The spring and summer months are excellent for bird-watching. As the weather warms up and migratory species return, it's not uncommon to enjoy light birdsong while out on the patio or while tending to your home garden. However, while songbirds can bring pleasant sights and sounds, the warm months can bring trouble: Birds on the patio can present a nuisance or – in the case of pest birds like the European starling or English sparrow – a health hazard, if a large flock of the birds arrives. Luckily, a number of options exist to keep birds in the garden and off of the house.
TL;DR (Too Long; Didn't Read)
TL;DR (Too Long; Didn't Read)
Birds left to their own devices on and above the patio or deck can cause problems beyond just being a minor nuisance. Tactics to prevent birds from congregating can range from a change in food available in bird feeders to sonic deterrents that can disorient flying flocks or broadcast things to scare birds away from the area.
The easiest ways to keep birds from setting down where they shouldn't involve taking control of what birds are attracted to your property, and controlling where the birds can and cannot land. To prevent flocks of starlings and sparrows, the food in a bird feeder can be switched out, avoiding suet and corn in favor of safflower seeds, whole peanuts, sunflower seeds inside the shell and nyjer. Cleaning away loose and fallen feed can discourage birds from setting down, and placing feeders away from the patio or deck can help you keep birds off the patio. Anti-nesting spikes can be placed along roofs and drainage pipes, as well as on tree branches, if desired. Bird netting can also be used to prevent entry to potential roosting places in gazebos and other lawn structures. If necessary, shock strips can be placed along deck rails to prevent landing on those surfaces. Statues of hawks and owls can be placed in certain areas to scare birds from the area at night in particular.
Bird Repellent Sound
If birds still congregate after the basic steps have been taken, it may be worth using more advanced avian management techniques. The strongest of these come in the form of sensory deterrents, which use refracted light and sound to keep birds away from the area. Reflectors will disorient the birds as they fly and prevent them from landing safely, and chemical treatments can scare birds away for an extended period of time – though this may scare away songbirds as well as nuisance birds. In the same way, sonic deterrents that broadcast bird repellent sound can result in a wide variety of birds leaving the area. These can be used to great effect to prevent flocks of birds from nesting on and around your patio, as they will blast bird distress cries or high-frequency sounds that hinder flock communication.
- Mercury News: Messy Bird Droppings Ruffling Woman’s Feathers
- Dengarden: How to Keep Birds off of Patio Furniture
- Terminix: How to Help Keep Birds Away
- Avian Enterprises: Three Ways to Keep Birds Away From the Patio, Porch and Deck
- Quick and Dirty Tips: How to Keep Birds Away From Your Patio, Pool, and Garden
- University of Missouri Extension: Controlling Nuisance Blackbirds in Roosts
- Progressive Dairy: Sonic Net Could Keep Starlings Away
- Pennsylvania State University Extension: Controlling birds around farm buildings
- Birds and Blooms: Bully Birds at Feeders
- Backyard Chirper: How to Keep Starlings From Taking Over Your Bird Feeders
- FalconForce: Problem Birds
About the Author
Blake Flournoy is a writer, reporter, and researcher based out of Baltimore, MD. Working independently and alongside professors at Goucher College, they have produced and taught a number of educational programs and workshops for high school and college students in the Baltimore area, finding new ways to connect students to biology, psychology, and statistics. They have never seen Seinfeld and are deathly scared of wasps.
Hemera Technologies/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images