There are a variety of options available to limit bird damage. All are effective to a degree, when used properly.
Exclusion Bird Netting creates a physical barrier to keep birds away from where they are not wanted. Nets are typically draped over plants and trees, or they can be suspended from framework to create a canopy. Unfortunately, netting cannot eliminate all damage caused by birds. Draped netting allows birds to stand on the mesh and peck what they can reach. Netting must also must be removed for thinning and harvest, allowing birds access when the crop is most desirable. Harvest removal can also cause crop damage. Birds will attack any exposed food source so all acreage must be covered. Netting can also trap and kill birds caught in the netting.
Netting can also limit sunlight to the crop so the netting needs to be closely matched to the size of birds causing damage. Netting mesh too large allows smaller birds access. Smaller mesh blocks more sunlight, effecting crop growth and maturity.
Netting is by far the most expensive form of bird deterrent, both in terms of purchase price and the labor required to install, remove and maintain. Netting material can cost from $1300-$3,000 or more per acre, and can take several man hours per acre to install and remove depending on how it is deployed, the type of plants protected and the terrain. Tractor-mounted net installers costing several thousand dollars can cut installation and removal time substantially. Netting must be stored dry over the winter to prevent rotting. Modern netting is durable, and has a life span of 3-10 years if handled and maintained properly.
Propane Cannon harassment sounds cover up to 5 acres per unit, depending on the terrain and crop height. Cannons cost $300-$700 and are inexpensive to operate. Most can be programmed to explode at varying intervals and some rotate automatically for greater coverage and to lessen habituation. Because of the high degree of habituation, propane cannons are a good secondary defense against bird damage. To be most effective, cannons must be moved frequently.
Cannons can produce explosions up to 125 decibels making them unsuitable for use in livestock operations, on crops near homes or where noise ordinances prohibit them.
Visual Scare Devices come in a vast array of configurations from reflective streamers and helium balloons with scary eyes, to scarecrows and kites resembling hawks and other predatory birds. Visual scare devices have the highest rate of habituation and must be moved constantly. They are best used in conjunction with other deterrent measures.