Fake owls might sound like a hoot, but they're useful for more than just decoration. The plastic birds can scare away other birds like pigeons and seagulls, which can cause a mess on your roof. A perfectly-perched owl could also stare down any rabbits munching on the plants in your garden. Fake owls are usually stationary objects, sometimes with glowing eyes for a more lifelike look at night, or mechanical items that flap their wings and let out the odd hoot. Placing your fake-feathered friend in just the right position will either scare away pesky animals or create a new perch for them.
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In a Flap
First, select the perfect owl. If you have a big problem with birds messing on or even nesting on your roof, which could potentially cause damage, a mechanical owl might be your best option. Many are solar-powered and set off by nearby activity. The added benefits of noise making and flapping make these birds more realistic and just that extra bit scarier. If you just like owls and want one as a decoration, or your problems are minor, a stationary bird can also be effective if placed in a realistic position. Some fake owls have sprung heads, which move from side to side, for an in-between solution.
Setting It Up
Remove your owl from its box (or nest) and discard any packaging. Most non-mechanical plastic owls are hollow, so you can fill them with sand, grit or gravel. Otherwise, they might actually fly away because of the wind.
The Perfect Perch
Generally, the rule with placement is the higher the better. Ideally, the owl should be looking down at the birds causing nuisance, so somewhere like a chimney or tucked in an eave would be perfect. If rabbits are the issue, sit or crouch in your garden to replicate their line of vision. Pick a spot that's clearly visible from the rabbit's eye view. A tree branch, about the height of a standard ladder, could also work. If you live in an apartment, the edge of a balcony or a window ledge might be your only options. Your bird should still help to deter any passing pigeons, though.
Put in Position
Your owl should come with mounting equipment and instructions. If not, or if you want something extra secure, drill holes through its feet. Use a ladder to reach your chosen spot and screw or nail it in place. Make sure the ladder is completely secure, ideally with someone holding its base. You can use a cable tie to attach the owl to a tree branch. Another method is to remove the bung from the bottom of your owl, without filling the bird. Attach a small post or broom handle to a tree branch or fence post by drilling in screws, or secure to a chimney or ledge with cable ties. Then simply place the bird on top, so the post is inside.
Move It Around
Once the owl is up, be sure to move it around on a regular basis. Otherwise, the birds or rabbits might start to suspect it isn't the real deal. The birds could even begin to view it as a nice place to sit. Switching things up a bit should stop them getting wise.