How to Keep Birds Away From Your House, Roof, or Garden?

Are you looking to learn how to keep birds away from your house, your roof, your garden, and your yard?

Well then, you're in the right place!

In this guide you'll learn about:

  • Visual Deterrents For Birds
  • Mechanical Deterrents For Birds
  • Chemical Deterrents For Birds
  • Auditory Deterrents For Birds
  • Layered Defenses For Birds
Bird Removal In The Garden, Yard, Roof...

Keeping birds away from your house and roof, or keeping them away from the garden and yard aren't really all that different from each other.

There are some deterrent methods that won't work in one place but will in the other, but for the most part, anything that will work in one area will work in all areas.  If a particular method is only viable in one area, we'll discuss it when we come to it.

What Should Be Done Birds Around Your Home, Yard, Roof, Garden?

We're not talking about trapping birds or killing them though.  Trapping assumes the birds are going to come onto your property and our focus here is on keeping them out.

Visual Deterrents

We'll look at visual deterrents, which covers decoys of various kinds and reflective devices.  Included in this category are electronic laser devices.

Mechanical Deterrents

Mechanical deterrents will cover such things as delivering electric shocks when the birds land or putting out spikes to poke them when they try to land.  Nets are also mechanical deterrents, so we'll cover those too.

Chemical Deterrents

Chemical deterrents are non-lethal chemicals that create uncomfortable feelings in the birds or create scents that irritate their senses.  All the chemical agents we'll look at are colorless, therefore they're very discrete.

Auditory Deterrents

Then we'll look at auditory deterrents that rely on noise, either sonic (audible) or ultrasonic (inaudible), to drive birds away.

Layered Defense

Finally, we'll tell you how to create a layered defense to keep the birds away.

There will be some overlap between the various categories because some devices span two or more of them, and we'll mention those when we come to them.  We've got a lot of information to cover, so let's get started!

​What Are Visual Deterrents?

Decoys and other visual devices have been used for decades, sometimes centuries, to frighten or confuse birds and keep them away.  

Used properly, they can be very effective.  Used improperly, they quickly become worse than useless when birds learn they're harmless.

Owl Decoys

We'll start by looking at owl decoys in general.  There are almost as many owl decoys as there are species of owls.  Modern decoys are so detailed and life-like it's only when they don't move for an extended period of time that people (and birds) realize they're not alive after all.  

Birds aren't as smart as us but eventually, they'll figure it out unless you make a habit of moving your decoys every other day.

Additionally, we recommend getting  4-5 different owl decoys, then using them one at a time.  Pick out 6 or 7 ideal locations around your house, garden, or yard, preferably as high as possible to simulate where owls like to perch when they're scouring the area for prey.  

Every other day, remove the existing decoy and put out a new one, but in a different location.  The continuous rotation of different decoys that look different, and putting them in rotating locations will keep the birds confused as to whether or not the decoys are alive.

The gable of your roof, the gutters, the top of chimneys, the top of fence posts and tall poles, on tree branches, and patio beams; these are all excellent places to put your owl decoys.  

​Placing them on the ground will look unnatural to the birds you're trying to keep out since owls rarely sit on the ground or close to it.  Putting the decoys there will lower their effectiveness.

Keep in mind that many modern decoys have heads that rotate, eyes that flash, wings that move up and down, or make sounds.  Mixing these decoys with the others will add to the confusion for your nuisance birds, inducing them to find somewhere else to go.

Eagle Decoys

Eagle decoys also provide a very good deterrence effect.  There are almost as many eagle decoys as there are owl decoys.  Many of them also move or make noises to frighten away nuisance birds.

Because eagles share the predatory behavior patterns of owls, you should use them the same way, as high as possible, switching them out every other day, and perhaps even alternating owl and eagle decoys to keep the birds guessing, and therefore scared.

Coyote Decoys

A life-size, 3D coyote decoy, complete with a movable tail is also available.  It's in full color and totally realistic from every angle.  The moving tail helps convince birds they're dealing with a real coyote, which makes them turn tail and run.

As with any decoy, move it around every other day.  You should try to “hide it” around bushes and or between the rows in your garden for added realism.  Birds know predators like ambushes.  

When they see one crouching out in the open it runs counter to their expectations, leading them to suspect something isn't right.  Position the decoy so it looks like it's trying to hide the way a real coyote would and they'll assume it is real.

Alligator Decoys

These are fun.  Floating decoys, such as the Gator Guard, are great for ponds and swimming pools.  

It is just the head of an alligator, but it's completely life-like in every way, including mirrored eyes that seem to “follow” birds as they move.  As soon as they catch a glimpse of an alligator head lurking in the water they'll start looking for somewhere else to go.

Once again, move the decoy around every other day, and go out of your way to hide it in the weeds and bushes if you're using it in a pond.  

If you're using it in a swimming pool, anchor it in different locations.  You can even attach some weights to lower it in the water until just the eyes are above the water – a classic alligator pose.

Reflective Bird Deterrents

Reflective surfaces, especially ones which move and send shafts of light in every direction, will blind and confuse birds as they're coming in for a landing.

