Birds are amazing and beautiful creatures, but when you’re growing fruit and veg in your backyard – or want to keep our feathered friends off your prize plants and flowers – you may have good reason for keeping them out of the garden. So do statues keep birds away from your yard?
Garden statutes do scare birds away, especially lifelike owls, birds of prey, or human sized scarecrows. Birds are also scared by toy snakes and hanging shiny objects like old CD’s – while wind chimes, spinners and netting will also deter them. Your cat or dog will do the job too.
In this blog post we’re going to look at the types of statues and related items that do scare birds away from your yard, and also consider a host of other methods that can also work in sending our feathered friends flying for their freedom.
Reasons Why You Might Not Want Birds in Your Garden
Birds can be adorable little visitors, and many people encourage them into their yards with bird food and bird houses. But sometimes even the cutest visitors aren’t welcome, and there are plenty of reasons why you might not want birds in your garden.
We feel almost mean writing this; however birds can be as unwelcome as bugs or even rodents if you’re trying to grow fruit and vegetables. They can peck up newly planted seeds, and a hungry crow will happily eat its way through your vegetable patch. And as for growing any type of berries – well, good luck if you want to get to them before the birds do.
And of course, there’s the poop. Birds like pigeons can make a real mess of your decking and garden furniture. Some cheeky species will even try to join in with your BBQ or outdoor breakfast. So, how can you keep birds out of your yard?
There are lots of ways to deter birds. The methods we’re recommending won’t hurt the birds, but rather, will just make your yard a less hospitable place for them to hang out. A common way to keep birdies at bay is to install an unwelcoming statue…
Do Owl & Hawk Statues Scare Away Birds?
Nothing scares a bird like a bigger bird. We’re not suggesting you keep a pet bird of prey in your yard, but you can make the most of this innate fear with a life-like predator statue.
You can get really realistic statues of birds of prey like owls and hawks. A cheeky crow will think twice about pecking your seedlings if he thinks he’s being watched by an owl.
Make sure you position your fake owl or hawk in a realistic and obvious place: on the porch or garage roof is a good site. Choose a high quality one with good details and life-like colors. Birds aren’t that stupid.
You can also get artificial dead crows that can be hung off your porch to deter other corvids. We can see how that would be off-putting to avian visitors; however, it may scare humans off, too! One of the good things about an owl statue is that it also makes an attractive decorative feature in your yard.
Do Scarecrows & Human Shaped Statues Scare Birds Away?
Here’s a good old-fashioned way to frighten the birds: a traditional scarecrow. We all have an affection for the scarecrow, which features a lot in kids’ books and nursery rhymes – but do they actually work?
Yes they do, but only up to a point. A scarecrow or other human-shaped statue may work at first, but then quickly intelligent birds like crows will figure out that it hasn’t moved for a while. That’s not human behavior, thinks the crow, before diving back into your vegetable patch.
You may be able to fool birds for longer if the scarecrow moves or makes a sound. Apparently bright clothes are better than dull ones, and add flapping features like ribbons and scarves that will move in the wind. Also, shift the mannequin or scarecrow around a bit so it’s not always in the same place.
We’ve been reading about high-tech scarecrows that deploy lasers and supersonic waves. These get a pretty good write-up, but they’re a bit overkill for your typical backyard. The takeaway from this is that you have to keep the birds on the alert with a mannequin that moves about a bit, even if it’s just because it has streamers tied to its hat.
Do Toy Snakes Scare Away Birds?
Many creatures (us humans included) are programmed to be scared of snakes. A realistic toy snake will give a bird a real scare, and will certainly keep it away from the crops.
For maximum effect, pick a toy snake that replicates one of the local varieties, as that’s the most likely to scare away native birds. As with the owls and hawks, choose a good-quality toy that looks realistic, rather than something that looks more like a skipping rope. Move the snake around every few days, to make sure you fool intelligent repeat visitors like crows.
There are downsides to using toy snakes. One, your dog may also refuse to go into your yard, and your cat will most definitely be freaked out. You’ll also have to firmly tell the kids not to assume any reptile they see is a fake snake, just in case.
What Else Scares Birds Away From Your Garden?
There are plenty of other things you can try to keep the birds from your yard. Some of these are even fun outdoor craft projects that the whole family can try.
Garden Wind Spinners
These kids’ toys are brilliant for keeping birds off your vegetable beds. Plant them in the dirt, stick side down; and even the gentlest breeze will make them move, scaring the birds away.
Choose colorful, shiny versions, and make sure they’re outdoor-proof to prevent mold. Get the kids to help you choose or even make some, and before you know it, you’ll have a colorful display that rivals your flower beds. Go for shiny, because birds really get spooked by reflected light.
Birds get really freaked out by moving, shiny objects. As they come ready-to-hang with a hole in the center, old CDs make ideal bird-scaring mobiles. Simply thread rope, string or ribbon through the CD, and tie them onto branches or posts.
Please don’t get into any arguments with your spouse over which CDs get hung up in trees! We’ve used old CD-Roms in the past, or scratched old discs that won’t play anymore. Can’t agree? Use old aluminum cans, bits of tin foil, or even old purse mirrors.
Smells Birds Hate
There are certain smells that birds really don’t like, including garlic and cayenne pepper. They also hate the smell of bleach, but this isn’t exactly pleasant for you, either.
You can get commercial sprays that deter birds. However, you can also make your own from a blend of dry chilli pepper flakes, water, and our old favorite, vinegar. Leave it to infuse for a few hours, then pour it into a plant mister bottle. Spray it on any areas of your yard where the birds are causing problems.
This is a simple and direct way to protect your seeds or prevent birds from feasting on your crops. Net your beds just above the level of the plants, making sure the sides are firmly staked to prevent any pesky birds from creeping under.
This has the added benefit of preventing other animals eating your crops, and also keeps cats off your beds.
The sounds made by wind chimes can startle birds, preventing them from landing in your yard. They also make a nice, soothing sound for us humans.
Do your research first though, as some yard owners swear that gentle little wind chime sounds actually attract birds. Go for wind chimes with a deeper tone, and as loud as you can bear it yourself. You may want to take them down at night…
A stick jungle is an alternative to netting. Simply dot your beds with plenty of sticks, which prevents any birds from easily landing by your plants. You can make these out of any form of stick, including twigs you find in your own yard.
Again, cats that might like to dig up your beds can’t get to the dirt if there are sticks everywhere.
Cat or Dog
If all else fails, introduce a predator – or the family pet, as it’s more often known. Now, you might have the world’s softest dog or laziest cat, but the birds won’t know that. No matter what it’s temperament, birds will see your pet as a threat.
Your dog or cat doesn’t have to be a hunter (and of course, we’d really rather that they don’t go after the birds), but their presence in your yard discourages feeding and nesting. Don’t have a cat or dog? Well, we’re back to the statues again, or you can simply put up a canine or feline-shaped silhouette.
This can be a fun project with the kids, as you can cut out a shape from tough cardboard or plywood. Glue in glass marbles for eyes, as they sparkle in the light and look more realistic.
There are many reasons why you might not want birds in your garden – especially if you’re growing fruit and veg or just don’t want them to munch on your flowers and plants.
And yes – certain types of garden statues will help keep the birds away, namely birds of prey like owls and hawks, snakes and scarecrows.
However, as we know birds are canny creatures – and extremely hardy – and if there are things to eat in your yard then they’ll try and find a way to get them.
That’s why the only surefire way of deterring our feathered friends is with a furry friend – a cat or dog. 🙂