8 Tips How To Keep Birds Away. Expert Bird Control Tips

how to keep birds away

As much as we may love birds, there are times when they can be a bit of a nuisance around our homes and gardens. Fortunately for everyone involved, there are safe ways to keep birds away without causing any harm to our feathered friends. In this article, I’ll introduce you to 8 practical methods and techniques to get rid of birds and teach you how to keep birds away. 

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8 Tips How To Keep Birds Away. Expert Bird Control Tips

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Why keep birds away?

There are quite a few reasons you might want to keep birds away. Although our feathered friends usually do little or no harm, in some situations they can be responsible for:

  • Eating fruit or vegetable crops
  • Eating goldfish in the garden pond
  • Eating your pet food
  • Fighting with their reflection in mirrors and windows
  • Roosting or nesting in cavities
  • Making a mess on paving, patios, parked cars, etc. 

These problems can range from pretty minor to rather serious, and fortunately, there are things you can do to prevent them or put an end to them. Read on to learn how to keep birds away. 

1. Put Up Physical Barriers

how to keep birds out of garden

Introduced house sparrows, starlings, and other birds look for cozy cavities to build their nests and raise their chicks in. In nature birds rely on holes in trees or rocks for this but fortunately for them, houses and buildings often provide them with great nesting sites. 

How to keep birds from making nests in unwanted places

The best way to keep birds from building nests is to close up any likely spots so that they cannot get inside. How you close up the cavities is up to you and will depend on the size and nature of the cavity. 

Small holes can be plugged with steel wool or closed in with plaster. Cavities that need to remain open for ventilation or some other purpose should be closed with mesh. 

Be kind though, if there’s already a family of birds nesting, allow the chicks to fledge before trapping them inside. You can provide them with an alternative nest site for the following season by setting out a birdhouse or two in a more appropriate location. 

2. Make The Environment Unattractive

When trying to solve a bird problem, it is as important to understand what attracts them as it is to understand how to keep birds away. Let’s take a look at a few ways to keep birds out of the garden. 

Remove Water Sources

All backyard bird watchers know that if there’s one thing that really attracts birds, it’s a supply of fresh water. Most birds will enjoy bathing regularly and drinking daily. 

A fresh water source is a major attraction for wild birds, so water features like ponds and fountains might have to be closed or removed. Fixing a net over a water feature can keep birds out, and fish in. 

Remove Food Sources

Of course, if you’re putting out birdseed or any other kind of bird food, you’ll have to stop to prevent birds from visiting. Other food sources might not be so easy to remove, however. If there’s a type of plant in the property that is attracting birds, this might have to be removed. 

It may be possible to prune trees that produce berries in such a way as to prevent them from going to fruit. This can be done by removing buds or flowers before they develop.  

Close Nesting sites

Birds like European Starlings and House Sparrows can cause quite a headache for homeowners because of their habit of nesting in cavities in roofs and ceilings. The best way to prevent this is simply to close up any cavities that you can find around the house. 

3. Reflective Repellents

There’s something about bright reflecting light that birds don’t like. Especially if it shifts or flashes. Shiny materials that catch and reflect sunlight can be very effective for deterring birds from your property. 

Of course, this is only really effective in a sunny spot that gets plenty of light. There are a few great light-reflecting bird repellent products available that you can use to solve your bird problem.

  • Hanging reflectors are very easy to use, and can actually be quite an attractive feature in the yard. They are also a great way to keep birds off the porch. 
  • Reflective tape is a less attractive but more affordable option for larger projects. Both are designed to have plenty of movement that throws light in many different directions, sending the birds elsewhere.
  • A similar technique for folks who like DIY projects is to make your own using old CDs and thread or fishing wire. 
  • A Spinning reflector is a great option for balconies, walls, and rooftops where they can be securely mounted. These reflectors are designed to spin in the wind, throwing light in every direction and creating a flashing effect that birds avoid. 

