Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Visual Bird Deterrents

Visual bird deterrents use motion, bright colors, light flashes, reflections and frightening decoys as their primary means of bird pest control.  This class of bird control products takes advantage of most birds’ aversion to sudden movements, unusual sights, predators, flashes of light and humans.  Visual bird scarers are probably the most abundant devices in the scarecrow business, as compared to auditoryphysical and chemical deterrents.  Most integrated devices utilize a visual element and may be more effective because of it.
Traditional, Wizard of Oz type scarecrows fall into the visual category because they make use of a bird’s natural instinct to fear humans.  The wildly popular scare eye or terror eye balloons consist a simple cost effective design.  Birds are thought to be frightened by contrasting red, yellow and black color schemes.  The terror eye balloon uses these colors in a format that resembles a hawk or eagle eye, natural bird predators.  These small “beach ball” scarers can be used just about anywhere and have been found to be effective at scaring birds.

Angry_Hawk_Prototype2.jpgAnother low cost visual scarer is flash or holographic tape, often known as bird scare flash tape.  It can be hung from branches and structures, reflecting sunlight to deter birds.  Flashy windmills are also effective to a degree.  There are a whole host of other products available that use reflection of sunlight or artificial light to provide a bird scare factor. offers several reflective visual deterrents, including the Predator Feather and the Angry Hawk.  Both of these also use motion for added visual scaring capacity.  The Predator Feather flutters in the wind while the Angry Hawk is a rotating wind turbine design incorporating a menacing hawk face with contrasting color schemes.  There are also reflective, rotating pyramid devices that use a motor to continuously rotate the bird control device.  Flashing strobe lights and lasers are also on the market.
Predator decoys provide a visual bird scare impact as well.  Owl look-a-likes are available at local hardware stores.  Hawk, snake, alligator, fox and coyote decoys are offered as well.  These should not be overused or left in view for long periods of time as birds quickly habituate (get used) to them.
Kites are a unique visual bird deterrent.  Jackites are available in predator bird formats and “fly” realistically in light to moderate winds.  They are tethered and require minimal attention during use.  Helikites hover high in the sky, scaring birds from a large radius.  The Helikite combines a kite and small helium balloon.
pie-pan-garden-scarecrow.JPGThe Dori Pole is a unique bird scarer that double as a beautiful lawn decoration.  It flutters and flows in the breeze, deterring birds from golf courses and boat docks.

There are a few Do-It-Yourself (DIY) bird control devices that are excellent for garden bird control.  Old CDs and DVDs are highly reflective and can be hung from a string to allow them to rotate in the wind.  The Pie Pan Scarecrow is easily made from an aluminum pie pan, nail, wooden stake and a bit of string.   This popular DIY scarer not only rotates and flashes sunlight all around, but also provides an auditory factor as well as it bangs against the post.
All of the visual bird deterrents should be used sparingly, as should most other deterrent types.  If any of them are left out on a continuous basis, pest birds will get used to the device or tactic over a period of days or weeks and eventually not be scared by them.  It is important to use deterrents only when needed or while the bird problem persists.  They should also be moved to differing positions frequently (every few days) to keep the problem birds on edge and leery of the scarer.  When the problem ceases or your crops are all harvested, put the deterrents away until they are needed again.  They may be brought out from time to time for added bird control effectiveness. 
Visual deterrents can be effective if used properly and in a situation or setting that is conducive to their use.  Some birds, of course, are more susceptible to visual scaring than others. offers several visual bird scare devices.  Check out our products page to browse our wide array of products.