At the park, on a walking trail, and even in your yard, birdwatching is a fascinating hobby. However, you may not want those same birds in your garden. After spending hours growing seed and nurturing plants, it can be devastating to watch as birds help themselves to the tasty treats you’ve worked so hard to grow. They can literally ruin the fruits of your labors.
The best bird deterrents prevent birds from eating the ripe fruits and seeds in the garden. To aid in repelling these beautiful but pesky creatures, several types of bird deterrents are available. Before you begin shopping, however, check out this guide to understand the different types of bird deterrents and the most important features to consider. Explore the following selections of some of the best bird deterrents on the market, so you can select the type that best suits your needs.
- BEST OVERALL: Aspectek Stainless Steel Bird Spikes
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Bird B Gone Enviro-Spike Bird Spike
- BEST FAKE OWL: Dalen Gardeneer Natural Enemy Scarecrow Owl Decoy
- BEST SPIKES: Bird-X STS-10-R Stainless Steel Bird Spikes
- BEST HANGING: De-Bird: Repellent Disks – Bird Proof Your House
Types of Bird Deterrents
Three main types of bird deterrents are most commonly used to shoo birds away from gardens and other property areas, including spikes, rods, and fake owls. Each kind of deterrent has pros and cons.
Spike deterrents are, as the name implies, literal spikes attached to a strip of clear plastic or metal. The points, which are made of metal or plastic, range in number and length, depending on the product selected. Spike deterrents often are useful to deter birds like pigeons, sparrows, starlings, crows, blackbirds, grackles, and swallows.
However, spike deterrents aren’t always a popular choice because many gardeners think they’re cruel. In reality, birds are not actually harmed by spikes. They don’t have to land on the spikes to not want to perch on them; instead, the birds see the spikes before they land and avoid them altogether.
Rod deterrents are typically made of metal or plastic. Usually sparkly or reflective, these deterrents confuse birds as they approach an area. Since they can’t determine where to land, they often avoid the area entirely.
Rod deterrents often are used to deter smaller birds away from gardens, such as pigeons, sparrows, starlings, crows, blackbirds, grackles, and swallows. However, sometimes, they’re effective in deterring larger birds of prey, like hawks.
Manufacturers try to make the design and shape of some rod deterrents decorative, so they also can serve as lawn decor. Gardeners looking for a more aesthetically pleasing deterrent that appears less intimidating than spikes may prefer them.
While rods can be hung from trees or poles, they’re more difficult to install in trees with low limbs. Consider planting a pole in the ground for this type of deterrent.
Fake owls are usually the most effective way to deter large birds of prey like hawks and, of course, owls. For those who have smaller pets or backyard chickens, a fake owl may be the best bird deterrent.
Fake owls are usually made of plastic, and on some models, the eyes illuminate and the head spins, which means they require batteries. A few versions even emit noise when they detect nearby motion. However, these features—while effective—may be loud enough to annoy your neighbors.
What to Look for When Choosing the Best Bird Deterrent
In addition to these characteristics, look for four other key features when shopping for the best bird deterrent. Consider the deterrent’s effectiveness, its expected lifespan, the potential effect on the environment, and its ease of installation and use.
Not all deterrents are created equal, and they will not all work for every type of bird. Take a week or two to watch the birds in your garden, and then investigate which deterrent is best-suited for those particular birds. On the whole, deterrents for smaller birds are likely to work for almost all small birds, while deterrents for larger birds usually work for every large bird.
While shopping for a bird deterrent, investigate how long the product is purported to last. As outdoor products, they will experience wear and tear even in a temperate climate zone. Weather conditions like rain, snow, wind, and sun can slowly wear down deterrents.
If you live in a harsher, colder climate that frequently experiences snow and storms, consider investing in a hardier deterrent. Metal spikes and rods typically last longer than plastic, but they may be a more significant upfront investment. Fake owls are usually made with plastic, and if they have moving parts or lights, they can fail and need maintenance or replacement.
Today’s bird deterrents typically are environmentally friendly, but some may not be. As mentioned, spike deterrents can look scary, but they are entirely safe and harmless to birds.
Rod deterrents typically are not harmful to birds; however, if the manufacturer used stickers to create their shine or sparkle, they could peel off over time. Birds or other small animals could find those stickers and eat them. Watch for these issues and be proactive in replacing or removing parts or entire products when they’re no longer safe.
