Roots 'n' Shoots: DIY Bird Deterrent (Part 1)

Sunday, 19 May 2013

DIY Bird Deterrent (Part 1)

During the summer growing season we have had some problems with Black-eyed Bulbuls that help themselves to our tomatoes, raspberries and figs. The nasty little buggers always managed to get to the fruits just when they’ve ripened – the cats aren't doing their jobs of scaring the birds away J!

Black-Eyed Bulbul - what naughty little birds!
Pycnonotus tricolor
Snowmanradio, Derek Keats

So with some old CDs and a bit of creative savvy I made a few bird deterrents. Initially I wanted to purchase one of those reflective bird pyramids, but after seeing the price and surviving a minor heart attack – I decided to create my own based on the same principle.

So birds' visual colour - and light spectrums are different to humans. Humans can see in the 400-750nm wavelength range (the visual light range, indicated on the figure below). Our range has a normalised bell curve (the purple curve on the left side of the figure below) and our optimum colour range peaks at 555nm (which is green). Whereas birds have three optimum range peaks, one at green (508m), blue (445nm) and red (565nm). This makes birds more sensitive to these colours, red being the most prominent. By incorporating red and reflective surfaces into your bird deterrent devices will make your garden a literal eye-sore to birds and they will avoid landing close by.

Bird vision: as compared to human vision.
Top: Electromagnetic spectrum of light (note circle indicates the visible light spectrum); Inductive load & N174, Wikipedia.
Left: Human visual spectrum, with normalised curve superimposed, same axes lables as on right; Vanessaezekowits& BenRG, Wikipedia. 
Right: Bird visual spectrum, L. Shaymal, Wikipedia.

So I took some old scratched up CDs, glued some red and mirror mosaic pieces onto them and voila! It works really well… given the sun is shining J. A lot less expensive than the bird pyramids! Hung one close by the chicken coop to scare off would-be pigeon scavengers that eat all the chicken pellets – don’t worry; it is hung at pigeon-eye level, not chicken eye-level, so the chickens are unaffected J. The CDs swing around when the wind blows, which scatters light across the garden and helps to fend off fruit thieves.

DIY Bird deterrents, front (left) and back (right) hung from tomato stakes. Now the tomatoes and chicken pellets can be spared!


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