Bird Repellent: How to Keep Unwanted Birds Away with a System-Based Approach

Birds can cause significant damage to agricultural crops, interrupt industrial operations and even pose a danger to humans, such as during airplane bird strikes. Unfortunately, when birds are rewarded with a safe place to roost, food or other high value attractants, they can be difficult to keep away. Luckily, non-lethal repellent tools used in a strategic system can chase birds away and keep them from returning. 

There are three different classes of deterrents: Audio deterrentsVisual deterrents, and Active deterrents. You can create an effective bird repellent system by using a variety of options from each class. In this way, it is possible to efficiently protect anything from backyard blueberry crops to the biggest airports in the world in an affordable manner. While some individual species can be more sensitive to specific stimulus, this general strategy holds true for all species of birds. 

Repellents or deterrents work by utilizing involuntary physiological stress responses from birds when they think that they’re in danger. The greater the perceived threat from the deterrents are, the higher the likelihood of the birds believing they’re in constant danger;  keeping them away from the controlled area. We call this “creating a landscape of fear”. For this to work, the fear you impart must be stronger than the attractant that brought them there in the first place. The most effective way to create this landscape is to use repellents from each of the deterrents classes to prevent habituation. 

Deterrent Classes Explained

1. Audio Deterrents

Deterrents that incorporate loud noises to startle and chase birds from the control area.

Examples: Our Propane Cannons emit a 120 decibel (dB) audio blast, similar to the sound of a shotgun. All species of birds are sensitive to this sound. Continually move the propane scare cannons from place to place to keep birds from becoming accustomed to it. Propane cannons can effectively be combined with one of our Bird Gard speaker systems, which replicate the sound of injured birds in distress. Unwanted birds will connect the area with danger when they hear the cries from the speaker. Specific sound combinations are available to most North American bird species. 

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2. Visual Deterrents

Deterrents that make use of reflective material, lights, flashing, simulations or other visual elements.

Examples: The strongest sense for a bird is their eyesight, which they rely on for flying, finding food and avoiding predatorsVisual deterrents, such as predator effigies or dead decoys, are a non-lethal way to trick even the most intelligent prey species into believing predators are hunting in the area when they see “one of their own” that has been “killed” or a “predator” perched nearby. This further convinces them that your control area is unsafe to remain in. 

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3. Active Deterrents

Deterrents that are directly controlled by humans as a responses to birds in the area. The active class can include audio and visual deterrents as well.

Example: Our most popular products, 15mm pyrotechnic scare cartridges, offer a variety of visual and audio effects and travel between 30m – 380m+ (90ft – 1250ft+) through the air. We stock the largest selection of pyrotechnic scare cartridges in North America. Combining different cartridges creates more chaos and prevents birds from becoming habituated to any one special effect and since you are using the deterrent only when needed, it is difficult for birds to become accustomed to these disruptive sights and sounds. We also supply the strongest hand-held bird control lasers allowed in Canada. Geese are particularly sensitive to the strange light pattern from the laser and react immediately. 

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Like all tools, different bird repellent tools have their strengths and weaknesses. Don’t leave any safe havens in your control area; active and immediate use of deterrents prevent birds from being rewarded. The best bird control programs combine audio, visual, and active deterrents.