Birds are beautiful creatures that we often enjoy seeing outside our homes and places of business. However, sometimes birds can become a nuisance when they gather in large numbers, make noise, leave droppings everywhere, damage property, or pose health risks. While we may enjoy seeing the occasional bird, an infestation of them on your property is not ideal.
When birds become a problem, it’s understandable that property owners would want to find humane ways to deter them and reclaim their space. Implementing some simple bird removal techniques can make the areas around your home or business less inviting to problematic flocks. With a few easy tips, you can prevent future bird issues and enjoy your outdoor spaces again without constant cleanup or noise disruptions.
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Use Bird Spikes
Bird spikes are a simple and effective way to deter birds from landing and nesting in unwanted areas. They consist of bunches of stiff plastic or stainless steel spikes that are affixed to ledges, beams, signs, and other surfaces. The spikes are angled and sharp enough to make it impossible for birds to gain a foothold on the surface. However, they do not actually pierce the birds’ feet – they simply discourage landing in the first place.
Bird spikes work by removing stable horizontal surfaces that birds need to perch or nest. Pigeons, seagulls, crows, starlings and other nuisance birds cannot find a comfortable footing on the spikes. Existing nests can be disrupted and deterred with the installation of bird spikes. Over time, birds will abandon areas outfitted with spikes and seek alternative roosting grounds.
Bird spike systems can be purchased in ready-to-install kits or as individual components which allow for custom coverage of any surface. Kits contain baseplates, spikes, and fasteners for attachment to the substrate. Stainless steel spikes are extremely durable for outdoor use. Plastic spike systems are more affordable for temporary solutions or indoor use. Proper installation is key – the spikes must be dense enough and cover sufficient surface area to fully deter birds. When properly implemented, bird spikes provide a humane and ecological solution to bird problems. They require minimal maintenance compared to other deterrents like sound or chemical repellents. Bird spikes also have a sleek, modern appearance and can even enhance architecture aesthetically.
Use Sounds to Deter Birds
Birds rely heavily on their sense of hearing to detect danger and communicate. Certain sounds can mimic predator calls and deter birds from an area.
Loud noises from recordings of predatory animals like hawks, owls, coyotes or foxes can frighten birds away. Make sure the sounds are played randomly to prevent birds from becoming accustomed to them. Motion-activated devices are effective for automatic random playbacks.
Ultrasonic repellers also produce sounds undetectable to humans that irritate birds and make them avoid the area. However, their effectiveness is debated, as some birds may become habituated over time or cannot hear the high frequencies. It’s best to use ultrasonic devices in combination with other deterrents.
Other sounds like bells, clanging pots, or mimicking bird alarm calls can temporarily annoy birds too. Just be careful not to create excessive noise pollution for neighbors. Rotate different sounds to maximize effectiveness.
The key is using unpredictable sounds at random intervals to mimic predator calls and make your property an uncomfortable environment for birds. This is a humane way to discourage roosting and nesting without harming birds.
Use Visual Deterrents to Scare Birds Away
Birds rely heavily on their excellent vision to detect danger and find food. You can take advantage of this by using visual deterrents that mimic movement or flashes of light to make an area look unsafe to birds.
Shiny objects like old CDs, metallic streamers, pinwheels, and strips of flashing foil can be highly effective bird deterrents. The sunlight reflecting off these moving objects creates flashes of light and motion that birds find startling. Hang these visual deterrents in trees, gardens, patios, or other areas where birds are unwanted. The glints of light and movement will make it look like something unknown and potentially dangerous is occupying that space. Most birds will avoid going near.
Scarecrows are another classic visual bird deterrent. Place a fake human figure made of straw in your yard or garden areas. Move the scarecrow to a new spot every few days so it looks like a strange creature that moves around. The unfamiliar shape and movement will frighten birds away. You can also try realistic fake predators like snakes, owls, or hawks. Place them in different lifelike poses around your property. The presence of a potential predator, even an artificial one, sends birds a clear warning.
By utilizing these types of easy, inexpensive visual deterrents, you can trick birds into thinking your property is unsafe without having to use any harmful methods. The illusion of movement and unknown shapes/figures tapping into birds’ natural wariness is often enough to keep them away for good.
Install Bird Netting
Bird netting is an effective way to physically block birds from getting to areas where they are not wanted. Netting can be installed over entryways, patios, gardens, eaves, rafters, and any other spots birds may try to access or nest. The netting creates a physical barrier that makes it impossible for birds to land or roost.
There are a few things to consider when installing bird netting:
- Use a small mesh size of 1⁄2 to 1 inch so birds cannot get their heads or feet caught in it. Plastic or nylon netting works well.
- Make sure the netting is taut with no sagging areas where birds could get underneath. Use proper supports like hooks, eye screws, zip ties, etc to keep the netting tight.
- Extend the netting well beyond the area you want to protect, at least 3-4 feet further than any landing spots. Birds will try to land on the netting and climb underneath if they can.
- Maintain the netting and check for any holes or gaps where birds could get through. Replace any areas that are degraded.
- For gardens and ponds, erect netting structures or canopies to allow easy access underneath while still deterring birds above ground.
Properly installed bird netting can eliminate roosting, nesting, feeding, and entry by birds. It is a humane and effective physical barrier. Professionals can provide guidance on selecting and properly implementing bird netting for optimal deterrence.
