is bird netting safe for birds

Native animals, increasingly displaced from their natural habitat by tree clearing and extreme weather, are resorting to flowering and fruiting trees in our gardens.

Tree netting is a popular way to protect fruit from wildlife, particularly in urban areas, but the wrong type of netting can be deadly. Hungry animals are easily caught in ‘bird netting’, which has a mesh size greater than 1cm square. Wildlife friendly netting should have a mesh size of less than 5 mm.

The rescue statistics show that most animals die with horrific injuries or require long term care before release.

Birds, bats, lizards, snakes and the occasional possum are the main victims of inappropriate netting. Animals become tangled in large mesh netting and cannot free themselves. While struggling to escape, the net cuts ever deeper into the animal.

Like ghostnets in the ocean, unwanted netting can continue to maim and kill. Ensure that discarded netting cannot become a hazard to wildlife.

Search online for ‘fruit protection bags’, look for Green Harvest and The Native Shop for a range of bags and sleeves. Plastic garden pots can also be useful.

We recommend a densely woven net that will not trap wildlife and doesn’t need a frame, such as the Fruit Saver nets, Hail Guard or Vege Net. These nets are all white – the colour best seen by animals at night. Go to our website for videos about these nets and other ideas.

Our ‘finger test’ – choose netting that you cannot poke your finger through. The mesh size should be less than 5 mm.

For smaller trees up to 13m in circumference, we recommend Fruit Saver nets, available in 2 sizes.

For larger trees, buy Hail Guard off the roll from Fernland Agencies and Vege Net in 2 sizes from

What Size of the Anti-bird Net is Right for You?

There are two aspects to answering this question. The first is determining the suitable mesh size for you. The second step involves figuring out how much net you’ll need overall. When addressing the first aspect, one important thing to think about is the kind of bird you want to avoid.

This implies that you need to be aware of the species of birds that are native to your area and their typical sizes.

3 good nets which pass the ‘finger test’

1: Fruitsaver

2 sizes for small and medium trees

2: Hail Guard

Off 6 m roll

3: Vege net

2 sizes, 6m x 10m and 6m x 20m

Fruit Saver Fruit Tree Nets

The long skirt of this fitted box-shaped net gathers around the tree trunk.

The 2mm woven mesh excludes fruit fly and codling moth as well as birds, bats and possums. It has only a 15% shade factor and is currently best bought online at:

Select a more manageable fruit tree variety that is simple to maintain, trim, and harvest.

  • To shield the tree from the weight of the net and stop birds from pecking fruit through it, use a supporting frame.
  • Fruit Saver nets feature an access flap for this purpose, so think about how you will get to your fruit inside the net.
  • To stop wildlife from entering, the base of the net needs to be fastened to the ground or the tree trunk.
  • After fruiting, quickly remove the nets to avoid damaging the new growth.
  • Check your nets regularly. If an animal is caught visit www. fauna. org. au to find a wildlife carer in your area.

Leading the way, a few hardware stores in Australia have discontinued carrying netting that might endanger wildlife. Request that your neighborhood supplier only carry fruit tree netting that passes the “finger test”—that is, netting that is too strong for you to poke a finger through.

Visit and look for the link to the netting page. Get up-to-date information including instructional videos showing how to net your trees in a wildlife friendly way.

Information reproduced with permission from Tolga Bat Hospital

For round-the-clock guidance and support regarding the rescue of sick, injured, and abandoned native animals, contact 1300 094 737 or complete the online rescue form.


Can birds get caught in bird netting?

Loose netting only causes animals to get stuck and entangled within the net. Standard bird nets — having holes over 10mm — are hazardous to wildlife, because they easily get a leg, snout, head, or beak through them. This can ultimately lead to their death.

What can I use instead of bird netting?

Bird Netting Alternatives Physical Exclusion of Pigeons – Spikes, Wires, Nets and Slides. Pigeon Deterrents – Effigies, Sonic Emitters, Propane Cannons. Pigeon Repellent Options – Spikes, Gels, Optical Gel, Fogs and Vapors.

What netting does not harm birds?

Pigeon netting typically has a 20mm mesh and will prevent most small birds from getting through the netting. If you plan to use bird-proof netting for gulls and larger species, you’ll need a larger 100mm mesh size.

Are bird nets safe?

Another benefit of using polyethylene knotted bird netting is that it is an environmentally friendly solution. The netting is made from a non-toxic material that is safe for both humans and animals.