Deterring Pest Birds like Geese from Commercial Property

March 7, 2014 Posted by admin

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If you manage a golf course, corporate lawn, private park or commercial greenbelt, large bird pests like geese can pose quite a problem. In addition to their noise and aggressive behavior (they have been known to attack passersby), they can create a huge mess in droppings. Unless these droppings are promptly cleaned up, they can permeate an entire area with a very unpleasant odor. If you’ve ever had a run in with geese, you know that they can trample and destroy flowerbeds and other delicate plants. Geese droppings also carry disease. They can contaminate ponds and other decorative water features on your property.

There’s no two ways about it: pest geese can add considerable cost to your overall maintenance operation. Without effective and humane goose controls, getting rid of geese can pose a challenge. Blasting them water hoses or scaring geese with noise is an ineffective way to scare birds like these. The same holds true for pellet guns and poisons. In some cases, the latter two measures may even be illegal, resulting in costly fines.

Fortunately, the bird control experts at Bird-B-Gone offer a humane and effective goose deterrent that will keep geese off your commercial property. It’s called the Solar Bird Chase Super Sonic.

Scare Birds with Sounds They Fear

The Solar Bird Chase Super Sonic has been scientifically designed to deter geese using sounds they fear. It broadcasts pre-recorded goose distress calls that convince geese that their fellow geese are being attacked by predators.  The sounds are broadcast for two minutes and repeated every 10 minutes to convince geese that the threat is ever present and real. As a result, geese will leave the area for safer pastures.

Deter Bird Pests from Large Open Spaces

Humane and effective, the Solar Bird Chase Super Sonic goose deterrent was designed to discourage geese from occupying golf courses, greenbelts and commercial parklands. The device comes with a built-in speaker and three satellite speakers to cover up to three acres. Additional speakers can be added to extend the coverage range to five acres. The satellite speakers come with 100 feet of wire and connect to the back of the device. The device’s power cord connects easily to any standard 110-volt AC source.

Ruggedly Designed and Easily Adjustable

The Solar Bird Chase Super Sonic is designed for outdoor use. The rugged, high quality device is constructed of UV-protected materials to ensure it remains both sun- and weather-resistant. A convenient LCD display panel lets you adjust the volume and program the device to automatically shut off at night.

An Ounce of Prevention

Needless to say, if you want to ensure your commercial property or golf course is not overrun by geese, the best time to install this goose deterrent is before the geese arrive.

Pest Birds Create Huge Mess in Residential Neighborhood

March 4, 2014 Posted by admin

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Thousands of European Starlings have been invading a Johnson City, TN neighborhood for many years, and the homeowners on East Holston Avenue have had it with the noise and the mess. Bird droppings rain down incessantly on cars, homes and sidewalks, which is not only unsightly but a health concern. In the winter, these bird pests travel in flocks and invade cities to get warm.

Some residents have resorted to firearms to scare birds away, but many admit it’s only a temporary solution, as the birds always come back. Experts say, starlings prefer dark, quiet places to sleep, so harassing the birds with bright lights/noises and bird distress recordings may offer relief. These tactics must be maintained for about five days to get rid of birds in any one area. Thinning out trees also helps. Here are two effective bird control measures the experts at Bird-B-Gone recommend:

Sonic Shield™–the Sound Solution to Pest Birds

The Bird-B-Gone Sonic Shield™ employs sight and sound to scare birds away from all areas of a yard and trees. It features two operating modes: a daytime mode, which combines flashing LED lights and loud barking dog sounds to scare birds; and a nighttime mode, which uses only the bright flashing LED lights. The latter mode is ideal for most areas where barking dog sounds would wake neighbors at night. Entirely portable and self-contained, the Sonic Shield™ is simple to set up wherever birds gather and roost. The device uses just four standard AA batteries, so there’s no need to run long AC cords to power it. The Sonic Shield™ can easily be mounted to a light fixture, over a door, in a tree, or on the roof. It’s ruggedly designed for outdoor use.

