Getting rid of birds

I have a 40-50 foot oak tree in my backyard that has become the home for HUNDREDS of sparrows. I have a large circle of bird droppings under the tree and on the roof of my house killing the grass and making things look generally gross.

For some reason, my neighbors and local police frown on the use of firearms or other loud sounds to scare them away. Besides, other than the fact it’s interesting to see a huge cloud of birds erupt from the tree, it’s temporary.

I’ve thought about putting hawk or snake decoys up to scare them off. Does this work? Does anybody have any ideas on how to keep the bird population to a minimum in my tree?

A cat works well for me. She snagged one starling and the rest never came back.

In Plano you get enough sun that pie tins might work as well. Tie them to some of the branches so that they wave in the breeze and flash. A little tacky, but often effective.


“Listen Children Eternal Father Eternally One!” Exceptions? None!
-Doc Bronner

A friend uses an owl decoy and it does work on the squirrels, although you have to move it frequently so they don’t figure it out. But I don’t imagine sparrows would be afraid of owls (not natural predator). Maybe a kestrel (sparrow hawk) or catlike crature.

I’ve also heard that they spray artificial grape flavoring into the runway puddles at JFK Airport in NYC (built inside a wildlife refuge) cause it supposedly burns their tongues like tabasco.

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When my parents’ neighbor was having bird trouble over her driveway, she went to the vet to ask for a humane way of scaring them away. He said that small birds are instinctively frightened by the silhouette of a bird of prey. (He sketched the outline for her, but I won’t even attempt to render it in ASCII.)

So the lady got a square of black plastic sheeting, cut out a few silhouettes, and left them on the concrete driveway. The little birds stopped coming back to her trees as long as those cutouts were there.

Laugh hard; it’s a long way to the bank.

Actually, birds have a high tolerance for capsaicin, the “hot ingredient” in tabasco sauce and such. It’s sometimes added to bird feed to prevent mammals such as mice from eating it. Check out Sturkey’s Avian Physiology for details.

The only truly effective scarecrow (or in this case scaresparrow) I’ve ever seen is the one used by an old German farmer in Pennsylvania.

Just get a pellet gun and some string, shoot four or five of these sparrows, and hang the corpses by the feet from some of the lower branches, wings splayed out. Make sure they’re high enough to keep ants and cats away from them. The little birdies will get the message pretty quick.

I don’t know if it triggers a danger signal (warning of disease or predator) in them, but it’s really effective.

(had his membership card to PETA revoked)

Vlad Tepies did pretty much the same thing with the Turks. It was VERY effective at keeping them out of Transylvania.

“I had a feeling that in Hell there would be mushrooms.” -The Secret of Monkey Island

      • The bb gun plan might work very well, and you may not even have to hit any of the birds. Where I used to live, just firing off a kid’s BB gun into the ground was enough to get all the birds to scatter - it’s not very loud, but they all seemed to hear it and they appeared to know what the sound was. See if anyone you know has one that you can borrow to try it. If it works, you can get your own for $25 or so and you won’t actually be killing anything.(please note: some locales do prohibit the discharging of airguns or firearms) - MC

With the Halloween season apon us, what whould be more appropriate then a tree full of cats. You could put cats up in the tree for decoration and bird control.

I wonder if turkeys will work for the Thanksgiving season?