Bird Repellent Ideas

Wild birds can be annoying in many kinds of ways. They can streak your buildings with droppings. They can eat your flowers, berries, fruits, vegetables and seed crops. They can bear disease. They can even get in the way of airplanes landing and taking off. Consider using both traditional and high-tech ways to keep them out of your space.

Decoys

Make an old-fashioned scarecrow using old jeans, shirts and hats--whatever you can build to make birds think there is a human in your garden. Realistic-looking plastic falcons are fake predators that work with pigeons. If herons are eating fish from your pond, install a realistic-looking plastic heron decoy. Herons are territorial, so herons seeing your plastic bird will fly by your property. Many commercial variations exist of the plastic horn-rimmed owl, a feared predator. A realistic plastic owl is almost guaranteed to make numerous species of small birds go elsewhere. Paint eyes or faces on balloons and hang them in your garden; you can buy balloons with faces painted on them, but it's fun to make them yourself. Floating decoys in the shape of swans scare away geese.

Repellents

Commercial bird repellents are ordinarily 88 to 90 percent aluminum ammonia sulfate. Sprinkle the powder form on flowers or around vegetables. Smear the paste version on places where birds like to land. A bitter-tasting solution made of methyl anthranilate can be sprayed on fields where geese eat. Because geese don't like it, they'll eat elsewhere. Soak hot chili peppers in water a few days and spray the water on the plants you want to protect.

Fouling Perches

Caulk a sticky gel specifically manufactured to make a surface uncomfortable for a bird to land on. Birds don't like to walk on the sticky good. If you are plagued with birds that perch or roost in places you don't want them to, buy plastic spikes to make them go elsewhere. Attach metal or plastic spikes with glues marketed to adhere them onto places where annoying birds like to sit.

Other Methods

Throw light netting over trees, vines and plants with fruit and vegetables that birds are eating. Hang strips of aluminum pie tins or strips of aluminum foil where birds gather. As the wind blows the tins or strips, they flash, scaring the birds away. Special anti-bird devices contain recorded sounds of distress for specific kinds of birds. When members of a flock hear the cries, they take off. Some models allow you to vary the type, loudness and timing of the distress calls. Install a mechanical scarecrow that can sense motion. When a bird comes close, it sends out a spray of water.

Keywords: repelling birds, scaring birds, keeping birds away

About this Author

Richard Hoyt, an internationally published author of 26 mysteries, thrillers and other novels, is a former reporter for Honolulu dailies and writer for "Newsweek" magazine. He taught nonfiction writing and journalism at the university level for 10 years. He holds a Ph.D. in American studies.