At the park, on a walking trail, and even in your yard, birdwatching is a fascinating hobby. But 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.
Bird deterrents prevent these backyard visitors from eating the ripe fruits and seeds in the garden, with various types on the market. Check out this guide to learn about these types and explore some of the best bird deterrent options available.
- BEST OVERALL: Bird-X STS-10-R Stainless Steel Bird Spikes
- BEST BUDGET: Bird B Gone Enviro-Spike Bird Spike
- BEST HANGING: De-Bird: Repellent Disks – Bird Proof Your House
- BEST DECOYS: Hausse 2 Pack Fake Horned Owl Bird Scarecrow Decoy
- BEST HEAVY DUTY: Aspectek Stainless Steel Bird Spikes
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.
Hanging deterrents are typically made of metal or plastic, featuring a reflective surface that confuses birds as they approach an area. Since they can’t determine where to land, birds often avoid the area entirely.
These deterrents resemble shiny Christmas ornaments and also function as decorative elements in the yard. They’re typically only capable of deterring smaller birds, such as pigeons, sparrows, starlings, crows, blackbirds, grackles, and swallows.
Decoy deterrents function like scarecrows, designed to resemble owls or hawks to scare off even the larger bird species. They’re usually made of weather-resistant plastic, so they don’t last as long as deterrents made of metal. Like hanging models, these bird of prey decoys are much nicer to look at compared to spikes.
Some of the more realistic decoys have eyes that light up, a head that rotates, or they emit noise when motion is detected nearby. These extra features require batteries and naturally come with a higher price tag.
What to Look for When Choosing the Best Bird Deterrent
Once you’ve settled on a type and are familiar with the birds in your yard, consider the deterrent’s effectiveness, expected lifespan, and installation.
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.
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.
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.
On the whole, bird deterrents are straightforward to use and install, though some require a bit more effort to set up.
- Spikes are typically attached to a strip of metal and plastic. The spikes must be secured to a surface with nails, screws, or adhesive, so be prepared for some light DIY work.
- Hanging deterrents usually have a built-in hook for attaching to tree branches or poles in the garden. Since they require no mounting or assembly, these deterrents are the easiest to work with.
- Fake owls often come with two screws and two holes along the base for mounting from 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 Bird-X spike deterrent keeps away smaller birds, such as pigeons and sparrows, and larger climbers like squirrels. A pack of 2-foot strips offers 10 feet of coverage, with spikes measuring 4.3 inches long. Built from stainless steel, these spikes will last for years with no maintenance required.
The strips are attached to a flexible base, allowing for installation on rounded or uneven surfaces. Install the deterrents using the predrilled holes in the base, adhesive, or by securing them with zip ties.
- Flexible base mounts on uneven surfaces easily
- Weatherproof stainless steel
- 6-inch spikes and 10-foot total length
- Spikes can be bent and adjusted
- Smaller birds could nest in spikes
For a slightly less expensive spike deterrent, consider these Bird B Gone strips. Each 1-foot section features 4.3-inch long spikes, providing total coverage of 10 feet per pack. The all-metal build is UV-protected and not affected by inclement weather.
Each Bird B Gone strip has a break point, so you can customize the length to suit your needs. The strips come predrilled with holes for mounting, but users also can use glue or zip ties to secure them.
- Five pieces of 2-foot spike strips
- Predrilled holes for easy installation
- Spikes can be bent and adjusted
- Only effective against larger birds like pigeons and crows
If you’re struggling to keep sparrows, gulls, or other small birds off your property, these reflective discs can do the job—and add a bit of sparkle. The plastic disks are nontoxic and reflect the sunlight to confuse the birds as they fly near them.
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 and add a bit of decor to your outdoor space.
- Sunlight-reflecting discs keep birds away humanely
- Use on fruit trees, plants, and wooden beams
- Connect together for longer pieces
- Helps prevent bird strikes and nests
- Requires sunny environment to work
- Not secure in strong winds
These two fake owls from Hausse help deter larger prey birds such as hawks. Standing 10.5 inches tall, 5.2 inches wide, and weighing just under a pound, the highly detailed painting on these deterrents adds to their realistic appearance. They double as decorative ornaments and add a whimsical charm to the backyard.
The base 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.
- Scares most birds since it’s a predator owl
- Solar power moves the head occasionally
- Wind also moves bobble head
- Solar circuit board could be sealed better against rain
To repel small and large birds alike, consider these heavy-duty spike deterrents. At 4.7 inches in length, these spikes are longer than those found on other strips. They’re designed for longevity, built with durable stainless steel spikes and a UV-protected base of polycarbonate plastic.
Each pack of 1-foot strips provides 10 feet of coverage. The base has 360-degree flexibility and can be installed horizontally or vertically. These deterrents come with predrilled holes and a glue trough that makes installation relatively easy.
- Flexible base molds to any surface
- Predrilled holes for easy installation
- Durable and resists UV and weather damage
- Less effective against small birds
Our top pick for the best bird deterrent is the Bird-X Bird Spikes since they have a flexible base and spikes that keep large birds from roosting and nesting. For a bird deterrent that helps to reduce bird strikes, we also recommend the De-Bird Repellent Disks.
How We Chose the Best Bird Deterrents
These recommendations for best bird deterrent include a few different options that have proven effective at deterring birds from properties. We’ve selected traditional strips of spikes, a predator decoy, and reflective hangers to help reduce bird problems. These options work well for different kinds of birds, so using the spikes may better deter large birds, while small and large birds could both be deterred with the reflective discs.
We narrowed our research to choose products that are humane toward birds while still remaining effective at deterring unwanted bird visits. Each item is also proven to work throughout the seasons as they are intentionally weatherproof, with the possible exception of strong winds which can tip over most unanchored outdoor items. Our recommendations stay within an average price range of comparable products.
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.