It's the same as having the sunshine in your eyes when you're driving.  It's very disorienting.  They can be used on your house, roof, garden, or yard and they're very effective when combined with other methods.

There are all kinds of reflective bird deterrents, from hanging reflectors to reflective tape to reflective owl outlines and every combination imaginable.  Hang them from gutters, tree branches, poles over your garden, or patio beams and the birds will shy away from them.

Although not reflective, inflatable bird “balloon” repellents are great visual deterrents.  They're actually quite ingenious.  Inflated to the size of a basketball, they have huge staring predator eyes painted on them.  

You can hang these up trees or from the gutters of your house or the beams of a warehouse and birds will think they're seeing the eyes of a lurking owl or eagle getting ready to swoop down on them.

Lasers

Bird Blazer Lasers, from Bird-X, are an easy way to scare birds out of large buildings such as warehouses.  They can also be mounted up high around your house, usually on the roof, chimney, gutters, or gables.  

The piercing laser lights temporarily blind birds when it flashes in their eyes.  You'll need four of these, one on each side of your house, to keep the birds away.

Additionally, they can be pole mounted around your garden or yard, preferably with overlapping areas of coverage so the birds are being assaulted from several different directions at once.  It all sounds a bit geeky, but it's actually pretty effective.

​What Are Mechanical Deterrents?

This is a broad category that deals with anything birds have to physically touch.  Electric shocks, spikes, nets, and aversion/deterrent liquids and gels all fall into this category.  

They won't stop birds from approaching your house, rooftop, garden or yard but they'll keep them from there.

Electric Shock

The AviShock electric strip system is available in four different colors to match the décor of your building and has a very high satisfaction rating. The strips have to be laid on the areas where birds are prone to land.  

Given the electrical nature of this system, it's probably best to have it installed by a certified electrician.  When birds land on the strip it delivers a painful shock of electricity.  It's not enough to kill, but it will scare them away, Think of it as an electric fence for birds.

The original package comes with 65 feet of track and more can be purchased separately as needed.  It is mounted with screws, nails, or a special adhesive that is included in the kit.  

Once installed, it should be regarded as a permanent addition to your house. It can also be used along fences, but it probably isn't ideal for protecting your yard or garden.  This is mainly for your house.

​The following video will give you installation tips for Avishock Bird Shock System.

​Bird Spikes

Bird spikes, made of either metal or plastic, are long and thin, so thin they're virtually invisible from the ground.  Birds will get jabbed anytime they try to land on them.  

Bird spikes aren't as expensive as the electric shock system, but they're still one of the more expensive items listed here.

They can be glued in place on ledges, window sills, and anywhere else you want to keep the birds away from.  They have pre-drilled in the bases so they can be nailed or screwed in place.  

Once installed, they should also be seen as a permanent solution.

Unfortunately, leaves and other windblown debris can get caught in the spikes. When that happens it creates a cushion or barrier that will protect the birds. For this reason, you need to clean them off at least once every 3-4 months.

Nets

Different anti-bird nets have different size mesh.  How large or how small you want the mesh will be dictated by the size of the birds you're trying to keep out of your patio, garden, or flowerbed.  

Smaller birds require a smaller mesh to keep them out and larger birds can be kept at bay with a larger mesh.

For the best results, the nets have to be tightly strung over a framework of some kind.  You'll have to build one over your garden and/or flowerbeds

When you build it, keep in mind that you'll have to create an entry point of some kind, perhaps a door or flap that can be opened to permit entrance then closed to keep the birds out.

Bird nets generally aren't practical for covering a whole house.  They can, however, be stretched between the posts holding up the roof of your patio.

You'll still have to create an opening or door of some kind in it, but using nets to keep birds out of your patio is pretty simple.

​What Are Chemical Deterrents?

Liquid and gel repellents rely on physical touch to work.  Their mode of operation is chemical and much of their effectiveness will be determined by the individual reactions of each separate bird.  

Some birds will have a strong adverse reaction to them and fly away. Others, while they'll still have a reaction to them, will be able to put up with it and remain where they land.

Bird Stop Aversion/Deterrent Liquid uses methylanthranilate as the active ingredient.  It's a bitter derivative of concord grapes which triggers an adverse reaction in birds.  

It's also slightly smelly, to birds, which creates an additional incentive for them to leave.

It's only recommended for outdoor use.  If you've got a bad bird problem, use it undiluted, straight out of the bottle. 

If your bird problem is light or limited, you can dilute it with water.  In either case, you'll need to spray it on with a hand sprayer.

A colorless repellent that creates a sticky surface is 4 The Birds: Repellent Liquid.  It creates a tacky, sticky sensation that feels like stepping in a puddle of glue.  It makes birds pick up their feet in an effort to get away from it. 

Eventually, they get tired of the sensation and fly away.  It can be sprayed on any surface with a hand sprayer or applied manually with a paint brush. Because it's outside where it is exposed to the weather, it needs to be reapplied every 3-4 months.  

