How to Scare Birds in Fruit Trees


Birds are one of the major pests that damage small fruit crops. According to the University of Ohio, birds can be responsible for up to 30 percent of fruit loss in small fruit crops. A flock of starlings alone can consumer up to 1 ton of fruit in a span of 10 days. While some farmers resort to placing nets in trees to keep birds out of fruit crops, this can prove to be an expensive measure. Instead, you can keep birds away from trees using scare tactics.

Step 1

Set propane cannons in an orchard to generate loud blasts. A propane cannon set to generate a blast of sound once every three minutes in a randomized pattern and direction is most effective because it keeps birds off balance. This method works best in areas with no nearby neighbors to disturb.

Step 2

Install a sound system in an orchard and play sounds of predatory birds. The sounds of predator birds such as hawks not only scares away smaller birds, but it also attracts predator birds.

Step 3

Shoot a pistol cartridge into a flock of birds to drive them away whenever you see them. Long-range pistol cartridges are designed to explode in the air where the birds are flying. Shotgun cartridges are less effective and can harm the birds. This is frowned on in bird sanctuaries and areas where endangered birds live.

Step 4

Hang visual repellents such as pie plates, old CD's, polyester film strips or balloons, or pieces of cassette tape that will hum in the wind. These measures have a short term effect on birds. Inflatable or plastic decoys that look like predator birds will also repel fruit-eating birds when placed in a tree.

Things You'll Need

  • Propane cannon
  • Timer
  • Sound system
  • Predatory bird call CD
  • Pistol
  • Pistol cartridge
  • Twine
  • Pie plate
  • Used CD
  • Polyester film strips
  • Polyester film balloons
  • Cassette tape
  • Plastic decoy bird
  • Inflatable decoy bird


  • Ohio State University Extension: Reducing Bird and Other Wildlife Damage in Berries and Grapes
  • Alabama Cooperative Extension Service: Control of Mammals and Birds in the Vegetable Garden
  • Washington State University: Overview of Tree Fruit Production

Who Can Help

  • Extension: Starling Damage Management
Keywords: protecting orchards, driving off birds, berry production

About this Author

Tracy S. Morris has been a freelance writer since 2000. She has published two novels and numerous online articles. Her work has appeared in national magazines and newspapers, including "Ferrets," "CatFancy," "Lexington Herald Leader" and "The Tulsa World."