Scare Birds Away
Your presence alone can be enough to scare birds away from an area. Birds tend to be skittish, especially around humans. Simply spending more time in an area where birds are roosting or feeding may encourage them to find a new location.
You can also implement scare tactics to frighten birds away. Putting up scarecrows, fake snakes, fake owls, or other fake predators can scare birds from an area. The birds will see these fake predators and want to avoid the area. You can also bang pots and pans together or make other loud noises to startle birds and encourage them to leave. Hanging aluminum pie pans or reflective tape that moves in the wind can also scare birds since the noise and motion frightens them.
Scare tactics are most effective when you change them up regularly. Birds can become used to a fake owl or other deterrent if it remains in the same place for too long. Switch up the location of your scare tactics and use different options to keep birds on their toes. Consistency is key to effectively scaring birds away for good.
Clean Up Food Sources
Birds are naturally attracted to food sources, so eliminating access to food is an effective way to deter birds from an area. Make sure not to leave any food scraps, seeds, berries, or pet food outside that could attract birds.
Clean up any spilled bird seed, dropped food items, or leftover pet food on the ground. Use trash cans and bins with tight, secure lids to prevent birds from scavenging for scraps. Don’t leave pet food bowls outside for prolonged periods of time.
Bird feeders are a major food source that will attract birds to yards. Avoid using bird feeders or move them away from the areas you want to keep bird-free. Clean underneath bird feeders regularly to prevent accumulation of fallen seeds and food debris.
Fruit-bearing trees and berry bushes provide natural food sources for birds. Remove any overripe or rotting fruit from trees and bushes so it doesn’t attract birds. Consider covering fruit trees with netting to prevent birds from eating the fruit.
Make sure there are no easily accessible sources of standing water, which can attract birds looking for drinking water. Dump and refresh birdbaths frequently. Drain gutters and drains where water collects.
By eliminating all potential food sources, birds will have no reason to flock to that area in search of their next meal. A clean area means birds will look elsewhere for their food.
Block Roosting Spots
Birds are intelligent creatures and will seek out sheltered areas to roost and build nests. They prefer spots that provide cover from the elements and protection from predators. Some prime real estate for birds includes:
To deter birds from roosting on your property, you need to block access to these areas. This can be done by:
- Installing bird spikes on ledges and overhangs
- Trimming back tree branches and bushes near buildings
- Removing bird nests and blocking holes where birds enter
- Putting up screens or netting over alcoves and crevices
- Sealing gaps in exteriors with caulk or weather stripping
- Ensuring signs and awnings are tightly fitted with no space behind
By eliminating protected nesting spots, you remove the main incentive for birds to roost on your property. This disruption along with other deterrents will encourage them to look elsewhere. Be diligent in identifying and sealing up potential bird roosts during nesting season. Persistence is key to successfully blocking them from settling in.
Certain smells can help deter birds from an area. Birds have a strong sense of smell, and there are certain scents that they find unpleasant or alarming. Using repellents is an easy, non-toxic way to discourage birds from frequenting your property.
Some effective options for bird repellents include:
- Methyl anthranilate – This is a non-toxic chemical that smells like grapes to birds. It’s made from Concord grapes and acts as an irritant to birds, causing them discomfort but no real harm. Methyl anthranilate can be found in both liquid and gel forms for easy application.
- Essential oils – Oils like peppermint, eucalyptus, lavender, and lemon oil contain smells that birds don’t like. Try mixing a few drops of these oils with water in a spray bottle. Spray around areas where birds frequent to send them away.
- Garlic – The strong smell of garlic irritates birds’ sensitive olfactory systems. Chop up some garlic and sprinkle it around problem areas, or make a garlic spray by brewing chopped garlic in hot water. Reapply new garlic regularly.
- Hot pepper – Birds have an aversion to capsaicin, the chemical found in hot peppers that gives them heat. Grind up spicy peppers like habaneros or jalapeños into a powder and sprinkle it where birds roost or feed. You can also use hot sauce for a similar effect.
Repellents are often most effective when used along with other deterrent methods like netting or motion-activated sprinklers. Rotate different repellents frequently so birds don’t become accustomed to any one smell. With patience and persistence, you can train pesky birds to avoid your space.
When to Call a Professional
While most bird issues can be addressed with simple deterrents and proofing tactics, more severe infestations may require professional help. Here are some signs it’s time to bring in the experts:
- Large flocks that don’t seem fazed by deterrents. If you’re dealing with more than a dozen birds that won’t leave, a professional wildlife control company may be needed. They have access to stronger repellents and exclusion tactics.
- Nests in hard-to-reach areas. Birds that nest high up on buildings, dense trees, or other tricky spots can be difficult and dangerous to deal with yourself. Professionals have the right equipment and training for nest removal and prevention.
- Health hazards. Excessive bird droppings, nests near air vents, and dead birds can create health risks. Biohazard cleanup and disinfection may be needed in addition to removing the birds.
- Property damage. From pecking shingles to nesting in gutters, birds can cause costly damage. Professional prevention and repairs are likely necessary in these cases.
- Persistent issues over time. If gentle deterrents aren’t working and the birds keep returning, stronger measures are required. Professionals can identify exactly where the birds are entering and seal up access points.
Don’t wait until a small bird problem turns into a big headache. Reach out to wildlife control experts if DIY tactics aren’t resolving the bird issue in a timely manner. They have the tools and knowledge to humanely and permanently evict problematic birds from your property.