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15 Tips on How to Keep Birds Away [Humanely]


When you see birds soar and hear them sing, it’s easy to feel at peace. But it’s a whole other story when they’ve invaded your home. 

It can feel tiresome and hopeless when fighting with birds’ corrosive droppings, their tendency to ruin harvests, or disrupting territorial nesting behavior.

The good news is that you can do a lot to keep birds away. Here are our best tips on how to keep birds away from your property.

1. Install a bird repelling flying kite

If you want to detract birds from laying a single feather on your property, you’ll want to install something that will scare them away even from a distance. 

In that respect, a bird repelling flying kite is the best way to keep birds away. Set it up on a windy day and it will soar over your property. With such a large and strange flying thing standing guard, the befeathered pests would not dare risk flying anywhere remotely close to it.

So if you want to keep birds off the fence, keep birds away from the car or keep birds off the mailbox without needing to install anything on them, this is a good option. With the kite flying high above, birds won’t soar overhead and drop their poop into your property and belongings. 

For this method to be effective, it is best to use a kite that is large, vividly colored, and reflects light. The size not only makes it visible from afar but also makes birds think twice about approaching something so much bigger than them. 

Unnaturally bright colors with high contrast make kites stand out from the surrounding. Sudden flashes of light from reflected sun rays can blind and disorient birds, making them steer clear of the kite itself.

You might think that any old children’s kite will do, but there is value in picking the ones especially made to scare off birds. These may have eye patterns that mimic predators, making it seem like an impossibly huge bird of prey is standing guard over your property.

2. Implement bird roosting spikes

Birds get tired of flying and rest on ledges, balconies, fences, walls, or anything they can grip easily. If your home has a lot of these surfaces, then expect lots of birds to stop by often. 

So if you’re wondering what you can do to stop birds perching, we have a very good option for you: bird roosting spikes. 

These can be installed on any surface these feathery visitors might fancy resting on. 

They come in segments with rods sticking out. Birds won’t enjoy trying to balance themselves on prickly surfaces just to rest, so they’ll fly off to find better alternatives.

Bird roosting spikes work best on larger birds who won’t be able to properly grip the thin rods. It should be placed on multiple areas in your home, so they’ll be forced to go elsewhere. 

Installation is easy. Just measure the surfaces where you want to stop birds from roosting and figure out how much space you want in between segments. The more space in between, the more area you cover with fewer segments. 

But note that they shouldn’t be too far apart; otherwise, you leave a space for birds to rest. Once installed, maintenance will mostly consist of picking out the debris stuck in between the rods.

3. Install a motion activated sprinkler

If you want to find out how to get rid of birds effectively without hurting them, you should try getting a motion-activated sprinkler.

Birds fly off at the slightest sign of danger, and an unexpected shower of water coming out from seemingly nowhere is more than enough to make them scared. 

But if the water is what keeps birds away, won’t spraying them with it drive your water bill up?

That’s where the “motion-activated” part comes in. The water spray to keep birds away only comes out when the sensor detects movement.

It’s best to buy a motion-activated sprinkler that has adjustable settings so you can customize how sensitive you want it to be and how far you want the water to reach. 

This way, you can avoid wasting water every time the wind blows and or get an unwanted shower as you’re walking through the garden path.

Remember that when using this method, choosing the right product is only half of the solution. The other half lies in positioning. It’s best to tilt the sensor upwards, so it detects the movement of birds in flight. 

4. Scare birds with a sonic cannon

The crack of a gunshot is one of the ways to scare birds away, but this practice is now frowned upon because stray bullets are dangerous. But there is a way to achieve the same effect without accidentally hurting someone or something, and that is the sonic cannon.

This sonic cannon is a propane-powered device that blasts booming sounds at random. There are adjustable settings to how often you want it to sound. 

For example, if you choose the 1-10 minute setting, the first two booms might be spaced a minute apart, then the next one 4 minutes later, and the one after that 9 minutes later. This randomized setting prevents birds and other pests from getting accustomed to booms at regular intervals.

sound wave iillustration

The 130-decibels loud blasts are enough to make birds take flight from up to 10 acres away. It’s also a great bird nest prevention method because birds wouldn’t want to raise their young in such a stressful environment. 

