In Search of Fake Owls

Yesterday afternoon, I ran around town to four different stores, including Walmart, Home Depot, Farm and Fleet, and Rudy’s – a small farm and feed store about a mile from my house. I was on the hunt (excuse the pun) for one of those “ugly fake owls” that are used to deter birds and other wildlife from sites for nesting undesirable to humans.

The site we are trying to protect is the light fixture outside our front door. In 2017, my husband resided our house. Along with the new siding came new light fixtures in a craftsman type style. We like how it looks and we want to protect it. But, there must be something about the crevasses around the new fixture that birds think would securely hold a nest.

We went through this problem last year, and the year before. Barn swallows and robins nesting and attempting to nest in our garage and now on our front porch. Obviously, we don’t want them to use our home as theirs. I attribute their actions to a decrease in surrounding fields and trees due to human development. I guess it’s their payback – “we” disrupted their nesting so they nest on structures “we” don’t want them to use.

Anyway, after looking online for the fake predatory owls, I went on a physical hunt for them yesterday. All over town, I scoured the stores for these plastic owls that are no where near as gorgeous as their real -life counter parts. But, supposedly, they do the job by just vaguely looking like an owl with unblinking eyes and similarly colored plumage despite the fact it is plastic. We were desperate to prevent a nest.

Last year, we solved the problem by using mylar balloons in our garage and a spooky halloween skull wedged into the back of the light fixture until nesting season was over. On Monday, after being exasperated at hearing the robin continually run into the front door in its attempt to nest, I sent my husband out with the skull. The eyes lit up and it chuckled ominously. It worked last year, so why not again? Well, the skull was accidentally dropped when hubby was trying to place it on the light. No more scary skull. It was broken!

This began my quest to find an ugly owl replacement yesterday. But, my quest was short. Only the Home Depot had an owl and it was no more than a bobble head. I left the store empty handed up came up empty at all the other places as well. Either everyone is using them and they are sold out already or nobody is and they are not stocked. Who knows?!

At the last stop, the local feed store in town, the owner gave me an idea – he used strips of mylar to keep birds out of his apple trees. I went home ready to cut apart the loan mylar balloon we had in the garage. But, after finding it in the garbage (weird coincidence that my husband just threw it out yesterday), I got some mylar ribbon out of my gift wrap storage and cut a few pieces to hang from the fixture. We could only hope.

After dinner, my husband cleared the nesting debris off stoop one more time. (He’s been doing it several times a day.) We wanted to see if more debris would return, which meant, of course, the robins were still up to their nesting. They watch us from a locust tree about fifty feet from the front door. Why can’t they use that or the hydrangea branches a mere ten feet from the door to hold their nest?

By the time I looked outside today, there was a new addition to the front porch! A fake red-tailed hawk proudly sat on the table beneath the light fixture. We’ll see if “he” can do the job!

5 thoughts

  1. Birds in search of a nesting site are remarkably tenacious, aren’t they? In the past we’ve had finches that nest on our porch, despite the fact that there’s never been a successful fledge from that location–even when I’ve added a support to keep the nest from falling and installed fencing to keep my dogs away from the area. It’s beautifully sheltered for the weather, but extremely exposed to the sparrows. Nature? It’s a mystery.

    Good luck with the hawk. A few months ago I wrote a slice about the birds who nested on top of a plastic owl at one of my schools. Sometimes the ruse works, and sometimes it doesn’t!

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  2. Here we are with yet another parallel. My owl quest wasn’t as a decoy to scare away birds from a nesting site. My journey came about when my then two year-old son decided that Owl was his favorite character from Winnie the Pooh, and he had to have Owl. Fun fact: The Disney enterprise has never considered Owl to be worth marketing. So there I was, trying to find a stuffed owl anywhere, everywhere. Anywhere we went, anywhere we traveled, I looked for stuffed owls. Finally found one on a family trip. Sweet, sweet relief. Here’s hoping your hawk is a suitable stand-in for your owl!

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    1. I cannot believe that Owl was not worth marketing! How sad! I love owls! I’m glad you finally found one for your son! I hope he loved it for years to come. The hawk did not do its job and we were left with making metallic “faces” to try and scare the birds away. Needless to say, my porch is still not decorated for spring! My pots are all sitting in my laundryroom! Hopefully, the faces work!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ll keep my fingers crossed on that one! As for my son, he got his owls and quickly moved on to his next obsession. Such is the prerogative of a preschooler.

        Liked by 1 person

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