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Bird Scare Devices
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About The Group Our Goals Actions to Date Types of Devices Impacts of Noise What's the Problem Solutions Links Contacts Who to Complain To


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This page discusses the various types of bird scare devices the Ban the Cannons group has seen on surrounding farms, and uncovered on our voyages on the internet. They are listed in three categories as follows:
  • The Good: quiet and environmentally friendly products, such as nets,
  • The Bad: products of questionable value, such as repellents,
  • The Ugly: noisy or environmentally harmful, such as propane cannons or poisons.
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The Good:
  • New The Eagle is the latest silent bird scare device our group has found on the internet. This device is a model of a bird, or eagle, that soars on a tethered line and patrols fields up to 2.5 acres. For more details, please visit our Eagle page.
  • New Inflatables, recently a UK group sent us an e-mail describing their new bird scare device designed initially for airports, by people in the aviation industry. The device can also be used in other applications, including agriculture, and is currently in the testing phase. For more details, please see our Inflatables page.
  • Nets, our number one recommendation for bird control. Nets that totally enclose a blueberry crop are environmentally friendly, and virtually 100% effective in protecting a crop from birds.
  • Side Netting, a variation of total canopy netting described above. This approach has been used by an Oregon grape grower with great success and is described in more detail on our side netting page.
  • Automated Netting Systems, are now available that greatly reduce the number of man hours required to cover crops with nets, making netting a much more viable option for berry and grape farmers. For more information, see our automated netting page.
  • The Silent Sentinel, recently the Right to Quiet Society of Vancouver found an article in a local paper about a new device designed to deter birds. The device is a series of flags strung over rows of berries that rotate and flap to scare birds. For more details, please see our Silent Sentinel page.
  • Lasers, a Cloverdale berry farmer has invented a laser unit that is effective in scaring birds from his fields. Lasers are totally silent and work better than cannons according to the inventor. The details can be found on our laser page.
  • Scare Windmills, reflective windmills, powered by the wind. The reflective blade surfaces flash UV light that scares birds, silently.
  • Streamers and reflective tapes, quiet and environmentally friendly.
  • Overhead Scare Eye Balloons and heli-kites, that simulate hawks in flight, or large owl eyes.
  • Mylar vibrating line, a thin line that flashes and also vibrates and hums to scare birds.
  • Metal and mirrored flashers, such as hanging pie plates, mirrors, etc.
  • High frequency noise devices, products that put out a high frequency noise that humans can't hear, but birds can hear and are frightened by.
  • Hawk & Owl silhouettes, similar to balloons and kites.
  • Natural Predators, one of our members recently pointed out that hawks and owls are natural predators of starlings, and these birds should be encouraged to nest in the vicinity of berry fields. I did a little more research into this alternative, and more details can be found on our Natural Predators page.
  • Canine Patrols used successfully by golf courses to discourage birds and waterfowl. Also used at airports to deter birds for safety reasons.
  • Professional Trapping, recently one of our members came across a solution used by Washington State berry growers to reduce fruit damage caused by European Starlings. Their approach is described in more detail on our Pro-Trapping page.
  • Bird Traps, to catch and dispatch the European Starling.
  • ScareCrows
The Bad:
  • Chemical Repellents, some of these products are biodegradable and non poisonous, and supposedly when sprayed on blueberries and other fruit, birds won't eat the fruit. Our first thought is what's in this stuff and what are the impacts on humans. Apparently it works, but if these items are poisonous, they belong in the "ugly" category.

The Ugly:
  • Propane Cannons, enough has already been said about these devices on other pages of this website, but in case you have never seen one, pictures of two different models are displayed on our Cannon Page. And if you are thinking of buying a propane cannon, think again! Give your neighbors a break.
  • AV Alarms, this device has driven one of our members to total distraction. It produces bird distress sounds, with the thought that the sound of a bird in distress will warn other birds to stay away. In our member's situation, this distress noise goes off every 11 seconds and lasts 11 seconds in duration, dawn to dusk. And the product on our AV Alarm page can crank this out at 120 decibels. Talk about ugly. Check out the pictures of the various types of these devices on our AV Alarm page.
  • PyroTechnics in general, which include a whole host of noisemakers like hand held blank guns, rockets, screechers, and many other noisemaking articles.
  • Poisons, in our internet travels several government sites suggest poisons as a way of reducing bird populations. But you have to know that using poisons, like using herbicides and pesticides, will find its way back into the very food that we eat. Why not just spray a little on the blueberries while you're at it!
  • Shotguns and rifles, just what we want is the neighborhood blueberry farmer shooting off his gun, see our Gun page. I'm sure that using guns in a populated area like the Fraser Valley of British Columbia is illegal, anyway.

Concluding Thoughts:

After pulling this information together your webmaster is convinced that nets are the way to go. With one of these options you do not need any of the other "stuff" in the bad and ugly categories, and there would be no conflicts with neighbors or with the environment.

My biggest concern after doing this work is the section on repellents and poisons. If some farmers actually use this stuff, I shudder to think what we are eating. I didn't look at articles in great detail concerning pest control either, but blueberries suffer from the usual array of pests, and a few sites go into the details of pest spraying to kill bugs, mites, and control fungus and molds, etc. They talk about using diazinon, malathion, and a whole host of other poisonous sprays. When I finish the topics concerning noise I am going to find out about sprays and will add a section to this site. It might be scary.

And my biggest disappointment is our own Environment Canada suggesting that robins can be a pest species and shooting them is one solution. Can you believe that an organization that considers itself environmental can suggest shooting robins as a solution to anything??

Banning propane cannons is a sound idea

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