Note, however, that the sound is extremely loud and quite shocking, so it’s best used in large open areas rather than a small backyard in a neighborhood. If you need to adjust the settings, make sure to wear ear protection. 

These are built to be used outside, so they require minimal maintenance. It’s best to set this up at an elevated area so the sound can travel across the property. Wear ear protection, adjust the settings, and turn it on. 

5. Remove food sources

The best way to get rid of birds is to get rid of what they’re visiting your house for. And more often than not, it’s because your home inadvertently serves an avian eat-all-you-can-buffet.

You’ll need to know a little more about your unwanted visitors to use this tip. Identifying the birds, hopefully down to the species level, will give you an idea of what they’re after. 

There are some avian species that eat plant material, such as grain and fruits. 

Others snack on insects like grasshoppers, mosquitoes, flies, or worms. Birds of prey are attracted to places with small songbirds, poultry, or small animals like squirrels or rats.

It also helps to observe the birds and find out where in your home they tend to congregate. Follow the cookie-crumb trail and you’ll eventually find out where the food is coming from. 

If you find that the birds are visiting your berry bushes and fruit trees, you can install netting to prevent access. 

If they’re attracted by buzzing insects, you can use environment-friendly insecticides or electric zappers to rid yourself of the pests. If the birds are hunting down rats that scavenge your trash, secure the garbage. 

6. Use a scarecrow owl decoy

Among the best ways to keep birds away is to make them think your property is a dangerous place for them to stay. If they think that a predator lives in your home, you can be sure they’ll stake clear of it.

A scarecrow owl decoy works best because owls are public enemy number 1 for bird species that usually infest homes. Because owls can also fly, bird species are warier of them than land animal predators.

If you want to use owl decoys to scare birds away, make sure that the product you buy looks and acts like the real thing. It’s best to use one that is lifesize, 3D, and colored realistically.

A good feature would be flashing red eyes as that closely mimics the physical appearance of a live owl during the night. 

Many owl decoys have a mechanism that allows them to create sudden, erratic movements. Whether it uses battery power, solar power, or the wind, a good owl decoy should move unpredictably to scare the bird away.

But no matter how realistic your fake owl is, birds won’t stay scared when they start realizing that the owl in your home stays put. Be sure to move around your owl decoy every 2-3 days to effectively scare birds away.

7. Install bird shock tape on roosting areas

Another effective way to stop birds from roosting is to install perching surfaces with bird shock tape. To use this method, you will not only need bird shock tape but a bird shock tape charger as well. 

The tape is installed similar to your office double-sided tape: unroll, peel off the paper covering the adhesive, and smooth onto the surface. 

The difference is that bird shock tape has metal leads to conduct electricity from. It will get that electricity from the charger. When birds land on the tape, they will experience a sudden, mild shock that will immediately send them flying away. 

electric fence string

Bird shock tape can be used to stop birds perching and keep birds from nesting on anything with a flat surface, be it pipes, tops of walls, or roof shingles. 

The tape is often transparent after removal of the adhesive covering, so it’s hardly noticeable. Make sure to install this where there isn’t much human foot traffic and out of reach for children and pets.

But take note that this method should be used only if you are sure that the birds infesting your home are not protected by state laws. Harming certain birds, particularly migratory ones, may cost you a pretty penny and then some.

8. Scare birds away with lasers

If you’re wondering what will keep birds away, a good rule of thumb is to use anything that moves weirdly and seems unnatural. 

Birds don’t like things that they can’t make heads or tails of, and thankfully, humans have made a lot of things that fall into that category.

Bird deterrent lasers are a prime example. Bird repellent lasers make birds go away because little moving pinpoints of light moving in an unpredictable manner don’t exist in nature. 

Since they’re not familiar to birds, birds will assume that they’re dangerous and fly off elsewhere. 

So if you want to keep birds away from the house during the night, simply plug in the laser device and point it towards where they like to hang out. They can shoot light from up to 12 square feet, so position it strategically. 

