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View Full Version : Myth?? Fake owls scare birds



TriangleMan
2004-Nov-13, 08:40 PM
I was in a hardware store today and someone was buying one of those fake plastic owls to keep birds away from their garden. Does anyone know if those things actually work? I highly doubt crows would be too flustered by them - they're smart buggers, but does it work against other birds?

jami cat
2004-Nov-13, 09:07 PM
I was in a hardware store today and someone was buying one of those fake plastic owls to keep birds away from their garden. Does anyone know if those things actually work? I highly doubt crows would be too flustered by them - they're smart buggers, but does it work against other birds?

A long time ago I though they were Government Spy cameras snooping on us disguised as owls, cause they were everywhere.

But, later I asked and found out that they are supposed to chase away "Pigeons" from roosting on your property or road sign.
You know how messy pigeons can get. >:

Do they work? I don't know.

You don't see many birds flocking towards them do you?

Candy
2004-Nov-13, 09:10 PM
My grandma used to keep a rubber snake around the porch. She said it scared everything away. :o

gethen
2004-Nov-13, 09:45 PM
I know guys who have used the fake owls to attempt to keep starlings from, er, crapping in their cattle's feed bins and people who have tried placing owls on the tops of their pontoon boats to keeps gulls from, er, crapping on their boats. Both say the same thing. The owls work for a little while, and then the birds notice they don't move and return to their original disgusting habits. So I guess you'd say they work, but only for the very short term.

Candy
2004-Nov-13, 09:56 PM
gethen, your story..

as I'm walking from my department to the ATM of World Head Quarters of United Airlines (second floor)...

I set this up, because the walk is like a half a mile. There is an imprint of an owl outside the glass windows by the drains.

I assumed the imprint was to scare off American Airlines. :o

Tobin Dax
2004-Nov-14, 12:08 AM
gethen, your story..

as I'm walking from my department to the ATM of World Head Quarters of United Airlines (second floor)...

I set this up, because the walk is like a half a mile. There is an imprint of an owl outside the glass windows by the drains.

I assumed the imprint was to scare off American Airlines. :o

rofl :lol: 8)

Humphrey
2004-Nov-14, 05:22 AM
I've got a Elephant whistle here. Guarabteed to stop and drive away all Rampagind Wild Elephants from your area.

Does not work on captive elepahnts

2004-Nov-14, 07:54 AM
We had one of those fake owls installed at work, to frighten away the gulls...After a day, they were trying to mate with the thing. =D>

Utterly useless!!! :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

Krevel
2004-Nov-14, 06:05 PM
I've seen pidgeons sitting right on top of them! So, no, they don't work.

Crows actually hate owls. An owl decoy will attract crows, not scare them off. They are also pretty smart, though, and will quickly figure out that it's a fake.

Humphrey
2004-Nov-14, 06:20 PM
So how about a mechanical version? Make one that turns its head, flaps its wings and hoots.

Parrothead
2004-Nov-14, 06:22 PM
Don't know if they work or not, but FWIW...from the show Twin Peaks (all those years ago) "The owls are not what they seem." :lol:

hdram225
2004-Nov-14, 06:43 PM
At my old high school, they had a fake own up above one of the entrances. I noticed it worked for a while, but then somone knocked the head off with a rock or something...it stopped working after that, but they left it up there headless anyway.

Moose
2004-Nov-14, 06:57 PM
Heh, this thread reminds me of a week-long period back when I was in college. The biology department (and the local pigeons) were in a right tizzy. It was the weirdest thing. You could see all the professors (armed with cameras and binocs) perched at the top-floor windows of the Life Sciences building, and every pigeon in the area were nervously crowding under any overhang they could find.

Apparently there was some kind of falcon or hawk, not native to the area, that'd been hanging about the area, feasting on any pigeon dumb enough to be in a hurry to be anywhere.

Pigeons have few natural enemies in Halifax. Usually, they only have to watch out for cats. People tend to feed them in the parks, so they're pretty docile. They'd been completely cowed by the presence of one lonely bird of prey.

Candy
2004-Nov-14, 08:10 PM
So how about a mechanical version? Make one that turns its head, flaps its wings and hoots. Why not a blow up version (from Pete's experience above)? :lol:

Humphrey
2004-Nov-14, 08:18 PM
Nah. We are in a college area of the city. Anything like that and its off the the frat house for some...umm...yah you get the idea. :o

tlbs101
2004-Nov-15, 04:49 AM
At WSU where I went to college, some of the "skywalks" have sillouettes of birds-of-prey in flight, taped to the large glass panes. Those do indeed work, to keep other birds from flying into the windows.

I have also seen fake owls posted on tops of tall security camera poles at a nearby industrial site to keep other birds from nesting and landing there. I don't know if they work, or not. I don't remember seeing alot of bird droppings at the base of those poles, though.

Andromeda321
2004-Nov-15, 05:04 AM
Where I spend the summers in New Hampshire some people put fake owls on their rafts to keep away the ducks. They work pretty well actually provided you remember to turn the owl/ reposition it to somewhere else on the raft so the ducks think it's moved (if you don't they're not stupid and will take chances eventually).

