Do Bird Deterrents Work?

By Leslie Wescott

The simple answer is yes.

Fascinating as birds may be, they are also a nuisance jeopardizing our health, property and everyday activities. Whether they build nests in gutters, soil every surface they touch, or eat our crops, birds cause a range of problems that are disruptive to our daily lives. 

How can we find a solution to pest birds?

Many people will try any bird deterrent that they can find, and so many of these deterrents are causing harm and the loss of our bird populations. Read on to discover how to safely and humanely deter birds with permanent bird control.

The question now is: How does a bird deterrent work?

How different Bird Deterrents Deter or Scare Birds Away

Bird deterrents are devices and/or methods designed to discourage birds from landing or roosting in “protected” areas. Business owners may choose to deter pest birds utilizing physical barriers, audio frequency blasts, visual deterrents, chemical pesticides, and simple electromagnetic fields. 

Each type of deterrent has its own pros and cons, and their effectiveness varies depending on the species of bird and the situation. The bird deterrents discussed in this article will help your to choose the best bird deterrent for your situation.

Physical Barriers

Physical barriers, such as bird spikes, are the most common bird deterrents. They work by blocking the birds from landing on ledges, window sills, or other surfaces. While these barriers can be effective in keeping birds from roosting, they are unsightly, cause damage to property and the birds, and even may not effectively deter smaller birds. What is worse, is that the birds of all sizes can find ways to adapt to these deterrents, making them effective only until the birds adapt.

Audio Frequency

Audio deterrents, such as bird distress calls or ultrasonic devices, are designed to emit sounds that are unpleasant or intimidating to birds. When birds hear these sounds, they are designed to make birds feel uncomfortable and encourage them to move elsewhere. While birds hate these sounds initially, they are very adaptive and can get used to the sound(s), making the deterrent ineffective, while some birds may not be affected by audio deterrents, at all.


Most bird deterrents rely on scaring birds. Visual deterrents, such as scare balloons, spinners, fake birds of prey, or reflective attachments, are designed to scare birds by creating the illusion of danger. A visual deterrent scares birds and can be effective in condition specific areas, but their effectiveness can vary depending on the species of bird and the affected environment. Just like audio deterrents, visual deterrents can also lose their effectiveness over time, as birds become used to them and they no longer succeed in keeping birds away.


Chemical deterrents, not unlike bird repellent sprays, are designed to make surfaces unpleasant for pesky birds to land on or touch and can also cause harm to the birds. These can be effective in keeping birds from landing on specific surfaces, but their effectiveness may vary depending on the location, the bird and the elements. Some birds eventually get used to the chemical deterrents, and then stop being deterred.

Electromagnetic Fields

Electromagnetic Deterrents, are designed utilizing technology that creates an electromagnetic “force field” around a structure or area, causing temporary navigation confusion for the birds which prevents them from landing. 

Since this technology taps into the bird’s physiology, it makes it unlearnable, the birds can’t adapt. 

Electromagnetic deterrents work on both large and small birds with any variety of temperaments, making them the best bird deterrents. These deterrents have been found to be effective in protecting a wide variety of structures, are known to be safe, and provide a do-no-harm, permanent solution. 

Bird deterrents can be effective in keeping birds away, but their effectiveness varies based on the species of bird and the area of desired protection. 

Physical barriers are the most common bird deterrents, but they may not be suitable for all locations. 

Audio and visual deterrents can be effective in the short-term, but birds can get used to them. 

Chemical deterrents can be effective, but their effectiveness may vary, they may cause cascading harm in your environment, and birds can be immune or develop immunity to the effects of this type of treatment.  

Electromagnetic deterrents are effective, humane, and suitable for most structures. They are designed to be unlearnable, by affecting the bird’s navigation abilities, which are similar in many birds. 

When researching your situation and appropriate bird deterrent, it’s important to consider the specific problem you’re trying to solve, the bird type, and the environment of the area you are protecting.

In some cases, a combination of different bird deterrents may be more effective than just one. The best way to keep birds away from a specific area is to make the area inhospitable, unattractive, or uncomfortable to the birds.

While bird deterrents can be effective, in certain situations, it is important to remember that they are not a perfect solution to all bird-related problems.

In some cases, it may be necessary to employ a combination of deterrents, or to try different deterrents until you find one that works for your specific situation. It is important to use bird deterrents in a humane and ethical way, as many bird species are protected by law.

About the Author: Leslie Wescott – VP of Sales, Out of Home

Leslie is a career OOH executive, with a focus on technological innovation & disruption in that space. Centering her career around leading and developing best practices for the industry, owner budgetary concerns, and environmental property hazards.

To start a conversation about OOH and bird abatement contact Leslie @ or team at:

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The easiest way to keep birds away, is to let them relocate themselves.

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