What Really Scares Birds Away?

what really scares birds away
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Birds are intelligent animals that will not be scared away by methods that they know will not harm them. Since nuisance birds can be a major problem and do not consistently respond with fear to anti-bird products, what can scare birds away and keep them away?

There is a wide range of anti-bird products that can effectively scare birds away. For the best results, natural methods like falconry are the best methods to consider since this process works by using larger, birds of prey to intimidate smaller nuisance birds.

Since anti-bird products are only effective as a temporary solution, this article will explore how falconry can scare away pigeons and seagulls more effectively than overused products.

What Do Birds Hate the Most?

Birds are very finicky and easily-frightened animals, however, it should be understood that scaring away birds is only effective if the birds are terrified to return to the roosting or nesting site that they have become accustomed to. Generally speaking, birds hate strong smells, shiny objects, and predators, both birds of prey or larger animals or humans within their vicinity.

Let’s take a look at some of the things that birds hate the most:

  • Predators. This method is probably the most successful at keeping birds away due to the natural fears that the birds have of being harmed. Although fake replicas of birds of prey and other large predators can be effective at first, pest birds will more than likely become acclimated to the inanimate objects after a certain amount of time, rendering the objects ineffective.
  • Anti-bird spikes. Bird spikes can be attached to a number of surfaces including roofs, ledges, and guttering. The metal spikes point upwards and make it a very unpleasant landing spot. No harm is done to the birds, as they simply will not land on them. Bird spikes are used in urban areas on commercial buildings and private properties. While not aesthetically pleasing, spikes can be a highly effective deterrent, but may not completely scare birds away like falconry.
  • Strong odours. As previously mentioned, strong and repellent scents and smells like pepper or even essential oils may deter birds for a time. To get rid of birds completely with smells, you would have to consistently spread the scents all over their roosting and nesting spots to make the habitat unliveable. Birds hate strong smells, but again, this is likely not a viable long-term solution.

For the absolute best results, utilising predators is the best of the above-mentioned methods to try. Falconry uses birds of prey that naturally incite the flight or fight response (mostly flight) in smaller birds, which makes this one of the best methods for the removal of pest birds through intimidation and fear, which are natural instincts within the birds.

bird of prey scaring away pest birds
Example of one of our birds of prey being used to scare away pigeons on London roof tops.

What Is the Best Bird Deterrent?

There are many products that you can use to deter birds, but the use of birds of prey is great because this natural method directly triggers the instinct of fear and intimidation within smaller birds, in many ways, preventing them from landing in the same spot as birds of prey in the first place.

Our method is to allow our birds to circle and fly over the problem area on a regular basis. Pest birds soon get the message that the territory is occupied by a predator, and will take wing and move on as to avoid possibly being confronted or even killed by the much larger predators that have moved into their territory.

Using a natural threat like this is the most humane and effective way to rid your property of nuisance birds on a long-term basis. Falconry can deter smaller birds and prevent them from becoming a nuisance to your property, and you do not have to worry about utilising spike strips or other bird deterrents to get rid of the pests.

Why Are Birds Afraid of Shiny Objects?

It is not truly understood why birds are afraid of shiny objects. Most theories suggest that birds are afraid of their own reflection, and thus avoid landing on or near areas that contain a large amount of shiny or reflective light.

The shine emitted from objects such as aluminium and reflective tape prevents birds from landing in the area, but of all the bird deterrents available, this method is probably the most ineffective over long periods of time.

Falconry would be a much better option to consider since this process does not involve utilising something that birds simply dislike – but the birds will be genuinely scared when larger birds of prey are in the area. Only use shiny objects as a bird deterrent as a temporary measure.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do Fake Owls Really Keep Birds Away?

Owls are considered a bird of prey and will frighten off pest birds if the owls make their presence known in a particular area. Using a fake owl in a nuisance bird roosting or nesting place will show results since the decoy will likely prevent the birds from landing.

Birds are very visual animals, therefore, the sight of a fake owl will immediately cause the birds to avoid landing in their preferred spot and the birds may even scout for another nesting spot. But you shouldn’t expect a fake owl to keep birds away for longer than a few days.

Once the birds observe that the decoy never moves and provides no scent, the birds will likely recognise that the owl is indeed fake, and simply take up residence again around the decoy.

A real owl would certainly scare the pest birds away and likely prevent them from returning once the owl lays down its scent and claims its territory.

Do Wind Chimes Keep Birds Away?

Birds are also deterred from sudden movements or loud noises. A product like a wind chime has been shown to deter birds from a certain spot but in all likelihood, this is not a feasible long-term solution to consider when it comes to scaring birds away.

The noise will be unpleasant to birds initially, and may even cause the birds to fly away – but a wind chime is simply not that loud or intimidation, therefore, the pest birds will simply become accustomed to the noise and return to the nesting site relatively quickly.

Furthermore, if you are looking to get rid of nuisance birds in a more commercial area, a wind chime certainly will be ineffective. The birds are likely already used to a lot of loud noise from the movement and sounds of your business, therefore, the light chime of the wind chime would likely not register at all as an unattractive sound to the birds.


There you have it, falconry is truly the best option available to scare away pest birds and keep them away for long periods of time. Shop bought deterrents simply do not have enough effectiveness such as the response to smaller birds’ fear as seen with falconry.

If you would like to give falconry a try, do not hesitate to contact us today to discuss how this highly effective method can get your property or business free from nuisance birds in a short amount of time. Birds of prey are the single best method for the removal of nuisance birds.

Matthew Blackwell

Matthew Blackwell

Matt is an experienced and professional pest control technician and falconer serving London and Kent.

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PMP is an experienced pest control company serving the London and Kent areas. It’s owned and operated by Matthew Blackwell. For pest control advice please call or use our website contact form.

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