Candy
2004-Nov-15, 09:17 AM
Those do indeed work, to keep other birds from flying into the windows. OT: I've always wondered why humans run into glass doors. 8-[

TriangleMan
2004-Nov-15, 11:57 AM
So in summary fake owls will . . .

attract crows,
attract horny gulls ( :lol: )
scare ducks for a short period,
scare pidgeons a bit longer,
scare most other birds for a while after that,
(but not too long)
not work if they're headless ( :lol: )

Thanks everyone for the information. :)

jfribrg
2004-Nov-15, 02:55 PM
Some hawk watch locations,such as Hawk Mountain , Bake Oven Knob, and Fort Washington in Eastern PA, have fake owls attached on some very long poles. Occasionally you will get some of the smaller hawks flying by to dive at the owl. When they do, you get a rather spectacular view of the hawk. The one at hawk mountain is rather impressive. They took a plastic owl, and then glued some brown-dyed chicken feathers onto it. Very realistic from a distance.

BlueAnodizeAl
2004-Nov-15, 03:00 PM
I was in a hardware store today and someone was buying one of those fake plastic owls to keep birds away from their garden. Does anyone know if those things actually work? I highly doubt crows would be too flustered by them - they're smart buggers, but does it work against other birds?

I learned from a class I had over at KSC they have the fake owls on the shuttle's pads to keep the local wood peckers from poking holes in the shuttle main tank. Apparently the red-orange hue is the same color as the local woodpecker's favorite variety of tree.

2004-Nov-15, 03:53 PM
So how about a mechanical version? Make one that turns its head, flaps its wings and hoots. Why not a blow up version (from Pete's experience above)? :lol:

That would sure be a hoot! :oops:

Bawheid
2004-Nov-15, 04:50 PM
Why use owls when you can use killer whales? From this (http://travel.scotland.com/regions/northwest/) website:

"There are fish farms sheltering near the bays and coves along this coastline, and a recent and novel method of warding off salmon-destroying seals has been devised. A life-sized fibre-glass killer whale called Wally was put in the water near the fish tanks which has proved 100 per cent effective. The seals that took at least 200 fish per week now take none"

It was anchored and the fins were set up so it bobbed realistically in the swell.

Wally
2004-Nov-15, 05:15 PM
Why use owls when you can use killer whales? From this (http://travel.scotland.com/regions/northwest/) website:

"There are fish farms sheltering near the bays and coves along this coastline, and a recent and novel method of warding off salmon-destroying seals has been devised. A life-sized fibre-glass killer whale called Wally was put in the water near the fish tanks which has proved 100 per cent effective. The seals that took at least 200 fish per week now take none"

It was anchored and the fins were set up so it bobbed realistically in the swell.

It's all in the name dudes! Can't recall ever having problems with seals attacking the salmon in my freezer!

Now I know why! :)

Candy
2004-Nov-15, 06:00 PM
Why use owls when you can use killer whales? From this (http://travel.scotland.com/regions/northwest/) website:

"There are fish farms sheltering near the bays and coves along this coastline, and a recent and novel method of warding off salmon-destroying seals has been devised. A life-sized fibre-glass killer whale called Wally was put in the water near the fish tanks which has proved 100 per cent effective. The seals that took at least 200 fish per week now take none"

It was anchored and the fins were set up so it bobbed realistically in the swell. Was Wally before "Willy"? 8-[

Moose
2004-Nov-15, 06:10 PM
Why use owls when you can use killer whales? From this (http://travel.scotland.com/regions/northwest/) website:

"There are fish farms sheltering near the bays and coves along this coastline, and a recent and novel method of warding off salmon-destroying seals has been devised. A life-sized fibre-glass killer whale called Wally was put in the water near the fish tanks which has proved 100 per cent effective. The seals that took at least 200 fish per week now take none"

It was anchored and the fins were set up so it bobbed realistically in the swell. Was Wally before "Willy"? 8-[

I wonder if "Wally" might just be a Dilbert reference. The Dilbertian Wally bobs realistically "in the swell", but ultimately just sits there and repels things.

Bawheid
2004-Nov-16, 12:44 PM
Willy has all sorts of connotations in Scotland, few to do with Whales. :D

Swift
2004-Nov-16, 03:08 PM
Some hawk watch locations,such as Hawk Mountain , Bake Oven Knob, and Fort Washington in Eastern PA, have fake owls attached on some very long poles. Occasionally you will get some of the smaller hawks flying by to dive at the owl. When they do, you get a rather spectacular view of the hawk. The one at hawk mountain is rather impressive. They took a plastic owl, and then glued some brown-dyed chicken feathers onto it. Very realistic from a distance.
One of my favorite wildlife artists, Charlie Harper, did a poster for Hawk Mountain that incorporated their famous plastic owl, along with all the live visitors. Link to Hawk Mountain site for poster (http://shop.hawkmountain.org/product.aspx?p=114362(base))

sts60
2004-Nov-16, 05:53 PM
I was in a hardware store today and someone was buying one of those fake plastic owls to keep birds away from their garden. Does anyone know if those things actually work? I highly doubt crows would be too flustered by them - they're smart buggers, but does it work against other birds?