Bird Chase Super Sonic Scares Birds from Yards

A highly effective sound bird deterrent, the Bird Chase Super Sonic by Bird-B-Gone fully exploits a bird’s sensitive hearing and natural fear of predators. It broadcasts pre-recorded distress and predator calls for over 22 species of birds—including starlings, pigeons, crows, gulls, and grackles. You can set it to deter a specific species of bird or switch it to a “general” setting to deter multiple bird species. The device repeats the distress and predator calls every 10 minutes to keep pest birds away. It features a volume control that lets you vary the sound output—from 65-105 decibels. The sounds resemble normal bird calls to the human ear, so they won’t bother your pets or neighbors. And unlike ultrasonic devices, which emit sounds above the hearing range of most birds, the Bird Chase Super Sonic generates sounds birds can actually hear. The device is powerful enough to protect a full acre of property, so it’s ideal for most homeowners. It’s also ruggedly designed for outdoor use.

 

How to Keep Geese from Destroying Your Backyard

March 3, 2014 Posted by admin

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If your garden, pool or spa area is being invaded by pest geese, you’re going to have a busy spring and summer—cleaning and chasing these pest birds. If you haven’t already discovered, geese are big, aggressive and noisy. And they pretty much go where they feel like it, trampling your flower garden and pooping in your pool, spa or decorative water feature. Goose droppings can cause bacterial and algae problems. And they can carry a number of diseases, including swimmer’s itch, histoplasmosis, toxoplasmosis and giardia.

If your home is near a lake, reservoir, or large pond, you’ll have geese snooping and pooping around your property. Homes near a river or seashore are equally vulnerable. Geese enjoy munching on grasses and aquatic plants—plants you can say goodbye to if geese decide to pay you a visit. Geese possess superb homing capabilities, which means if you failed to effectively deter them last year, they’ll be back this year. To prevent this, you’ll need an effective and humane goose control strategy.

Fortunately, the bird control experts at Bird-B-Gone offer a number of goose deterrents that will keep geese away from your property.

Scare Birds Away with Sounds Geese Hate

The Solar Bird Chase Super Sonic broadcasts pre-recorded distress and predator calls that convince birds—including geese—that their winged brethren are being attacked. The calls are broadcast for two minutes and repeated every 10 minutes to convince geese that the threat is imminent and real. The Solar Bird Chase Super Sonic was designed to discourage geese and other bird pests from flocking to large commercial areas, so it has plenty of range and reach to handle your backyard. The device comes with a built-in speaker to cover a full acre of property. Best of all, it’s solar powered and works even on overcast days. The rugged, high quality device is constructed of UV-protected materials, making it sun- and weather-resistant. A handy LCD display panel lets you set the volume and program the device to automatically shut off at night.

Scare Birds Away with the Scarecrow

Geese bold enough to enter a yard guarded by the Scarecrow will get a sudden and annoying surprise—a blast of water that will send them running. The harmless water blast, alarming sprinkler sound, and realistic looking bird-like moving head will “persuade” geese to stay away. Simple to set up and easy to use, the Scarecrow connects to your garden hose, yet it uses only 2 to 3 cups of water per spray. Scarecrows cover approximately 1,200 square feet with a stream that reaches out 35 feet and 45 feet wide. They guard your backyard, day and night for up to 6 months, delivering as many as 1,000 water blasts on one 9-volt battery. And you can easily adjust a Scarecrow’s sensitivity and coverage distance.

Golf Course Manager’s “Goose Gets Cooked” over Killing Geese

February 28, 2014 Posted by admin

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The Farms Golf Club in Dyersburg, TN plays along several lakes. And where there are lakes, there are Canada geese, which often create major headaches for golf course managers. One Farms manager recently faced the wrath of local residents when he resorted to killing geese that invaded the golf course and adjoining residential area. Grounds crew even resorted to running the geese over with golf carts, which left several of the large birds crippled. The geese were damaging the newly renovated course to the tune of thousands of dollars. Besides angering the local residents, the manger may face big fines for each goose he shot, since killing Canada Geese is a federal offense. On top of that, the manager faces local charges for firing weapons inside city limits.

Having learned his lesson, the golf course manager agreed to consider more humane solutions to the goose problem. The professional bird control experts at Bird-B-Gone have a few suggestions:

Migrate Goose Repellent to Quell Their Taste for Turf

Ideal for large grassy areas like golf courses and industrial parks, Bird-B-Gone’s Migrate Goose Repellent is a non-toxic liquid that’s easily applied using a standard sprayer. The active ingredient—Methyl Anthranilate (MA)—irritates a goose’s trigeminal nerves and mucous membranes.  It won’t harm birds, people or pets. It’s basically a non-lethal grape extract regulated by the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) under FIFRA (the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act). You don’t even have to cover the entire course with Migrate, just concentrate on the areas most frequented by geese. Rain or sprinklers will not wash it off and any run-off will not contaminate nearby bodies of water. Economical to use, one gallon treats 16,000 sq. ft.  After one taste, invading geese will quickly get the message that your turf tastes terrible and move on.

