Dummy Predator Birds
Life size plastic replicas of North American Eagle Owls (530mm high), Little Owls (240mm high), and flying falcons (wing span 530mm) are available. These do not work just left on a ledge on their own as is so often done. In these circumstances, pest birds will soon become accustomed to them and use them as a windbreak, a sunshade or even a perch. However, plastic owls have been found to be useful as part of a managed scaring strategy. For example, they have been used in conjunction with distress call systems (see below) to help deter starlings from daytime feeding areas on farms. In this strategy, the owls are regularly moved around the site to different ‘perches’ so that the starlings do not become habituated to them.
Silhouettes of predator birds can be fixed to large areas of glass to help prevent birds flying into them. However, it is not thought that these have any effect on deterring birds from actually landing on the glass (if it’s horizontal or gently sloping) once they know what it is.
Predator Eye Balloons
These are plastic balloons that can be inflated with air to approximately 430mm diameter, and suspended from trees etc. They are brightly coloured with large ‘eyes’ on them and they are reported to have some effect at scaring away garden birds. Due to their appearance however, they would not normally be considered appropriate for adorning buildings, so their effect against urban pest species is unknown.
Combining scary shape and movement appears to have some effect e.g. kites shaped like a bird of prey and suspended from a string and waved around; or kites attached to helium filled balloons that make them ‘hover’ in the wind. However, these systems are very labour intensive, and not commonly used for urban bird control.