Laser lights show up best in complete darkness, so avoid placing it near the glow of your outdoor lamps. These items usually have a variety of settings that allow you to adjust how long each light show lasts to help minimize electrical costs. 

9. Use ultrasonic bird repellent devices

If you want to keep birds away from patio, keep birds away from porch, or keep birds off deck without any jarring visual reminder that you’re battling with a bird infestation, you should try getting an ultrasonic bird repellent device. 

Instead of relying on bird-frightening visual cues, this method takes advantage of the sensitivity of the avian sense of hearing. 

Birds can hear frequencies above that detectable by human ears. These devices emit ultrasonic sounds that are irritating to a bird’s ear openings, making it very effective at scaring birds away.

Among the ways to scare birds away is to use a device that emits predator sounds and bird distress calls. In the same way that you wouldn’t hang around a place where you could hear growling or screaming, birds wouldn’t stay too long in an area where they can hear danger. 

Ultrasonic bird repellent devices are easy to install. If you want to keep birds off patio, simply hang it in a strategic area, plug it, and turn it on. 

If you want to keep birds away from swimming pool, drive the mounting pole into the ground nearby. Just make sure that the sensor is facing the area from which the bird approaches so it can trigger the sound.

10. Apply liquid bird repellent

If you’re desperate to find out how to keep birds away from the parts of your home where you and your family like to hang out, then consider using a non-toxic liquid bird repellent. 

This bird repellent spray makes use of natural substances that give off smells birds don’t like. It uses methyl anthranilate, a bitter and pungent substance extracted from concord grapes. It smells like grape juice to us, but it’s bothersome to the trigeminal system of birds. 

It is used in grape-flavored make-up and food products and is also sprayed directly on commercially-grown crops to repel birds. The wide use of this naturally-derived product is a testament to its safety. 

There are other bird repellent sprays that are also non-toxic, but be sure to do your research to confirm their claims. 

It is important to patronize products that do not harm the environment, pets, humans, and birds themselves. Remember, the goal is to drive away birds, not to exterminate them.

To use a bird repellent spray, check the label to see if you can use it alone or if it should be mixed with water. Place in a spray bottle and spritz liberally. You can use this spray to keep birds from nesting on ledges and eaves. 

You can keep birds away from windows by applying this on the window panes. The smell is repulsive to birds and they will fly off immediately to avoid it. Just make sure to reapply every 3-4 days or after rain as the smell dissipates and gets washed off.

11. Remove all roosting options

We’ve talked about how to render your home unviable for perching with bird roosting spikes and bird shock tape, but we still haven’t covered the most important roosting spot of all: trees.

Tree branches make perfect perching spots for birds. They also have the advantage of providing cover against the sun and rain. 

But how do you keep birds out of trees? The simplest way is to keep your trees pruned and groomed. 

Trim branches and shape your trees to give less space for birds to roost and make nests. Remove ripe fruit and fallen fruit to give them less reason to perch on your trees. 

A well-manicured yard is in itself a bird deterrent. You also have the option to use netting to keep birds away from your trees and bushes. 

Install them over your trees, but make sure to leave at least 12 inches between the mesh and the tree on all sides so your feathered visitors can get to the branches at all. 

Buy bird netting from your local gardening store as these products are designed to withstand the elements.

12. Intimidate birds with reflection

Birds are easily frightened by anything that is sudden and unexpected, be it sounds or light. You can take advantage of the latter by using reflective surfaces to scare off birds. 

The idea is to place reflective surfaces outdoors where they can catch the sunlight as they move in the wind. The great thing about this method is that it’s very easy to DIY.

It can be as simple as placing old CDs, strips of foil, small mirrors, or store-bought reflective tape on a string and hanging it over your backyard like anti-bird banderitas.

If you want a more convenient and pretty option, you can use these reflective bird deterrent rods. The spiral form not only makes it easier to reflect light from multiple facets, but it also catches the breeze easily. 

No matter where the wind is coming from, these rods will twirl, reflecting light on all sides. The sudden flashes confuse and scare birds, making them fly away. 