I learned from a class I had over at KSC they have the fake owls on the shuttle's pads to keep the local wood peckers from poking holes in the shuttle main tank. Apparently the red-orange hue is the same color as the local woodpecker's favorite variety of tree.
Yeah, I've seen them. I think they're called "Angry Eyes". If I remember right - it's been awhile - it's not the whole owl, mostly the head. In fact, IIRC, they are balloons, which of course have some motion whenever there's a breeze.

The woodpeckers don't penetrate the tank structure itself, but they make holes in the rust-colored insulating foam. We know all too well that holes in the foam are not good. :-(

I remember reading a newspaper article that some French outfit offered to shoot the woodpeckers with some sort of high-powered laser. :o Their offer was politely declined.

BlueAnodizeAl
2004-Nov-16, 06:17 PM
I thought they had the marines shoot them. In any case I don't think they're much of a problem any more.

Swift
2004-Nov-16, 06:25 PM
I thought they had the marines shoot them. In any case I don't think they're much of a problem any more.
I don't recall that (might be my memory though) and no disrespect to Marine marksmen, but I suspect shooting guns at birds on even empty fuel tanks is not a smart idea.

BlueAnodizeAl
2004-Nov-16, 07:20 PM
I thought they had the marines shoot them. In any case I don't think they're much of a problem any more.
I don't recall that (might be my memory though) and no disrespect to Marine marksmen, but I suspect shooting guns at birds on even empty fuel tanks is not a smart idea.

I would happen to agree, the risk to such an expensive fuel tank is too great. I'll have to look it up in my notes when I find them again.

Avatar28
2004-Nov-16, 08:19 PM
I know that at some airports now, they're hiring falconers to keep the birds away. They go out a couple of times a week and let the hawk fly around and strike at some of the birds. After awhile, they get the idea that it's really not a safe place to be hanging out and move on. I've also seen it done with a dog and such too. The dog goes charging after them, barking. Same result, they decide it's not safe and move on.

sts60
2004-Nov-16, 09:04 PM
No disrespect to either the Marines or to BlueAnodizeAl, but there is no way that firearms were used around a Shuttle, fueled or not, for bird control. Absolutely no way.

(Added: by the way, here's (http://pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/sts060/detail?.dir=/5435&.dnm=c485.jpg&.src=ph) a decent picture of the Shuttle stack en route to the pad. But I don't remember when I took it (sometime from '93 to '96), or which Orbiter is shown.)

Charlie in Dayton
2004-Nov-17, 04:09 AM
I'll have to give a full report on this...Mom bought me one of those plastic owls to hang from my front porch 'cause the birds nest up in the covered gutters and cr@p all over things...little brother suggested hanging it from a swivel so it rotates a bit in the breeze...and it does have those thousand-yard-reflective eyeballs like I used to have back in my beer drinkin' daze...

BlueAnodizeAl
2004-Nov-17, 06:44 PM
No disrespect to either the Marines or to BlueAnodizeAl, but there is no way that firearms were used around a Shuttle, fueled or not, for bird control. Absolutely no way.

(Added: by the way, here's (http://pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/sts060/detail?.dir=/5435&.dnm=c485.jpg&.src=ph) a decent picture of the Shuttle stack en route to the pad. But I don't remember when I took it (sometime from '93 to '96), or which Orbiter is shown.)

I bet you'd be suprised. They've done some stupid things in the past during the space program. And you don't have to shoot birds when the shuttles are on the pads to keep the populations down, there are 365 days in a year and shuttles are only on the pads a couple weeks out of the year.

sts60
2004-Nov-17, 07:24 PM
True, but I won't believe that anybody was permitted to use firearms near a Shuttle unless you can provide a creditable reference. An "empty" LC, well, I would even be surprised at that, but it's more believable..

BTW, "a couple of weeks" is a little short. Shuttle stacks tend to be out at the pad on the order of a month, typically. So, given four or five flights a year, at least prior to the loss of Columbia, you can both pads to be occupied at least (roughly) ten weeks a year, on average. Granted, that's still a lot of time to blast woodpeckers, if they really use firearms persuasion on empty pads.

BlueAnodizeAl
2004-Nov-17, 07:42 PM
True, but I won't believe that anybody was permitted to use firearms near a Shuttle unless you can provide a creditable reference. An "empty" LC, well, I would even be surprised at that, but it's more believable..

BTW, "a couple of weeks" is a little short. Shuttle stacks tend to be out at the pad on the order of a month, typically. So, given four or five flights a year, at least prior to the loss of Columbia, you can both pads to be occupied at least (roughly) ten weeks a year, on average. Granted, that's still a lot of time to blast woodpeckers, if they really use firearms persuasion on empty pads.

It's only what I've heard, I'm not 100% that they do. I just wouldn't put it past them to save a multi-million dollar piece of equipment.

Avatar28
2004-Nov-17, 10:12 PM
I would expect a bird of prey to be a better (and possibly cheaper) approach. Trust me, after the first few peckers get caught, the others will start to avoid the area. :-)