Do artificial owls keep away birds?

svg divider

There are quite a few creatures out there that are afraid of owls, as well as a range of other flying predators, and with good reason too. These owls have an advantage from their place in the sky, and can often swoop down on victims before they’ve even had a chance to realize what’s going on.

Lots of different creatures fall prey to the humble owl, including bugs, worms, snails, crabs, amphibians and reptiles, other birds, fish, spiders, and even larger animals, such as mice, rats, rabbits, stray cats and dogs (given half the chance), and even as big as bobcats, herons, weasels and wolves. You’d be amazed at the bravery of owls, and how large they can get to also. As we’ve said, they have a definite advantage being up their high in the sky, and the prey on the ground usually doesn’t know what’s hit it.

Because of this, owls are often used as a deterrent to keep a wide range of wild animals from your garden or land, including other birds. Plastic, rubber and even wood varieties can be bought and installed in the hardest-hit areas, and the idea is to fool other wild critters into thinking an owl is close, and hopefully encourage them to move right along.

Sadly, this is rarely the case.

We’ve seen cases of pigeons actually landing on plastic owl decoys that have been installed on chimneys and roofs. It seems that quite a few other wild critters aren’t that bothered by the dummy decoy either, choosing to ignore it entirely and carry on with their day. The thing with plastic or rubber decoys is that they are just that — plastic or rubber decoys. They don’t smell like a wild animal, and they definitely don’t smell like an owl. They don’t really look that good either. They don’t move for a start, and these birds ... Well, owls fly. Decoys do not.

After a while, the lack of owl smell, owl movement, and owl sounds are going to ring alarm bells with the animals the decoys had worked to deter, if they even worked to deter them at all. Would a cardboard cut out of a human being in the window of a house deter burglars? Probably, yes, for the first day or so. But, after a couple of days when the cardboard cut out hadn’t moved, the burglars would realize the decoy plan, and probably break in anyway.

Animals aren’t stupid. We’d have a much easier time getting rid of them from our homes if we stopped pretending they were.

When you use deterrents to get rid of wild animals such as raccoons, the only one that has been shown to have any success, is eviction fluid. This isn’t a deterrent that just looks scary, it smells scary. The fluid actually contains urine, as well as other gland secretions, from male predatory animals, usually from male foxes. If the owl deterrent were to smell like an owl, as well as look like one, you might have better luck. But you’re putting a bird decoy up. How effective do you really think it will be?

If you’re asking for our professional opinion, we’d tell you not to waste your money on bird decoys. They rarely work, and when they do work, they only work for a short space of time. There are far better measures you can take to bird-proof your home, and they’ll probably work out cheaper in the long run too. These owl decoys can be expensive!