Bird Foggers to Drive Stubborn Birds Out

If flocks of pest birds (geese) must be removed quickly (without waiting for them to sample the taste of your turf), you have what’s known in goose control lingo as a “high bird pressure” area. In this case, you’ll need a more immediate solution—like Bird-B-Gone’s Bird Fogger. This chemical bird repellent (applied with a fogger) contains the same food-grade methyl anthranilate mentioned above. Bird foggers have been successfully used to repel gulls, mallards, Canada geese, pigeons, starlings, blackbirds and cowbirds. For best results, fogging agents should be used in the early morning hours or late evening when birds are concentrated in a single area.

There’s no doubt that geese can easily become bird pests if they are not properly controlled. The key, of course, is to prepare for their arrival with humane and effective goose repellents. “An ounce of prevention” as they say.

 

How to Keep Birds Away from Your Pool

February 26, 2014 Posted by admin

keep birds awayBirds are often attracted to swimming pools, spas and other water features in a backyard. The main concern with bird pests is the diseases they carry, especially those found in their droppings. Bird droppings are also very slippery when wet, which can create dangerous slip-and-fall hazards for children and even adults. While birds can be shooed away with the blast from a water hose or by banging pots and pans together, birds will invariably return when you leave.

If you have a bird problem around your pool, there are a number of things you can do to discourage pest birds from roosting and nesting near the immediate area. The first is to remove any plants that produce edible nuts, fruits and berries. You should also remove any bird feeders. And keep trees and large shrubs tightly trimmed, removing any branches that hang close to your pool. After you’ve taken these preliminary steps, you should invest in a professional bird deterrent. Here are some bird control devices the experts recommend:

Scarecrows Blast Bird Pests Away

Using a harmless blast of water to scare birds from your pool, Bird-B-Gone’s Scarecrow acts like a reliable 24/7 sentry. Any bird that enters this device’s area of protection will be showered with a “wake-up” water blast, alarming sprinkler sound, and Scarecrow’s realistic looking bird-like head. Easy to set up and use, Scarecrows connect directly to your garden hose. And each blast consumes just 2 to 3 cups of water. Scarecrows cover about 1,200 square feet with a spray that reaches out 35 feet and 45 feet wide (enough for most pools). Scarecrows are powered by a single 9-volt battery for up to 6 months, delivering over 1,000 “firings.” The device’s sensitivity and coverage distance are easily fine-tuned to fit your pool’s shape and surroundings. Incidentally, kids and dogs love to play with these devices.

Sonic Bird Deterrents Scare Birds from Pools

While firecrackers and noisemakers may temporarily scare birds away, the more scientific (and long-term effective) approach is to intimidate birds with the sounds they dread to hear—their natural predators (like hawks and falcons). That’s where Bird-B-Gone’s Solar Bird Chase Super Sonic comes in. It broadcasts distress and predator calls birds know all too well. And they will seek the safety of someone else’s yard rather than stick around yours. The threatening birdcalls are repeated every ten minutes. The sounds emitted by Bird Chase device resemble natural birdcalls so they won’t bother your pets or neighbors. And unlike ultrasonic devices that emit high-frequency sounds birds can’t hear, the Bird Chase system creates sounds well within the hearing range of birds. Each Bird Chase device comes with a built-in speaker that will cover up to an acre.

Need a Loading Dock Bird Deterrent? Consider Bird Netting

February 25, 2014 Posted by admin

no knot bird nettingIf you operate a loading dock or warehouse, you know the problems pest birds can create. These problems seem all the worse if you load and unload food products. Birds are drawn to the scent of food and will fly into your loading dock or warehouse. Unless deterred by effective bird control measures, pest birds will roost and nest in the lofty spaces in your loading dock and warehouse. Once inside, they’ll continually distract workers who operate forklifts and other equipment. The birds can also contaminate packaged and stored food products. Their droppings can carry any of 60 known diseases like salmonella. Bird droppings can even create dangerous slip-and-fall hazards for your workers.

