Although most birds can be considered majestic creatures, and it’s a joy having them around as pets, some species, such as pigeons, crows, starlings or woodpeckers are quite harmful when it comes to your home and garden. Depending on the species, they can affect and damage your home by leaving corrosive droppings, damaging crops, spreading disease or they can just be annoying if they are nesting in your yard in a large number.
The first step in knowing how to get rid of them is to identify what type of birds you are dealing with; as different repelling methods are more efficient depending on the specie. Keep in mind that some species are protected by law, so you need to investigate what are the steps you can take and what deterring measures you can apply, in accordance to these protective laws.
How to repel birds
Different forms of repellents are used to scare birds or to make roosting areas uncomfortable. The most common bird repellents are:
- Tactile chemical repellents, such as gels and aerosol insecticides, are nontoxic to birds and create an uncomfortable, warming sensation on birds’ feet or bodies, rendering landing sites undesirable.
- Mechanical repellents include bird spikes, bird wire, and toothed repellent strips which are installed on ledges, light fixtures, or any other flat surfaces where birds would land.
- Taste repellents are nontoxic aerosol insecticides applied to crops to make the fruit, grain, or bean unpalatable to pest birds.
- Sound repellents are mechanical devices that emit distress calls or sirens to frighten and disperse birds. These are most effective in areas like crop fields, warehouses, and food plants rather than urban areas (where birds are accustomed to various sounds).
- Visual repellents usually mimic predators to scare birds away from a particular area. Visual deterrents should be moved frequently to remain effective.
The first step in repelling birds is detecting what attracts them to your property. As with any other pest, the main method of removing intruders is by removing their food or shelter source. It will be a lot easier to keep the birds away if you discard of anything that could be a lure for them. You can make your home inhospitable for birds by following the below steps:
- remove any type of open water sources;
- store trash securely locked, and make sure the can does not overfill;
- cover and contain all compost, as open compost is a great food source, especially for crows
- place a flexible bird net over your crops, as to avoid having crows attack your crops for food, but also allowing smaller birds that feed on insects, access;
- eliminate nesting areas, by trimming dead branches from trees;
- install bird spikes on roof lines and fences.
Regular Price: €61.62€44.96
Get rid of:
Type of effect:
- Ezflex Co.
Get rid of:
Type of effect:
- Frowein 808
Regular Price: €7.9€4.05
Get rid of:
Type of effect:
- Free Shipping€235.13
- Bird Barrier
Get rid of:
Different deterring methods depending on the bird specie
The main issue when it comes to pigeons is the amount of droppings they produce and how these affect roofs, monuments and public spaces. The level of uric acid in their droppings causes damage to the finish on buildings and automobiles and can also contain several fungi and bacteria that can be harmful to humans. Their faeces can attract vermin, such as mice, rats, and flies, will stain the underlying surface and create a lot of nuisance for you.
The best method of deterring pigeons is by installing anti-roosting spike strips. They can be placed just about anywhere where a bird would want to perch on, such as fences, roofs lines or window sills. You can also use sticky chemicals that will make it uncomfortable for birds to perch on the areas where you apply them. These can be in the form of transparent bird gel, which is a non-toxic substance, that does not disrupt the natural look of windows or trees, like bird spikes do. It just makes the surface it is applied on uncomfortable, and thus, the pigeons will avoid establishing a nesting site there.
You can also use peppers or cinnamon sprinkled in the places where you can see pigeons roosting, as this is something they do not like and will keep them away. Although, this is something you need to repeat, as after a powerful rain, there will be no trace of these spices and pigeons may return. The best way of keeping them at bay is to apply multiple deterring methods, as this will ensure they will find your yard inhospitable and relocate.
After getting rid of them, make sure you exclude pigeons from returning or from entering smaller places, by closing off entrances to places such as vents or the attic. You can use plastic strips or wire mesh to fill in large openings and doors. You can also amend ledges and flat surfaces by sloping them. This will make roosting more difficult and will discourage pigeons from building a nest as well. By sealing the edges of places where birds nest, such as barns and warehouses, you can close of the space above the rafters where pigeons roost and nest. You can do this with hardware cloth and silicon caulk or plastic bird netting in smaller places, or in large open structures, you can use industrial bird netting. At all cost, avoid feeding the pigeons, as this will only make them consider it is ok to return. As they do have long memories when it comes to food sources, try to avoid having them associate your property to a place where they can easily find food.
