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How to Keep Birds Out of Trees: 15 Humane Ways

bird on the grass

Even though birds are beautiful and pleasant to look at, they can cause a lot of damage to your yard and trees. If you have gardens, you know that birds that hang out in your trees are a possible death sentence for the vegetation.

For this reason, it’s important to know some ways to keep birds out of trees. However, you don’t want to harm the bird in the process. Instead, it’s important to use humane methods for keeping birds out of trees. Here are 15 methods to try:

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The 15 Humane Ways to Keep Birds Out of Trees

1. Remove All Food Sources

eastern bluebird perched on tree
Photo By: Naturelady, Pixabay

The first step in getting rid of any birds is to remove food sources. Food sources include fruit-producing plants, seed-producing plants, and bird feeders. You will also want to remove bird baths.

If you do not remove the food sources, the birds will keep coming back for more.

2. Remove Roosting Locations

You must remove roosting locations as well, such as roosting boxes. If you notice a bird has begun making a nest, remove the nest before she lays eggs. Once the female has laid her eggs, you cannot move the nest according to most laws. So, remove nests as soon as they are spotted.

3. Bird Repellent Kite

Cute hummingbird sitting on bird feeder
Photo Credit: chris-f, Pexels

In addition to removing food sources and roosting locations, you must be proactive in deterring the bird. You can use a bird-repellent kite.

Bird repellent kites look like hawks or owls, which are natural predators to small birds that roost in your trees. They also include bright colors and reflections that further deter birds. This kite will not harm the birds, but it will scare them away.

The only downside of this method is that you need wind for the kite to fly. Depending on your region, a bird-repellent kite may not be an option.

4. Owl Decoy

If you don’t have a lot of wind or don’t want to put up a repellent kite, you can put up an owl decoy instead. An owl decoy looks just like an owl. Because most birds are scared of owls, they will stay away from the decoy.

With an owl decoy, you will need to change its location. Some birds are smart enough to pick up on the fact that it does not move. Moving the decoy will keep birds away. For best results, get a motion-activated decoy that moves whenever birds approach.

5. Scarecrow

scarecrows in the garden
Image Credit: Piqsels

Similar to the owl decoy is the scarecrow method. Scarecrows are designed to scare away birds because they look large and ominous. Much like the owl decoy, you will need to change the location of the scarecrow, or else smart birds will begin to catch on to the fact that it is not alive.

6. Motion-Activated Sprinkler

Motion-activated sprinklers are a great way to nourish your lawn while harmlessly scaring away birds. With a motion-activated sprinkler, the water fires when the bird is spotted. Because this water was unexpected, it will scare away the bird and deter it from coming back.

7. Bird-Deterrent Lasers

colorful birdhouse
Image Credit: MabelAmber, Pixabay

Many bird repellent methods only work during the day. If you need a night method, try a bird deterrent laser. Bird deterrent lasers are night activated and will shoot on whenever motion is detected. These features help to deter birds as well as criminals and thieves.

8. Reflections

Birds are normally scared of reflections, whether it be their own reflection or light reflected from a mirrored surface. You can use this to your advantage to deter birds harmlessly. Install mirrors around your trees. Old CDs work perfectly because they can easily get hung from the tree and are low cost.

9. Balloons

Image Credit: Pixabay

You also have the option to tie balloons to the tree. The balloons are bigger than most birds, and they move with the wind. As such, most birds are afraid of balloons and will avoid trees with balloons attached.

Be very careful if you use this method. Once the balloons pop, make sure to clean up the debris. If not, the balloon becomes a choking hazard to all the wildlife in your area.

10. Bird Roosting Spikes

If you’ve tried the more unobtrusive methods and birds keep coming back, try bird roosting spikes. These spikes are installed around trees and other roosting surfaces.

Although this option looks painful, the spikes do not harm the bird. Instead, the spikes make it impossible for the birds to roost so they have to fly elsewhere.

This method is not harmful, but it isn’t the most attractive, especially if you have a tree in your front yard that you are especially proud of.

11. Non-Toxic Bird Repellent

Cleaning spray
Image Credit: polina_tankilevitch, Pexels

There are certain smells that birds hate. As such, non-toxic bird repellents have been made. These repellents have the smell that birds hate, but they don’t actually harm the birds. The smell is just annoying and distasteful enough that birds stay away. Spray the repellent across the tree and anywhere else you don’t want the birds to roost.

12. Sonic Sound Devices

Everyone knows the sound of a gunshot scares away birds. Instead of shooting into the air, you can use a sonic sound device. A sonic sound device replicates the sound of a blast, and it can make birds fly from 10 acres away.

The big downside of this method is that it is completely audible to the human ear. If you live in a neighborhood or enjoy your own peace and quiet, a sonic sound device will certainly be annoying.

13. Ultrasonic Bird Repellent

spraying on air plants
Image Credit: Memories Over Mocha, Shutterstock

There are ways that you can deter birds with sound without disrupting your neighbors or peace of mind. Birds can hear frequencies that humans cannot. With an ultrasonic bird repellent device, you can scare birds away with a sound that is not audible to the human ear.

As you might imagine, ultrasonic bird repellent is often more favorable than sonic sound devices. They are unobtrusive, effective, and can easily keep the peace in the neighborhood.

14. Physical Barriers

In the case that you have a young tree that you don’t want birds to get to because it is still growing, you can always add physical barriers around the object.

Chicken wire and other similar materials can be placed completely around the tree so that birds cannot get to the tree. The physical barriers are obtrusive, but they get the job done.

15. Bird Shock Tape

finch bird house-pixabay
Image Credit: emrose5561, Pixabay

The last method to consider is this bird shock tape. Bird shock tape is not entirely humane, but it may be an option if the birds are posing a serious health risk to you and your pets. Shock tape somewhat works like a shock collar. It emits a small amount of electricity so that the birds are shocked and scared away, though not harmed.

Of all the 15 methods, this one is our least favorite because it does temporarily harm the birds. Plus, it is illegal to harm a migratory species in any way. Given you can’t control when birds will lay on the shock tape, you might end up harming a migratory and protected species.

Overall, we don’t recommend this product, but it may be necessary depending on your situation. Try out the other 14 methods before choosing bird shock tape. This is a last-resort option.

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What Can You Put in Trees to Keep Birds Away?

There are many items you can put in a tree to keep birds away. Some of the most common include owl decoys, scarecrow decoys, roosting spikes, non-toxic bird repellent, bird deterrent lasers, reflective surfaces, CDs, and balloons.

Almost all these methods work by scaring the bird away so that it doesn’t even want to land on your tree. These methods are also safe and completely pain-free for the bird.

trees & plants divider Conclusion

If you have pesky birds hanging out in your tree, try one of the 15 methods above. The first 14 methods are completely humane and harm-free so that the birds are deterred from your property without being harmed in the process. The bird shock tape is an option, but it isn’t entirely humane. Only use this as a last-ditch effort.

Featured Image Credit: marliesplatvoet, Pixabay


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