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How to keep birds off a patio or balcony

By Alex Kecskes : A how to tutorial about keep birds off, deter birds, stop birds, Home Improvement with step by step guide from Alex Kecskes.

Summer’s finally here and you’re ready to invite friends, family and neighbors to your patio for a fun-filled BBQ. The last thing you need is bird poop all over your BBQ, patio cover, balcony and walkways. Or to have annoying birds dive bomb your gests and kids as they try to enjoy their outdoor summer treats.

Yes, there are bird poisons and you could whip out your trusty BB gun. But do you really want to subject kids and pets to such extreme, potentially hazardous measures? Also keep in mind that in many states and municipalities, it’s against the law to kill or harm certain birds. Banging pots and pans and shooting off firecrackers will scare birds away—but only for a little while. Unless you use permanent and effective bird control measures, they’ll come back in droves when they get a whiff of your outdoor cooking.

Fortunately, there are a number of effective bird proofing devices that will keep birds off your patio and balcony. Measures you can employ without risking injury to kids, birds or pets. They include:

Visual bird scareDeterrents. These are fairly economical and easy to attach to various areas of your balcony, patio, or gazebo. They include a variety of flash tape and reflective banners that reflect sunlight and crackle in the breeze. The audio/visual elements combine to create a distraction that makes pest birds feel uneasy. You can also get Bird Scare Balloons—beach ball sized deterrents emblazoned with large predator eyes. Birds really feel uncomfortable with these. Likewise for Bird Scare Diverters, which are bladder shaped deterrents that have a large eye on them. Remember that birds are not dummies, so you’ll need to move them around occasionally to prevent the little critters from getting used to them.

Bird Sonics. These time-proven bird deterrents can be discretely installed on patio covers, under eaves or and inside gazebos. They can keep pest birds away from large outdoor areas by emitting predator and distress calls that birds instinctively hate. They capitalize on a bird's innate fear of predators, as well as their acutely sensitive hearing (birds can process sounds in 1/200th of a second; humans process sounds in 1/20th of a second).

Sonic devices will guard your patio and balcony against pigeons, crows, starlings, swallows, gulls, woodpeckers, sparrows, grackles, cormorants and many other types of birds. One of the most effective sonic systems broadcasts the sound of Peregrine falcons (a pigeon's dreaded enemy) defending their territory. Other systems will deter starlings and seagulls with the sounds of predator hawks screeching and gulls under attack. Try to get sonic systems that alter the pitch, frequency, timing and intensity of the sounds they emit. You don’t want pest birds to get used to hearing the same sound over and over. One highly regarded system emits distress and predator calls for as many as 22 types of birds. The calls are cycled through every fifteen minutes. One thing to keep in mind is that sonic bird deterrents will not harm birds, pets or humans. The sounds they emit are normal bird sounds.

Scarecrows. These ingenious devices are basically motion-activated sprinklers that give pest birds a hefty blast of water the second they enter the preset radius of protection.

The sudden blast of water, alarming sprinkler sound and realistic looking bird head is enough to convince most birds that this is not a hospitable area. Scarecrows connect to almost any garden hose, yet they consume just 2 to 3 cups of water per blast. They cover about 1,200 square feet with a stream that reaches out 35 feet and 45 feet wide. They stand guard 24/7 for up to 6 months and deliver over 1,000 "firings" on a single 9-volt battery. You can even fine-tune their sensitivity and coverage distance. By the way, kids and dogs love to play with these devices.

Hawk Decoys. Get one or two of these decoys, strategically place them around your patio or balcony and pest birds will stay away. You’ll need to move them around and reposition them from time to time for best effect. Hawks are the natural predators of most pest birds and they hunt during the day. Be sure to get the most realistic looking bird available. And make sure they are quality fabricated of heavy-duty plastic so they stand up to the elements. Some decoys have a hollow bottom that allows them to be filled with sand for greater stability on windy days.

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