How does a fake owl work to scare birds away?

Written by phyllis benson
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How does a fake owl work to scare birds away?
(Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons, GNU Free Documentation License)

Birds can be pests. Birds often destroy fruit and vegetables, peck holes in house roofs and leave droppings on cars and windows. Some birds carry disease and insects to homes, plants and yards. Homeowners try to discourage birds from nesting in eaves and making holes in siding. Others want to keep the flocked fiends from destroying a home garden. Many people like birds but want to keep them out of specific areas. Using a fake owl is a popular solution to scare birds away. An owl is a natural enemy of most birds. A fake owl mimics a real owl in appearance, sound or movement. The appearance of this predator often startles birds into leaving the area. Success depends on choosing the right fake owl and using methods to make it more threatening.

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How Fake Owls Work

Birds can be pests. Birds often destroy fruit and vegetables, peck holes in house roofs and leave droppings on cars and windows. Some birds carry disease and insects to homes, plants and yards. Homeowners try to discourage birds from nesting in eaves and making holes in siding. Others want to keep the flocked fiends from destroying a home garden. Many people like birds but want to keep them out of specific areas. Using a fake owl is a popular solution to scare birds away. An owl is a natural enemy of most birds. A fake owl mimics a real owl in appearance, sound or movement. The appearance of this predator often startles birds into leaving the area. Success depends on choosing the right fake owl and using methods to make it more threatening.

How does a fake owl work to scare birds away?

Choosing Fake Owls

A plastic owl with a rotating head acts as a scarecrow. The owl head moves in the breeze and requires no batteries or power. Other fake owls have motion sensors that detect intruders, such as birds or rabbits. This electronic owl moves its head toward the invader and gives off an owl hoot to scare the pest. Some homeowners choose prowler owls with realistic heads and wings that spread out and move like an owl on the hunt. Breezes keep the big wings in movement so that birds at a distance believe an owl is on the prowl. An inexpensive option is inflatable owl balloons with oversized scary owl eyes of holographic material that reflect light and movement. The eyes appear to be constantly focusing on birds and following their movement.

How does a fake owl work to scare birds away?

Using Fake Owls

Fake owls that do not move are rarely effective. Birds soon discover the owl is fake and they ignore or attack it. Standard fake owls with simple plastic bodies are more effective for a homeowner if they are moved from one place to another every few days. Some have a hole on the bottom and a loop in the head so they can be easily moved to perch on a 1/2-inch diameter post or on twine in tree branches. If they are placed in a natural owl habitat, such as in a tree or in the shade of a building, they often are more startling to swooping birds. Inflatable owl scare balloons can be seen by birds for up to a mile. They are widely used on roofs, in marinas or over garden areas for high visibility.

How does a fake owl work to scare birds away?

Other Techniques

Some homeowners use large owl eye decals or owl face window panels to scare birds from homes. As the birds dive under rooflines, they suddenly are confronted with their enemy in the window. Other homeowners hang old CDs or pie plates under plastic owls to spin for movement and reflection. Painting owl eyes on CDs to hang in problem areas is sometimes effective. Add a fake snake or two on the ground under fake owls to scare birds. Remember to move the owls and snakes periodically to keep birds confused.

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