If you want to keep birds away from the pool, simply install a string over the surface with these babies hanging down. They not only keep birds away but serve as fun outdoor decor. 

If you want a sleek anti-bird device, you can buy a spinning reflective bird deterrent. It acts much like a wind vane, except when it spins, it also reflects light to blind birds.

13. Block all openings on your property

If you want to get rid of unwanted birds nesting inside your attic, chimney, or shed, the first thing you need to do is to check if there are eggs or baby birds in the nest. 

If there are, it’s best to wait until the birds are fully grown and have left your building before enacting any measures. There are laws that protect the nests of certain birds, particularly migratory ones. 

More than that, evicting the mother will leave the babies hungry and defenseless. Once they’ve flown off, then you can block the openings. It’s important to find out how they got inside the structure. 

house with a green yard

Chances are, there are small holes they are able to fly in and out from. 

Once you’ve located the opening, install a one-way bird door that will allow any trapped birds to leave the premises but to block them from going back in. 

Leave it there for a few days to ensure your attic or shed is empty.

Once they’ve gone, seal the opening appropriately. Cracks in concrete can be filled in with copper wire and sealing foam. 

Board up holes or cracks in the wood. Install a chimney cap with fine mesh. This will not only get rid of nuisance birds but will also protect your home from insects and other pests.

14. Prevent birds from nesting

Bird nests can be unsightly and unsanitary, making it an unwanted feature in your home. 

And while you might want nothing more than to toss the nest in the trash and be done with it, there are many good reasons not to.

If you have existing nests, it’s best to wait for the eggs to hatch and chicks to mature before you touch them. 

There are strict laws against touching the active nests of certain migratory birds, but as a matter of principle, it would be best not to disturb any bird’s nest if they have youngsters in them.

metal fence

Once you’ve made sure the nest is empty and abandoned, you can remove the material. Make sure to wear gloves and a mask to protect yourself. 

Spray an anti-bacterial solution and allow it to dry before removing the materials. If there’s waste nearby, make sure to scrub it off, too, as that can be corrosive to certain building materials.

To avoid future nesting, prevent access to the area using bird netting. Install it on overhangs to protect eaves and other corners where they can comfortably build a nest. 

15. Call a professional

The easiest and most effective way to get rid of birds is to call in the professionals. It may not always be the cheapest option, but you definitely get bang for your buck. 

Remember that you are paying for the expertise and equipment that they have built up over years of servicing different households and getting rid of different pests.

Professional wildlife control companies can properly identify the birds infesting in your home and customize their bird control strategy according to that species’ specific feeding habits, nesting tendencies, and general behavior. 

Some methods work better on some species than others. By hiring professionals, you avoid wasting time and effort on methods and products that do not work on the particular bird that you want to get rid of. 

Make sure to pick a wildlife control company that is properly certified and is compliant with state laws that protect animals. 

Avoid those that use strong, toxic chemicals and traps that involve hurting birds. Be sure that the people you hire to chase birds away from your property are aligned with the values you hold about environmental protection and care. 


2 thoughts on “15 Tips on How to Keep Birds Away [Humanely]”

  1. Avatar

    The best way to keep birds out of your trees from chopping all night is to get a reflective owl that real cheap or tinfoil hang it in your tree or get the motion activated owl that hoots when they see a bird coming in the tree because birds are terrified of owls because I’ll kill them so that’s what we use in Louisiana to keep them out of our fruit trees and never had a issue with them and it’s humane and they won’t bother you ever get at night and at night the best thing to do is get like a solar light that’ll shine on it so we don’t still reflect you know what I mean so good luck hope it works for you

  2. Avatar

    In the past 2 years, our backyard bird feeders have been taken over by a small flock of cowbirds that force the other 20+ species of birds out. They seem to like the same foods as the others (safflower, and a standard mix of sunflower seeds and small seeds), but perhaps customizing this is a possible approach. I’m also wondering about setting up something like mild electro-shock on the feeders that I could turn on when only the cowbirds are present, to deter them from returning. We go out onto the patio to chase them off a dozen times a day, but they return within less than a minute!

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