What is a bird scarer and why do farmers use them?

Hearing a repetitive cannon sound in the countryside? It’s just a bird scarer.
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birds flying over a farmers field

Wild birds wreak havoc on recently planted fruit and field vegetables during the springtime. And if not managed properly a farmers yield can be seriously affected. However, if used carelessly these devices can be quite annoying to the surrounding public.

To minimise disturbance, farmers are urged to pay close attention to, and abide by a code of practice when using bird deterrents.

What is a bird scarer?

A bird scarer is a gas powered cannon which produces a loud bang to scare wild birds at predefined intervals. Modern cannons have dawn start-up and dusk shut-off tech, can change direction automatically and can be controlled via Bluetooth.

Bird scarer in a field
Evelyn Simak / Bird scarer in field west of Little Hockham

Code of practice

These guidelines have been designed for farmers to help minimise the impact of bird scarers on countryside inhabitants. Farmers should where possible:

  • Avoid using bird scarers within at least 200m of residential buildings
  • Avoid using bird scarers before 7am and after 10pm
  • Avoid positioning bird scarers close to public rights of way
  • Avoid positioning near bridleways
  • Avoid positioning near roads

What are the alternatives to bird scarers?

When appropriate to do so. Farmers are urged to minimise the impact of auditory scarers on neighbours, and to consider alternative means of getting the job done. Farmers could consider:

  • Planting crops likely to be damaged by birds close to roads. The increased noise caused by road traffic will disturb nearby birds.
  • Growing small-scale crops under netting.
  • Using wind powered bird scarers or hawk kites

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