Do you have a garden and want to scare off birds and rodents that are destroying your garden? In this article we’ll share with you a concise list of 6 scary garden owl decoy options to keep other birds away. Plus, we’ll address common questions about owl decoys.
But make sure to read the whole way through to get all the tips on how to get the biggest scares from your owl decoy.
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Table of Contents
Does a garden owl decoy work to scare away birds and garden pests?
How well a fake predator works to scare away prey depends on how closely the fake predator mimics the real thing. (Reference: Marsh et al. 1992)
In the case of garden owls, the more “real” it looks, moves, and sounds, the better it’ll be at scaring away other birds and small mammals.
So, your scary owl decoy won’t look so scary if it sits in the same spot day after day not moving at all. The other birds will get habituated to it, and they won’t be scared anymore.
What can you do to make your garden owl more scary?
Since more lifelike owl decoys will work better to scare away other birds – and continue to scare them away in the future – you can do a few things to improve your scary owl decoy.
- Get a garden owl that moves, swivels or rotates
- Buy a scary owl that makes sounds
- Move your garden owl around your yard (if it stays in the same spot all the time other animals will notice this and not be scared)
- You could try hanging your garden owl so it’ll move in the wind
Make your garden a threatening place for birds
Birds that feed upon your garden seeds and fruit trees have adapted to weigh the benefits of finding food to the risks of being killed by predators.
If the birds think that the risk of harvesting seeds from your garden is too great, they’ll fly somewhere else to look for food.
Therefore, the more threatening you can make your garden, the better chance that the birds will leave your garden alone.
To make your garden a threatening spot to birds and small mammals, you need to have a fake owl or other decoy that appears lifelike.
You want the little seed-eating birds to think their life is in danger.
According to this study, birds are more scared of sounds than of visual decoys.
This is why you may hear loud banging sounds coming from orchards. That is the sound of propane-fired cannons blasting away.
To make the best use of this knowledge about birds being scared of sounds, you should try to get a garden owl that makes sounds too.
6 scary Garden Owls for your Garden or Porch
Let’s start the list of owl scarecrows, and hopefully one of them will work for your garden or porch.
Garden Owl with Rotating Head
This owl scarecrow has a rotating head that twists in the wind. (It is not electronic so need to replace batteries.)
To stop your local birds from getting used to it and therefore not being scared of it, you should move this fake owl around your yard and garden every couple of days.
If you keep an owl scarecrow like this in the same place for several days, the birds will get habituated to it and they won’t be scared of it anymore. So move it around.
You fill its base with sand to help keep it upright during windy days.
Home Depot Owl with Rotating & Bobbing Head
This Easy Gardener Garden Defense Action Owl is available at Home Depot.
It has a spot at the back of its head where you attach fin-like thing that catches the breeze and makes the fake owl rotate and bob its head.
Click here for more details of this owl scarecrow.
Solar Powered Owl Scarecrow with Rotating Head
This garden owl has a rotating head that moves every few minutes depending on how much energy it has collected through the solar panel on its head. It is quite tall too…it is 18-inches tall.
From what I’ve read about this fake owl (and most others too) is that it doesn’t deter pigeons from roosting and pooping near your house.
So if pigeons are the bane of your existence, you may need to find another option (such as the spiked roosting deterrents).
This SOL-R Action Owl is made up of at least 80% post-consumer recycled plastic.
Motion Sensing Owl Decoy with Sound (and Glowing Eyes)
This motion sensor owl from Solar Owl Guardians will light up its eyes and make a hooting sound when it senses movement using its motion sensor.
There is a switch on the side if you want to shut off the sound and only have the glowing eyes.
Owl Decoy with Sound – Motion Activated Hooting Owl (Solar Powered)
This scary owl doesn’t give a hoot…well, it kind of does. People say it sounds more like a cry than a hoot, but the noise should help scare off birds and little vermin.
It is motion activated to rotate its head and make sounds, plus it has glowing eyes to increase the fear factor.
An owl scarecrow like this may not work to scare off every single bird, but buyers seem to like it. (Just make sure you weight it down…it may be a little top-heavy).
Fake Owl with Flapping Wings (Prowler Owl by Bird-X)
This seems like a good idea. You stick this garden owl onto a post then mount the post somewhere where the breeze can catch its wings and is supposed to make it look like it is flying.
If I was a bird, I think I’d be afraid of this.
Yet reviewers on Home Depot said it didn’t work to scare off pigeons or sparrows, and the flapping wings didn’t hold up to strong winds.
Do you get strong winds where you live?
If so, this may not be the best option for you.
I hope this article on garden owl decoys has helped you choose one that suits your needs.
Remember, the birds coming into your garden need to fear for their safety so your owl scarecrow needs to be convincingly threatening.
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