If you’ve tried pellet guns and bird poisons to get rid of these bird pests, or simply made some loud noises to scare birds, you’ve probably come to the conclusion that these methods are largely ineffective. What you need are some professional level bird control measures that get the job done. Here’s what the bird control experts at Bird-B-Gone recommend:

No-Knot Bird Netting Blocks Out Bird Pests

This high strength barrier deterrent denies pest birds access to your loading dock, warehouse or any other exposed areas where birds often sneak in. The low-profile, 3/4-inch mesh netting blocks out all manner of birds—including sparrows, pigeons, gulls, starlings and crows. Available in several stock sizes and custom cuts, No-Knot Bird Netting is surprisingly light, yet it has a break-strength of 50 pounds. The non-conductive netting is made of a flame resistant, multi-strand polypropylene fiber, which resists the damaging effects of many industrial chemicals. No-Knot bird netting is ISO 1806 Protocol Mesh tested and will not rot, absorb water, or mildew. Impregnated with UV inhibitors, the netting can withstand years of direct sunlight and wide temperature swings without degrading. It comes with a full 10-year guarantee. Easy to handle, No-Knot Bird Netting is virtually invisible when installed. Bird-B-Gone recommends that prior to installing the netting, all surfaces should be free of bird droppings, nesting materials, loose rust, peeling paint and other debris.

Birds Already in Your Warehouse? Get the Super Talon!

A heavy-duty hand-held net launcher, Bird-B-Gone’s Super Talon Ultra Net Launcher captures bird pests quickly, efficiently and humanely for later release. Instead of wasting time chasing birds with a broom, the Super Talon fires a two-inch mesh net up to 60 feet to snare even the most elusive bird. Ideal for catching all types of birds like sparrows and wrens, the Super Talon has proven its worth worldwide by animal control agencies and research scientists, including the USDA, US Fish & Wildlife and APHIS. The Super Talon Kit comes complete with 10 air cartridges, multiple bird capture net launchers, accessories, and a carrying case.

 

The Right Bird Control Solutions for Your Campus

February 21, 2014 Posted by admin

bird controlAs a facilities superintendent for a college or university, you need to make sure pest birds don’t deface and damage various parts of the campus. If your educational institution is like most, it will have many older buildings with places where bird pests can perch and roost. When birds find a place they like, they’ll leave unsightly trails of bird droppings that deface signage, spires, towers, monument fascia, window ledges, and rooflines. Birds can also damage roofs, uplifting shingles to cause leaks.

Lethal means to rid your campus of pest birds are not only ineffective, but frowned upon by the environmentally conscious attitudes of most institutions. Fortunately, there are several ways to effectively and humanely deter pest birds from your campus. Here’s what the bird control experts at Bird-B-Gone recommend:

Bird Spikes for Rooflines, Lighting Fixtures

Birds love to perch on rooflines and light poles. Bird-B-Gone Bird Stainless Steel Bird Spikes won’t allow them to land. These durable bird deterrents feature rows of stainless steel spikes embedded in a UV-protected polycarbonate base. Bird spikes have been used worldwide to deter pest birds from elevated areas for many years. The spiked strips come in two-foot sections and three different widths—3-, 5- and 8-inch—to match the width of the area in need of protection. The base of each spiked strip is just 1.5 inches wide, so it can be installed on narrow surfaces using screws, tie downs or glue.

Sonic Bird Deterrents Scare Birds from Large Areas

Birds react to sounds 10 times faster than humans. Combine this with that fact that birds are always on the alert for predators (like hawks and falcons) and you have the makings of an effective bird deterrent for large areas. Bird-B-Gone’s Bird Chase Super Sonic broadcasts distress and predator calls that intimidate birds, convincing them that a threat is present. Unlike ultrasonic devices that emit high-frequency sounds birds can’t hear, the Bird Chase system is fully audible to birds, yet it won’t annoy students or faculty. The device comes with a built-in speaker that will cover up to an acre. Additional speakers can be added to extend the coverage area to a full five acres.

