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Thread: Myth?? Fake owls scare birds

  1. #1
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    Myth?? Fake owls scare birds

    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?

  2. #2
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    Re: Myth?? Fake owls scare birds

    Quote Originally Posted by TriangleMan
    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?

  3. #3
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    My grandma used to keep a rubber snake around the porch. She said it scared everything away.

  4. #4
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    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.

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    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.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Candy
    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.
    rofl 8)

  7. #7
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    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

  8. #8
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    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!!!

  9. #9
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    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.

  10. #10
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    So how about a mechanical version? Make one that turns its head, flaps its wings and hoots.

  11. #11
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    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."

  12. #12
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    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.

  13. #13
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    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.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Humphrey
    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)?

  15. #15
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    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.

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    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.

  17. #17
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    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).

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by tlbs101
    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-[

  19. #19
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    So in summary fake owls will . . .

    attract crows,
    attract horny gulls ( )
    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 ( )

    Thanks everyone for the information.

  20. #20
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    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.

  21. #21
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    Re: Myth?? Fake owls scare birds

    Quote Originally Posted by TriangleMan
    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.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Candy
    Quote Originally Posted by Humphrey
    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)?
    That would sure be a hoot! ops:

  23. #23
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    Why use owls when you can use killer whales? From this 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.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bawheid
    Why use owls when you can use killer whales? From this 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!

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bawheid
    Why use owls when you can use killer whales? From this 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-[

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Candy
    Quote Originally Posted by Bawheid
    Why use owls when you can use killer whales? From this 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.

  27. #27
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    Willy has all sorts of connotations in Scotland, few to do with Whales.

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by jfribrg
    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
    At night the stars put on a show for free (Carole King)

    All moderation in purple - The rules

  29. #29
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    Re: Myth?? Fake owls scare birds

    Quote Originally Posted by BlueAnodizeAl
    Quote Originally Posted by TriangleMan
    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. Their offer was politely declined.

  30. #30
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    I thought they had the marines shoot them. In any case I don't think they're much of a problem any more.

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