Does Putting CDs in a Tree Scare Off Birds?

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.

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An unwanted CD can become a bird deterrent.

How It Works

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A CD's shiny reflection can help keep birds away from plants.

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."

Sound Deterrent

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.

Visual Deterrent

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."

Innovative Deterrent

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CDs and disco balls can serve the same bird deterrent function.

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.