Bird deterrents can be an effective solution to prevent birds from landing, roosting, or nesting in unwanted areas. They work by creating an unpleasant or intimidating environment through visual and audible cues,
It's important to note that most deterrents are ineffective if birds are already nesting, and in many cases, it would be deemed illegal to deter birds from a nest if not covered by a license.
The effectiveness of manufactured visual and audio bird deterrents varies depending on the species of bird, the time of year, and their behaviour towards a predator being present. Other factors to be mindful of are the distances between the deterrent and the pest birds, and with audio deterrents the presence of other sources of noise in the area. Most bird deterrents with an established bird problem lose their effectiveness over time as the birds become accustomed to the deterrents, rendering them less effective.
Before you purchase or have a deterrent installed have a read our guide below.
Manufactured Visual bird deterrents - work by creating a visual light disturbance or by installing an item that imitates the presence of a predator. making birds anxious.
Reflective tapes or ribbons – Works by reflecting and distorting bright sunlight and crackling as the wind passes over it making the birds uneasy. This deterrent works in loafing areas and has an effective range of 2 to 10 meters from the deterrent. This deterrent has little effect on established roosting and nesting bird sites. The sunlight that makes the tape effective also degrades the tape so will need replacing at least once every 12 months.
Effectiveness 2* cost 4* ease of installation 4* ongoing maintenance 2*
Predator eyes - are made of heavy-duty vinyl and filled with helium with reflective eyes on both sides, The eyes give the effect the birds are being watched from any angle creating an intimidating environment for birds. This deterrent works in loafing areas very well and with multiple units can work in established roosting and feeding areas. Each unit has an effective range of about 12 meters on either side of the deterrent when installed at its optimal height. Sunlight degrades its effectiveness they also need to be moved to a new location every couple of months, Strong winds can break the tethering and the balloons cannot be installed above 60 meters or within 5 kilometres of an airport.
Effectiveness 3* Cost 4* ease of installation 4* ongoing maintenance 3*
Hawk kites – should be installed on a long pole set at an angle above the area to be controlled, the kite resembles a bird of prey when they are twisting and turning and floating on the wind. The kites are very effective at dispersing many types of birds including gulls even on nesting sites. They are quite high maintenance in windy areas, as they need to be taken down in winds above 25 mph and are ineffective when winds are below 3 mph, they can also become tangled, so need to be inspected daily. Effectiveness 4* Cost 3* ease of installation 4* ongoing maintenance 2*
Statue Decoys - normally made of plastic and resemble a life-like predator. All though they can look very real the lack of movement allows birds to work out they are no threat very quickly. It is recommended they are moved to a new location every 2 to 3 days but if installed on a ledge they needed to be glued in place. In our opinion, it is not advisable to use these decoys if an established problem exists.
Effectiveness 1* Cost 4* ease of installation 5* ongoing maintenance 2*
Electronic bird scarers can use a combination of sounds, lights, and movement to scare birds away these can be set up for different species and the very modern ones only activate when pest birds are present, making it harder for the birds to habituate to them.
Lasers – are becoming more common in their use to deter a wide range of birds, however many of them are targeted at non-professional use and only effective in low light conditions making them ineffective for birds like pigeons that are active in the daytime these are all handheld devices. However, Avix lasers are a professional use system with a military-grade laser output making them effective even for daytime use. Avix lasers have a handheld and a mounted system, both project a green light that birds find a threat when it approaches them. There has been no reported habituation to lasers, but it is less effective at dispersing birds when they are nesting. The laser does not harm the birds in any way. Click to read more
Effectiveness 4* Cost 3* ease of installation 1* must be installed or used by a qualified person for ongoing maintenance 4*
Strobe lights – These are ineffective in well-lit areas, and if used inside could have health implications for staff members’ eyes and people who suffer from Epilepsy. While they are effective in low-light areas the strobes are unlikely to be effective as many birds like pigeons cannot take flight when it is dark and like all birds nighttime roosting and nesting sites require a lot more of a deterrent to abandon a site.
Effectiveness 2* cost 3* ease of installation 5* ongoing maintenance 5*
Audible devices – Fall into three distinct categories: ultrasonic systems, sonic systems, and bio-acoustic systems. Ultrasonic sound is normally not audible to the human ear but in some cases can be heard by women or young children causing great distress and headaches. There is no evidence that ultrasonic devices deter birds (Hamershock, undated). In fact, evidence indicates that most species of birds do not hear in the ultrasonic range (>20kHz) (Erickson et al. 1992, Harris & Davis 1998) and so there is no biological basis for their use. Haag-Wackernagel (2000) and Woronecki (1988) both found that pigeons were undeterred by an ultrasonic system.” Should you install an ultrasonic system, the area must be free from bats roosts as these systems can interfere with and deter bats from the area. In the UK all bats are protected. Sonic systems produce a variety of loud and unpleasant sounds many of these systems have little effect and once installed end up being turned off as neighbours complain about noise being generated hundreds of meters away. Bio-acoustic systems use natural alarm and distress calls as well as predator calls to create a so-called hostile environment for the target species. While these systems can be effective in the right environment other deterrent systems are needed or they lose their effectiveness within a few weeks especially if the pest birds are already established.
Effectiveness 1* cost 2* ease of installation 3* ongoing maintenance 3*
Natural visual deterrent service.
Falcons/hawks - can be used to disperse nearly all types of birds in almost all environments and industries including being flown inside. Falconry is best used to disperse birds over a wide area, as there is likely to be a more cost-effective system for small areas. Falconry when carried out correctly does not see a drop in the falcon’s or hawk’s effectiveness and has good long-lasting results. Falconry for bird control is humane and a natural method of control. Click to read more
Effectiveness 5* Cost 3* ease of service 5* ongoing maintenance 3*