Ease of Installation and Use
Spike deterrents and rod deterrents are both relatively easy to install.
- Spikes are typically attached to a strip of metal and plastic and must be secured to a surface with nails, screws, or adhesive.
- Rods are usually hung from tree branches or poles, similar to bird feeder poles. If you have a tree near your garden or on your property, installing a rod bird deterrent is usually easy. However, without a tree or if the limbs on the tree are too high, installing this type of deterrent becomes more difficult.
- Fake owls are fairly easy to use and install. The package typically includes two screws, and the base has two holes to mount the owl onto a fence post or deck railing. Once the batteries or solar panels are in place and the owl is mounted, it’s fully functional.
Our Top Picks
Birds are beautiful, but they can become annoying if they eat the berries off bushes or peck at the tomatoes on plants. The top picks feature the types of bird deterrents discussed in this guide and the various considerations to keep in mind while shopping. Read on to discover some of the best bird deterrents on the market to protect your garden and property.
This stainless steel spike bird deterrent from Aspectek helps deter smaller birds, such as pigeons, sparrows, crows, and swallows, from your garden and property. The bird deterrent, which provides 10 feet of spike coverage on almost any surface, is 5 inches wide. The UV-protected, plastic polycarbonate base is flexible up to 360 degrees and is long lasting. It boasts predrilled holes and a glue trough that makes installation relatively easy.
Install this spike bird deterrent either horizontally or vertically to deter not only birds but smaller climbing animals, such as squirrels. Its flexibility gives it the ability to be installed in many locations to prevent harmful bird droppings from ruining your property. Install it in places like support structures, posts, and near TV antennas.
Featuring five 2-foot spikes, this bird deterrent from Bird B Gone offers a total of 10 feet of spikes on convenient strips. Not only is this deterrent quite affordable, but it also requires no assembly. Its predrilled holes make installation easier. In addition to drilling them in place, users also can use glue or zip ties to adhere them to a surface.
The strips are 5 inches wide, making them protect more expansive areas. Each 1-inch section of the strips features a breakaway point, so you can customize the placement of the spike to suit your needs.
This fake owl from Dalen helps deter larger prey birds, such as hawks and owls. Standing 18 inches tall, 7.2 inches wide, and weighing just under a pound, this fake owl has a rotating head that’s triggered by breezes to scare off predatory birds. The hand-painted detailing on this owl adds to its realistic appearance.
The base on this owl has a predrilled hole for mounting on a post (not included) for greater visibility, or you can perch it on a balcony, porch, or railing to keep pesky birds away from your yard.
Each section of this stainless steel spike bird deterrent from Bird-X is 6 inches wide and 1 foot in length. Choose from a range of lengths: 10 feet, 24 feet, 50 feet, or 100 feet. The flexible base allows for easy installation on rounded or uneven surfaces and discourages birds from landing or roosting in places they are not wanted. The predrilled holes in the base make installation fairly easy, or you can use adhesive or zip ties. The stainless steel is durable and will last for years with no maintenance required.
If you’re struggling to keep smaller birds, such as sparrows, swallows, and pigeons, out of your garden, consider these reflective disk-style bird deterrents from De-Bird. The plastic disks are nontoxic and reflect the sunlight to confuse the birds as they fly near them. They are also a logical option if a spike bird deterrent feels too harsh and can serve as a lawn or garden decoration as well.
The complete bird deterrent set contains eight 11-inch discs, 24 connecting rings, eight rotation pieces, and eight hooks. Install the disks on low-hanging tree limbs or attach them to poles.
FAQs About Bird Deterrents
After learning about the types of bird deterrents and how they can protect birds that enter your property, you still may have some questions about bird deterrents and birds in general. Check out some of the most frequently asked questions and their corresponding answers below.
Q. What keeps birds away?
The best way to keep birds out of your garden or yard is by making it difficult for them to determine where they can fly and land. If they are unsure of where and how to approach your property, they are more likely to avoid the area completely.
Q. What smells do birds hate?
Similar to mice and other pests, birds don’t like the smell of peppermint oil and citronella.
Q. Will aluminum foil deter birds?
If it’s hung so that it spins and reflects the light, aluminum foil can act as an effective hanging bird deterrent.
Q. Do fake owls deter birds?
Yes, fake owls tend to deter large birds, such as hawks and other owls, but they can deter small birds as well.