Food sources for pigeons can include grass seed, berries, and dog or cat food left outside. Try not to constantly put seed on a lawn if the seed isn’t germinating. Eliminating or controlling their access to the source of food will reduce the number of pigeons. Also scaring them off can do the trick. You can either spray them with a water hose, use reflective features, noise devices or foil balloons to try and scare them away. Use plastic statues that realistically resemble birds of prey, such as owls or hawks, but keep in mind that once the pigeons get used to the presence of these statues, they might starts to ignore them. Ultrasonic devices can also be used to deter pigeons, keeping in mind that there are different settings and frequencies that can be used for different animals.
Alongside the elimination of food and water sources, to the bird spikes applied and the transparent gel used, in order to deter crows, you can also reduce outdoor lighting, as they tend to congregate in well lit areas at night. Be prepared when winter comes, as the crows are migratory birds and they typically choose roosting grounds in early winter. Disrupt them in the evening as this will prevent them from spending the night in your yard. As they tend to look for a safe place right before dusk, if your scare them away, they will relocate and look for shelter elsewhere.
You can also scare them away with scarecrows, fake Halloween props or fake owls and snakes, however, crows will eventually learn the difference between a live and fake one, so this is not a long term option. By using shiny objects such as reflective tape, old CD’s or aluminium pans or foil, you will be able to deter crows as they easily get startled by moving shiny objects. You can hang these on poles or make a fence around your property with the reflective tape.
Crows are also easily frightened by loud noises. Although this method is impractical in urban areas, if you are dealing with a crow infestation and you live in a house or better yet, own a farm, you can use noise cannons, air horns or even small firecrackers to keep the crows away.
Starlings and sparrows
These birds usually cause problems around farms and where crops are involved. Farms often attract starlings, but the birds can also eat your livestock feed and spread disease to your animals. Using feed and feeding methods that do not attract starlings can help keep the birds off of your farm. In order to avoid starlings and sparrows being attracted to your property, provide either granular feed or large pellets that are more difficult for starlings to eat. Also, do not place the feed directly on the ground, but use bird-proof feeders or feed the animals in covered areas, such as inside a barn or in the evening, after dark. If you do have bird feeders meant for smaller birds, you can protect them by placing a cage or netting around the feeders, in order to keep the starlings out, cut perches very short so that only smaller birds can perch on your feeders, and do not put birdseed directly on the ground. To deter starlings from your property, you also need to limit standing water levels, in order to give them the least amount of access to a water source as well.
By spraying food sources with anti-bird aerosol insecticide, you can keep crops such as grapes or berries safe. Garlic oil can be used, but also methyl anthranilate acts as a bird repellent, as it is a food-grade and can be used to protect corn, sunflowers, rice, fruit, and golf courses. Other ways of protecting your crops is by using netting that is to small for starlings to penetrate. You can cover your orchards with it, as it will still allow sunlight and less invasive birds through. Keep in mind that you need to maintain the netting, as possible holes will let the starlings get through. Starlings prefer thin trees in densely forested areas, as they like to nest where the trees are close together. For a long-term solution to deter the birds, consider thinning the trees on your property. Install deterrent spikes on roosting areas such as ledges, roofs or fences, and also install angled boards on ledges, as they will keep the birds from roosting there, due to the uncomfortable angle.
Starlings and sparrows can also be frightened away with the help of sound machines. A variety of sounds such as alarms, distressed bird recordings or sounds of explosions can do the trick, or you can also use noise cannons, aimed at the areas where starlings prefer to nest. Visual scare tactics such as reflective items or flashing lights can also be effective, but be sure to move them from time to time, so that the birds do not become too used to them, and start ignoring them instead.
As with all the other bird species, the best and most effective way of deterring them from your property, is by combining different repellents at the same time. By combining multiple methods, you can assure that you are covering all the areas and you are making your property undesirable to birds, from every point of view. This will not only enable them to relocate, but also mark your yard and garden as a place where food and water are scarce, so they will avoid returning as well.
Once the bird population decreases, you can also start removing nests, in order to encourage them to believe that your home is not a safe place for them to build a shelter. As with any other pests, sanitation is always the most important component of any pest control program. Sanitation efforts for bird pest control are most effective when birds are finding food and water at the nesting or roosting site. By constantly removing these, you will have a chance of deterring the birds away. By exclusion methods and the alteration of their possible habitat, you will further eliminate chances of birds taking over your property. However, keep in mind that even after you manage to eliminate the undesired infestation, prevention methods are mandatory. As some species of birds have a long memory when it comes to food sources, or even younger generations can try their luck to take over your crops, you will need to constantly keep them in check and make sure they do not prevail. More details about preventing such infestations can be found in our related article “Prevent infestations with birds“.