Answer: I'm sure it is annoying, but I don't think the birds can do any serious damage. There are many beneficial insects in the lawn in addition to turf damaging insects. The beneficial insects include earthworms which are a key foodsource for most surburbian bird species. Earthworms are also extremely beneficial to the lawn as it aerate the soil and improve the OM contents.
Mow the lawn high (2.5-3.5" tall after cutting) and mow frequently to keep the grassblades high. The birds may not be able to see movement in the soil through such tall grass. Fertilize the lawn in late spring, early fall and late fall, and if you water manually, water infrequently but deeply (such as once weekly for 2 hours) rather than frequent, shallow applications (daily for 15 minutes). The above horticultural practices will result in a dense lawn which birds should not be able to alter significantly, even with their anunal pilgrimage to your lawn.
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