birds love eating tomato seeds: cardinals, sparrows, blackbirds, starlings, grackles and pigeons.

These birds are just some of many birds that will visit your yard to eat the tomato seeds you plant. In fact, all of these birds are known as “granivores,” which means they particularly enjoy eating seeds.

Do Birds Eat Tomato Seedlings?

They absolutely do! Songbirds such as magpies, starlings, sparrows, and finches will snip off young tomato seedlings because they like the taste of them. The damage to the plants can be significant because if left unchecked it can result in a significant loss of tomatoes for an entire season.

Do Birds Eat Tomato Flowers?      

Tomatoes are a type of flower that many birds, such as sparrows, blue jays, cardinals and mockingbirds, enjoy eating. Some birds, such as hummingbirds, will peck at the petals of a tomato flower to get at the nectar inside. If you have an abundance of tomato plants in your garden or want to plant more next year, keep this in mind.

What Parts of the Tomato Plant Do Birds Eat?

Birds are one of the most common tomato plant pests. They eat virtually anything on the tomato plant, from its leaves and flowers, to its fruit and seeds. Although birds tend to target small plants and seedlings, they’ll also continue feeding throughout the life of the plant.

Why Do Birds Eat Tomatoes?

Birds eat tomatoes because they are full of nutrients and provide sustenance for them. Birds can find a plethora of nutrients in tomatoes that help them survive, as well as energy from the fruit’s sugars. In addition to this, birds also enjoy the taste of these fruits!

What Kind of Birds Like To Eat Tomatoes?

Some birds like to eat tomatoes, but others don’t. The following types of birds are known to eat tomatoes: 

  • Blue Jay
  • Bluebirds
  • Cardinal
  • Brown Thrush
  • Quail
  • Grosbeak
  • Waxwing
  • Finch
  • Robin
  • Starling
  • Blackbird
  • Grackle
  • Sparrow
  • Scrub Jay
  • Mockingbird

Do Birds Eat Tomato Hornworms?

Tomato hornworms are a type of caterpillar that are commonly eaten by birds. These caterpillars are known to feed on tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, and other vegetables.

They are small and bright green with white stripes and a horn like tail, but they can also be black, depending on their growth stage.

Tomato hornworms can be found throughout the United States, and are considered a nuisance because they can damage crops. Birds typically eat them because they are a good source of food, and it helps control the population of these caterpillars.

A great tit eating a tomato hornworm.
Image by Thomas Becker from Pixabay

How to Keep Birds from Eating Tomatoes?

It’s not uncommon to see birds perched atop of tomato plants, pecking away at the fruit. But if you’re worried about your tomatoes getting eaten by birds, there are a few things you can do to deter them. The products listed below are wildlife friendly.

Hang a Bird Feeder in your Garden.

You can keep birds from eating your tomatoes by putting up a bird feeder in your garden. This will provide the birds with another place to feed and will also provide them a fun distraction.

It may be an annoying problem to deal with, but once you put up a bird feeder it should solve the problem. Fill the feeder with your favorite seed or black-oil sunflower seed, and hang it up for the birds to come and enjoy. 

Use multiple bird feeders around your yard in different spots for more variety. I personally have had great success with this squirrel-proof feeder, and most birds favorite black-oil sunflower seed.

These feeders have a trap food door that will close when a squirrel lands on the perch, but opens again when it goes away, eliminating food wastage.

Try Bird Netting

Bird netting can be used to protect tomato plants from birds. Birds won’t be able to get through, but humans and pets can access the protected area easily using the large openings in the netting.

It works well to cover small fruit trees and shrubs, but also for garden rows of veggies such as peas, tomatoes and bean.

The netting is easy to apply, as you don’t need anything to fasten it down during installation. I bought this bird netting for a great price, and it gets the job done.

Protect your Plants with this Cloche.

Protect your plants with this cloche. It’s a more effective way to protect tomatoes than netting. These wire domes are adjustable and can be placed over seeds and seedlings, providing an excellent barrier against birds. I would recommend the Taomenni Garden Cloche.

Cloches can also be made from plastic soda bottles with the bottoms cut off so that it can be lowered over a growing plant. Adding a heat source can even allow you to start plants inside earlier than elsewhere.

Use a Cage

One popular way is to use cages that surround around a whole tomato plant. This way, the birds can’t get to the tomatoes, and they will likely not bother them.

Some people believe that cages can be used to wrap around an entire tomato plant to keep birds away. Others believe that the birds will eventually learn how to get around the cage, so it is not always effective.

Hang Shiny Objects

There are many ways to deter birds from eating your tomatoes. One popular method is to hang shiny objects on and around the plant, such as shiny beads ornaments, metal chains, or pieces of plastic.

This will scare the birds away and keep them from raiding your tomato crop. These reflective ornamental spiral deterrents work wonders.

Try a Scarecrow

Hanging a scarecrow to frighten away birds from tomatoes may work in some cases, but it’s not always successful. Some birds are immune to the scarecrow’s appearance and will continue to eat tomatoes.

Other birds may see the scarecrow as a threat and avoid the area.​​​​​​​ This coyote decoy is a great option, and it works amazing.

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