Keeping birds away from precious fruit, vegetables or other plants and landscape features can be difficult. However, people have found many inventive ways to achieve this. The traditional scarecrow is still used in gardens today. However, a more modern approach is to hang old, unwanted CDs from tree branches to scare off birds. Research has shown that this method actually works.
How It Works
Birds are often deterred from landing on or near garden vegetables if their vision is distracted. A shiny, reflective CD hanging near the garden provides just the right movement and distraction needed to keep the birds away. "Country Living" magazine says a CD is more effective than an old-fashioned scarecrow and simpler than another common method, "putting a pair of pantyhose over sprouts and cabbages."
Birds, like most creatures, can get used to certain sounds and ignore them after a while. Kelly Cross, writing in "Pollution Engineering," said sound deterrents must "vary in frequency, duration and sequence." Arranging several CDs so they click against one another in random sound patterns helps keep birds away.
For the best effect, CDs strung in a tree must have both a sound quality that is disturbing to birds and a visual presence that wards them off. This visual presence ideally would include movement, which is why the familiar plastic owl sold in home and garden stores eventually loses effectiveness. Because the owl never moves, birds get over being afraid of it. Mirrors, which have a reflective quality similar to CDs, have also been used to deter birds, including crows nesting on power poles and short-circuiting the conductors. "The Aberdeen Press and Journal" noted that crows are afraid of their own reflection, so the mirrors "fool the birds into nesting somewhere safer."
Some crafty vineyard owners who were losing a great deal of their crops to of birds used a deterrent similar to CDs. They hung mirror-covered disco balls in the vineyards. Rod Windrim told the "Newcastle Herald" that the movement of the disco ball "shoots shards of light bouncing across the property," scaring away the birds. A group of CDs fastened together in a circle or swinging in the breeze can do the same thing.
- Langrish, Kate. "Keeping Out." Country Living 29.3 (2006): 74. MasterFILE Premier. EBSCO. Web. 8 Aug. 2011.
- Crost, Kelly. "PEST CONTROL." Pollution Engineering 40.9 (2008): 54. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. Web. 8 Aug. 2011.
- "Mirrors used to deter crows from nesting on power poles." Press & Journal, The (Aberdeen) 04 May 2005: 6. Newspaper Source Plus. EBSCO. Web. 8 Aug. 2011.
- TIM, ELLIOTT. "This vineyard disco is open, but no birds allowed." Newcastle Herald, The (includes the Central Coast Herald) 30 Jan. 2010: 3.Newspaper Source Plus. EBSCO. Web. 8 Aug. 2011.
- "Spotlight On: Bird Deterrent." Pest Control 69.10 (2001): 60. EBSCO. Web. 11 Aug. 2011.
Shaun Perkins has written for publications since 1980. Her work has appeared in journals and newspapers such as "Slipstream," "The Phoenix," "Storytelling," "The Current" and "Beatin' Edge." She teaches at the high school and college levels and she holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Oklahoma State University and a Master in Liberal Studies from the University of Oklahoma.