Bird Jolt Flat Track to Keep Pest Birds Off Signage

Ideal for signage or for areas when bird spikes would be unsuitable or impractical, Bird-B-Gone’s Bird Jolt Flat Track imparts a harmless but convincing shock to the toes of any bird brave enough to set foot on its electrified surface. The low-profile track is virtually invisible, rising just 1/4″ at its highest point. Its UV-protected PVC base bends 360° and is completely waterproof. It’s the only electric bird deterrent track with a patented anti-arcing design to prevent track short outs. It’s also the only system with patented glue troughs along the base to insulate the track’s conductors.

 

How to Keep Pest Birds Off Commercial Buildings

February 18, 2014 Posted by admin

bird deterrentPest birds are always looking for a place to roost and nest on commercial property. And once they’ve settled on a building or warehouse, they tend to gather in greater numbers on rooftops, parapet walls, windowsills and other elevated ledges.

Without effective bird control measures to deter them, pest birds can deface and damage these areas fairly quickly. Bird droppings are not just unsightly. The acid in bird droppings can corrode metal and eventually erode stone. Bird droppings can jam up windows, doors, rooftop ventilators and skylights. This waste can also render moveable security cameras inoperative, “locking up” gimbal mechanisms. Droppings can damage expensive AC units by seizing up fans. Bird nests and droppings can even clog rain gutters and down pipes, causing rooftops to overflow with water. Some roof sections have actually collapsed due to bird damage.

Bird droppings are also unhealthy. They can carry any of 60 known diseases—like salmonellosis. This makes pest birds particularly hazardous in areas where food is stored, processed or served. Finally, bird droppings on walkways and entryways to a commercial building can create serious slip-and-fall hazards. Wet bird poop can be as slippery as a banana peel.

Failing to implement an effective bird deterrent strategy can saddle a commercial property owner with expensive cleanups, repairs and even legal liabilities. Fortunately, there’s a bird deterrent that gets rid of bird pests humanely, simply by denying them a place to land—it’s called Bird Slope.

Pest Birds Can’t Get a Grip

Bird-B-Gone’s Bird Slope is ideal for use on open ledges that meet at a 90-degree angle. Pest birds simply slide off these angled, slippery PVC panels whenever they try to land. The sloped panels install easily on eaves, ledges, beams and similar areas frequented by birds. And they are equally effective against all types of birds.

Up to 10 inches of Bird Deterrence

Bird Slope comes in 4-foot long sections and is sold 48 feet per box. The panels are easily screwed, glued or nailed to virtually any flat surface. A handy “snap on” extender makes it easy to adapt to ledges as wide as 10 inches. (The basic bird slope, without an extender can protect a 6-inch wide ledge.) You can also get mounting clips to install the panels vertically on the sides of buildings. Some Bird Slopes even come with “end caps” to prevent birds from getting behind the panels.

Aesthetic Solution to Bird Pest Problems

To blend in with its surroundings, Bird Slope is now available in two colors–stone and grey. Each panel is made of UV-protected PVC material to make it more resistant to sun and harsh weather. If you’re installing Bird Slope next to electrical wiring, the panels are non-conductive for extra safety. A glue trough on underside of each panel makes for easy installation using standard outdoor polyurethane adhesive.

Three Simple Things You Can Do To Keep Pest Birds Off School Buildings

February 14, 2014 Posted by admin

keep birds off schoolsIf your school is like most, it has open courtyards, outdoor eating areas and overflowing garbage cans and dumpsters. Birds love to loiter around these areas and seek out any food scraps left under lunch tables and benches. And when they see an opportunity, they’ll dive in. After they’re stuffed, they’ll “let loose” some sizeable bird droppings. These droppings can end up on playgrounds, water faucets, lunch benches, tables and walkways. Besides being unsightly, bird droppings can carry any of 60 know diseases, including salmonella and ecoli. Children can also slip and fall on fresh bird droppings, a liability for any school district.

Chances are, you’ve put up with pest birds all year long. Fortunately, there are three simple things you can do to keep them away. And there’s no better time to implement these effective bird control solutions than during the holiday break. So act now while maintenance crews are on site to keep bird pests from flocking to your school.