The instructions say differently; ignore them.  3-4 months is the longest you should let it go before reapplying a fresh coat.

owl facts

Cleaning the hand sprayer, brush, as well as any surfaces where you might have applied it by accident requires the use of a specialized Bird Repellent Remover.  The instructions for using it can be found on the manufacturer's website.

The same kind of repellent can be found in gel form.  It is a thick, pasty gel that has to be applied with a caulking gun in a straight line or a wavy pattern (highly recommended) where birds like to land on your house, patio beams, etc.  

Since it is generally applied up out of sight where it can't be seen and is mostly colorless anyway, it won't cause an unsightly mess.

Both types of repellent, liquid or gel, will drive away a certain percentage of birds, but others will continue to hang around regardless.  

To compensate for this, we recommend a layered defense using multiple deterrent and repellent methods around your property.  We'll discuss that later.

​What Are Auditory Deterrents?

Drones

Drones are all the rage these days.  Amazon (among others) has begun using them for making deliveries to their customers.  It turns out that these drones, from Bird-X, can be built with loudspeakers in them to fly into flocks of birds while broadcasting owl and eagle predator sounds to scare them off.  

The drones are programmable, so you can program them to fly automated patterns around your property.  You can also program them, with suitable add-ons, to scan for approaching birds and take off to intercept them en route.

This is an expensive option but it's a very effective one.  Any flying object is scary to birds.  The noise from the drone's propellers scares them even further.  

Add to it that the drone is broadcasting predator sounds and heading straight for the birds, and you have a combination that will send them flying off in panic within seconds.

Their flight range and time are dictated by their battery capacity, so they'll have to be recharged frequently.

Sonic Bird Repellents

These are devices that use pre-recorded predator sounds to frighten birds, just like drones do.  The difference is that these sonic bird repellents can be used in combination with decoys if you're using them.  

They're normally motion activated (although some can be programmed to sound off at regular intervals) to startle birds with unexpected sounds when they approach your house, yard, or garden.  Since the sounds are authentic predator noises, there's no way for the birds to mistake them for anything else.

Unpredictably occurring predator sounds, combined with random and constantly changing decoys and locations (see above) should work quite nicely.  Be sure to move the sonic repellers as well as the decoys.  

The birds will never be able to predict where the sounds are going to be coming from so they'll never be able to guarantee they're safe.  This makes them very nervous.  The more nervous they are, the quicker they'll fly away.

Ultrasonic Bird Deterrents

Ultrasonic sounds are generally classified as any sounds above 20,00 Hz (20 kHz) which the human ear can't detect.  Ultrasonic bird repellents work on the theory that irritating and/or annoying noises and sounds will motivate birds to leave for quieter pastures.  

It's the same reason European police sirens are so annoying with their undulating sounds.  It captures the attention and makes you want to get away from it.

Ultrasonic devices try to do the same thing and sometimes they achieve their goal but sometimes they don't.  They'll usually chase away some percentage of the birds but the rest simply learn to ignore the noise and go on about their business of messing up your house, garden, and yard.

You can improve their effectiveness by moving them around on a regular basis, combining two or more different ultrasonic devices which use different frequencies, and using motion-activated repellers instead of repellers that are always active.

​The video below will give you a glimpse of a bird control drone.

​How About Some Layered Defenses?

A layered defense consists of a broad array of anti-bird devices, repellents, and deterrents set up in concentric rings around your property, house, yard, garden, etc.  

Since the vast majority of devices we've talked about here won't get rid of all the birds, you'll need to use several devices in succession to keep them away.

Starting at the outside and working our way back in, we would recommend you use the ultrasonic repellers as the first layer.

 Position them facing away from your property so they'll be the first things birds encounter as they approach.  The motion activated ones are the best in this scenario.

Next, use the decoys, predator noisemakers, and reflective items.  The particular combination you use at your home will depend on the type of birds you're facing.  

Remember to rotate them every other day, always in a new position to keep the birds from realizing they're just decoys.

The next layer, around your garden and flower beds, would be netting.  The size of the mesh you purchase will be dictated by the physical size of the birds you're keeping out.

The final, inner defenses will be the aversion/repellent liquids and gels, the bird spikes, and the electric shock strips.  

If you have a bird that is still getting through in spite of it all, we advise you to get a shotgun, or maybe some Kryptonite because that is one tough bird.

​Final Thought

Using a layered approach allows you to leverage your money by spending less on several partially effective methods and building them on each other.

Keeping birds away from house or garden isn't something that's going to happen overnight, nor is it going to be effortless.  It's going to require some time and energy.

But take heart.  As long as you're willing to work at it, eventually you'll get rid of them.

Michael V. Wilson

Michael V. Wilson

Michael has 14+ years doing termite jobs on slab and pier-and-beam houses past counting, roach clean-outs, bed bug jobs, flea jobs (inside and outside), ants, fireants, and many more!

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Michael V. Wilson

Michael V. Wilson

Michael has 14+ years doing termite jobs on slab and pier-and-beam houses past counting, roach clean-outs, bed bug jobs, flea jobs (inside and outside), ants, fireants, and many more!

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