4. Preventing Roosting With Bird Spikes

bird repellent spray

Roosting birds can be one of the biggest headaches for homeowners and property managers, especially when they’re making a lot of mess. If you can get up to the roosting site, attaching  plastic bird spikes or stainless steel bird spikes can be a very effective means of encouraging them to roost elsewhere. Simply attach a strip of bird spikes using screws, nails, glue, zip ties, or double-sided tape. 

I’ve had great success in the past in discouraging a messy pair of barn owls from roosting on a roof beam by using a fishing line. A taught length of strong fishing line, tied about 2 inches above the roosting surface makes it very difficult for the birds to perch. This was done easily by driving in 4-inch nails and tying the line between them.  

5. Use A Predator Decoy

One effective way of keeping birds away is by mimicking their natural predators. A falcon decoy, for example, will work well to keep small songbirds and doves away, or an owl decoy can be very effective too. 

Of course, if you’re having problems with larger birds like ducks and geese, you’re going to want a larger predator to mimic. A coyote decoy is an ideal option. 

How to scare birds away with a decoy

The secret to using decoys successfully is to keep them moving. Birds are smarter than you might think, and you might find them happily perched on top of your decoy if they figure out that it’s in the same spot day after day. 

6. Use A Repellent Gel

how to keep birds from nesting

Another great alternative that works in much the same way as bird spikes, is bird repellent gel. This long-lasting, sticky gel can be applied using a standard caulking gun and should last for a year or two. Birds will not land on this stuff because of how sticky it is, but fortunately, it is not toxic or dangerous for them. 

7. Cover up windows

One of the most common complaints about birds involves their habit of pecking at windows. Not only is this loud and annoying, but it can also be distressing when the birds seem to be injuring themselves. 

Birds also tend to make a bit of a mess on the window itself and leave a lot of droppings on the windowsill. The key to stopping this behavior is to understand why it happens.

Why do birds peck windows?

Birds peck windows because they can see their own reflection and think there is an intruder in their territory. This behavior is usually performed by just a single bird or a pair, and in my experience, usually lasts just a few days or weeks at a time. 

The best way to solve this problem is to cover the window with something that will prevent reflection. This works best if done from the outside, but if that’s not possible, covering the window from the inside with a light-colored material can be helpful too. Putting something like a sheet over the mirrors on your car can be an easy fix.   

8. Try A Sound Emitter

Some people have had success using sound to deter birds. There are some great electronic bird repellers on the market that are easy to use and might just be the solution to your bird problem. These devices work by emitting natural sounds like the calls made by predators or by prey animals in distress. 

FAQs

What home remedy keeps birds away?

A homemade bird repellent spray made from a mixture of peppers, chili powder, cinnamon, and oils like citronella oil and peppermint oil can help keep birds away. Another recipe that is said to be effective is a mix of lemon oil, peppermint oil, apple cider vinegar, and water. You can apply this mixture using a spray bottle. 

What is the best bird deterrent?

The best bird deterrent is a physical barrier keeping birds away from whatever it is you are trying to protect. A lot of the time this just isn’t practical though so the next best thing is a combination of the tips mentioned in this article. Don’t be disheartened if something doesn’t work at first, keep adjusting your strategy until you find the right solution. 

What scent will keep birds away?

Birds are said to dislike the smell of strong spices, garlic, and essential oils like lemon, peppermint, and citronella. Making a bird repellent spray with these ingredients can be helpful. 

How do I keep birds off my patio?

There are a number of different ways to keep birds off patios. Hanging up a few reflectors is a good way to start, although a predator decoy or spike strips, or a combination of all three may be necessary. It is also a good idea to close up any holes or cavities to stop from nesting there. 

Final Thoughts

If you’re having a bird problem, try these 8 great tips on how to keep birds away. Although any one of these techniques on its own might not be enough to solve your problem, a combination of these methods will give you a great chance. Good luck and remember to go easy on our feathered friends!

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