How to Get Rid of Birds in Your Yard

When you want to get rid of the birds that are henpecking you, think:

  • Repel
  • Relocate
  • Reduce

But before you plot your attack, make sure your feathered foes aren’t part of a protected species.

1. Repellents get rid of birds

To repel birds, you can blast them, make it challenging for them to nest, or trick them. A propane cannon gets rid of birds with loud explosions that sound like shotgun blasts. Propane cannons run on the same propane tanks as barbeques. The blasts can be over 100 decibels, so consider whether you (and the neighbors) can listen to the noise all day. Cannons start around $275, but you’ll spend another $100 on accessories like timers and tripods.

To make nesting hard, put up bird spikes ($50 for 10 feet of spikes). To trick birds, try high-tech gadgets like sonic devices that mimic the sound of birds’ distress calls ($110 and up). The birds hear what they think is another bird in distress and fly away. The drawback: You’ll have to listen to those bird distress calls, too.

You can get rid of large birds by training your dog to chase them. Home improvement stores sell spray repellents that are supposed to get rid of birds ($40), but there’s no scientific proof they work. If you’re trying to get rid of birds in a limited area, a physical barrier like bird netting ($200 for a 25 ft. x 25 ft. net) or wire fencing might work.

Shop online for repellents or physical barriers by doing a search for “bird control products.”

2. Get rid of birds by relocating or roasting them

If blasting, poking, and tricks don’t work, hire a wildlife expert to trap and relocate large birds. If you have the stomach for it, pop trapped birds into the oven for a free and tasty supper. “With the proper permits, geese can be rounded up and—in some cases—made into poultry burgers to help stock food pantries,” says Paul Curtis, associate professor and extension wildlife specialist at Cornell University. “Needless to say, this can be controversial.”

3. Reduce: Put birds on the pill

To reduce the number of  bothersome birds over time, you can limit the next generation by removing nests or destroying eggs. For English sparrows or feral pigeons, remove eggs at two-week intervals in the spring and summer. To gradually decrease pigeon or duck flocks, you (or more likely your home owners association or local government) can feed the birdsbirth control pills ($330 for pellets and feeder) so they don’t reproduce.

You may have to do it all

Any one of these tactics may not work by itself and if it does work, it might not work for long. Even if you get rid of birds bothering you today, more may move in tomorrow. To get the best results, switch up your attack. Move the propane gun frequently, glue spikes on the house, and put a hound on your front porch.

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