Displaying fake owls can help keep pests away from your property — with limitations. Animals, including pests, can observe and learn, so they may discern that your owl not the real thing as time passes.
How do Fake Owls Help?
Owls prey on many different small mammals and other birds and have few natural predators of their own. They’re pretty much at the top of the food chain and prey animals do their best to avoid them.
Owls are nocturnal, hunting and feeding at night. They prey on small rodents such as mice, rats, chipmunks, and squirrels. They also prey on other birds, including crows and hawks. Owls even hunt other predators, such as weasels and bats.
Because they’re such diverse predators, there is a range of pests they can help deter. In a sense, fake owls work similarly to a scarecrow in a field, keeping small rodents, weasels, bats and other animals away from the area.
What Pests can Fake Owls Work On?
Mice are common household pests all over the world. They can spread disease and contaminate food and water. They also cause damage with their chewing and nesting habits.
Displaying a fake owl can help keep them away. If they’re already in your house though, fake owls aren’t likely to help. Call pest control can help exterminate them.
Like mice, rats can spread certain diseases, including plague, and will cause damage, chewing through drywall and insulation, and building nests.
Rats are cautious and shy, meaning a fake owl could have them avoiding the area. Again, if you already have an infestation, it’s best to call pest control.
Squirrels are everywhere and you’re likely to see them building nests in trees and other areas outdoors, but they will also build nests in attics and roofing if they can get in.
And though they’re shy around people, they’ve also adapted to live in close proximity to people and won’t automatically steer clear of inhabited areas.
As well as potentially spreading disease, squirrels can cause property damage. Place fake owls up off the ground where squirrels are likely to be active.
Chipmunks aren’t found indoors as frequently as mice and rats, but it does happen. If they do get inside, they can cause structural damage to wood beams and rafters and their burrowing can cause damage to lawns outside.
Place fake owls in your lawn and even indoors to discourage chipmunks from staying.
Birds can destroy gardens, eating fruits, veggies, and young plants. Their droppings can also carry diseases and parasites and can be corrosive over time.
Install fake owls outside your house, on the roof, or in the garden to keep small birds away.
Crows can deal a lot of damage to a garden, eating garden fruits and veggies. And while crows are cautious of owls, sometimes a murder of crows will flock to chase them off.
Choose larger owl statues to keep crows away, similar to great horned owls, for a better chance at success.
Hawks don’t usually cause property damage, but they can prey on small pets and backyard chickens.
Owls and hawks are both predators. They’re both on top of the food chain and they don’t necessarily prey on each other, but they are both territorial. But more often than not, hawks would rather avoid confrontation altogether.
If there’s already an owl in the area, a hawk may move on. So using a fake owl to make it seem like an owl has “claimed” the territory may work well to deter hawks from being a problem on your property.
The Limitations of Using Fake Owls
While they’re effective at scaring a lot of pests away, fake owls can only do so for short periods of time. Over time, most pests will eventually learn that these statues pose no threat to them and they’ll start ignoring them. To keep up the pretense, try moving your owl ornaments around.
They may work longer for rodents than they do for birds, since birds tend to be smarter. They may learn that an owl statue is fake fairly quickly, so don’t be surprised if birds begin ignoring them after a few days.
Making your Fake Owl More Convincing and Effective
Fake owls are just that — fake. And pests will figure this out. Try these tips to get the most out of your fake owl.
Make It Look Natural
When setting it up, take into consideration where real owls would spend their time. The more natural it seems, the more convincing it’s likely to be.
Try perching them in trees close to your home. A branch, if you can reach it, is ideal. Owls tend to stay in sheltered areas, rather than out in the open, so strike a balance between easily seen and out of the way.
Don’t Just Set It and Forget It
To keep up the ruse, move your owl around every once in a while. If a statue you’ve placed in an area stays perched there for a long time, pests would notice.
Try to do this every few days, if possible. This makes it seem like they’re alive and moving, at least from the perspective of their prey. It may also startle a pest that’s already become used to the owl.
Add Light and Sound to the Mix
In addition to owls, you can also use reflective tape and hanging ornaments that make noise and reflect light in irregular patterns, like wind chimes and pin wheels. Placing these things near your owl can deter curious pests from venturing near.
Ultrasonic devices can also aid in your efforts to deter pests. You won’t be able to hear the sounds they make, but most rodents and birds will avoid them.