Scare Birds Away with Repeller 360°

This simple bird control device sweeps pest birds off rooftops, AC units and other flat areas using sustainable wind power. Ideal for keeping larger birds like pigeons, crows, gulls, cormorants and raptors from landing, Bird-B-Gone’s Repeller 360°’s two long arms each have end sails covered with reflective “predator eyes.” When the arms spin in the breeze, the sweeping action and predator eyes combine to make an effective pest bird deterrent. Self-sufficient and easy to set up, the Repeller 360° needs no electrical power or wiring. It rotates continuously in the wind, covering a 6-foot diameter to harmlessly convince bird pests to move on.

Pest Birds Hate Bird Jolt Flat Track

Give pest birds a lesson they’ll never forget—a “hello” jolt of electricity when they land on your school roof, ledge or sign. Bird-B-Gone’s Bird Jolt Flat Track “educates” birds but won’t harm them. It’s like getting a shock when you touch a doorknob after walking on the carpet. The shock convinces birds to avoid any lofty areas of your school. Bird Jolt Flat Track is the #1 Specified electric track by architects and government agencies. Its patented “anti-arcing” design provides an added level of safety. It’s also crush proof and will continue to work even if stepped on by window washers or building maintenance crews.

Bird Spikes Create No-Landing Zone for Bird Pests

Whether you choose plastic or stainless steel, Bird-B-Gone Bird Spikes simply won’t allow birds to land or perch on or near them. Steel bird spikes feature rows of stainless steel spikes embedded in a U.V.-protected polycarbonate base. You can also go with Plastic Bird Spikes, which come in white, tan, gray, black, brown, brick red and crystal clear–to blend in with your school’s color scheme. Plastic spikes are made of rigid U.V.-resistant unbreakable polycarbonate, which makes them tough and economical. Neither type of bird spike will harm birds or installation crews.

Four Things You Can Do To Protect Your Home From Pest Birds

February 13, 2014 Posted by admin

bird controlIf you’re like most homeowners, you want to keep the outside of your home looking fresh and clean. But pest birds can change all that. Their droppings and nesting debris can quickly deface and often damage your home. Areas most vulnerable include siding, windowsills, patio cover, decorative weather vanes, solar panels, skylights, awnings and fencing. Birds that typically cause problems include pigeons, sparrows, starlings, swallows and gulls. To keep bird pests at bay, the bird control experts at Bird-B-Gone have four suggestions that can help.

1. Remove Attractions. Get rid of standing water, keep trashcan lids secure, clean up any leftover food after parties or get-togethers, and trim plants and vegetation.

2. Install Bird Spikes. Bird-B-Gone Stainless Steel Bird Spikes won’t allow pest birds to land on or near them. These humane, highly effective bird deterrents feature rows of stainless steel spikes embedded in a UV-protected polycarbonate base. This makes them highly durable and ideal for outdoor use. Bird spikes are used worldwide to keep bird pests off ledges, rooflines, eaves, windowsills, awnings and canopies. The spiked strips come in two-foot sections and three different widths—3-, 5- and 8-inch—to match the width of the “problem” area. The base of each spiked strip is just 1.5 inches wide, so it’s easily installed on narrow surfaces using screws, tie downs or glue.

3. Install a Sonic Bird Deterrent. Bird-B-Gone’s Solar Bird Chase Super Sonic broadcasts distress and predator calls that intimidate birds. You can set it to scare any of 22 specific bird types or choose the general setting to intimidate virtually all birds. Scientifically developed with the help of ornithologists, Solar Bird Chase Super Sonic repeats these calls every 10 minutes to convince birds that dangerous predators are near. Unlike ultrasonic devices that emit high-frequency sounds birds can’t hear, the Bird Chase system is fully audible to birds, yet it won’t annoy pets or neighbors. The device comes with a built-in speaker that will cover up to an acre.

4. Create Visual Distraction Zones. Bird-B-Gone Visual Bird Deterrents will scare birds away. The most basic is Flash Tape, a 50-foot roll of iridescent foil tape that you cut into short strips. Hung in high visibility areas, the strips crackle in the breeze and reflect sunlight to scare birds away. No less effective is the Scare Eye Diverter, a tear-drop-shaped iridescent foil deterrent emblazoned with a large “predator” eye. The same holds true for the Bird Scare Balloon, a large inflatable “beach ball” that also has a big predator eye. When the Diverter and Balloon bob and weave in the wind, birds regard them as predators. For best results, Bird-B-Gone suggests that visual bird deterrents be moved around so that birds don’t get used to them.