Many homeowners want to know if wind chimes keep birds away, or if they do nothing more than make noise.
While the primary purpose of wind chimes isn’t to scare birds, this can be an added bonus if you know how to set them up properly (and choose the right chimes). This guide will cover everything you need to know.
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Do Wind Chimes Keep Birds Away?
The practice of using wind chimes to keep birds away is thousands of years old. The ancient Chinese began using wind chimes to keep birds from attacking their rice fields. Wind chimes eventually took on a more spiritual meaning, but the idea of using them as a bird deterrent continued and eventually spread across the globe.
These days, people are more apt to use wind chimes to keep birds away from a house, garden or outdoor living space. Reasons can range from birds eating newly planted seeds to the unsightly mess of bird droppings.
But does using wind chimes really keep birds away?
The answer is yes and no. Initially, you may have great success in deterring birds from your yard, but this method tends to not be very effective for long. Once the birds become accustomed to the sound of the wind chimes, you will usually be right back to where you started.
Why Their Effectiveness Decreases With Time
If you think about it, the reason the effectiveness of wind chimes for scaring birds decreases over time makes a lot of sense. Just like with people, birds can get used to various stimuli over time. The same way that you will eventually get used to a noise, smell or situation, the birds coming into your yard will display this tendency as well.
Quick Tip: This ability to become used to a certain situation is called habituation, and birds are very susceptible to this phenomenon. They may find the sound of the wind chimes to be annoying at first, but they will be back in force quite quickly.
If you have other attractions in your yard such as food, water or shelter, the birds will tend to overcome their aversion to the wind chimes after a few days to a week.
The Best Kind Of Wind Chimes That Scare Birds
Many people, and you may be one of them, really love having wind chimes in the yard. The fact that these lovely chimes can help with a bird issue is just an added bonus.
Even though we mentioned above that wind chimes are not a good permanent solution for keeping birds away from your outdoor living space, there are some things you can try if having wind chimes around is your kind of thing.
The size of the wind chimes, what they’re made of, and their design can all contribute to the effectiveness of this method.
1. Large Wind Chimes
Some people choose to put smaller wind chimes in their garden or yard because they find these chimes to be aesthetically pleasing or because they enjoy the delicate sounds they make. While you may find the fairy-like tinkling of small wind chimes to be relaxing and attractive, they won’t keep birds away. If your goal is to repel birds from your yard, then this type of little wind chime is definitely not the way to go.
Larger wind chimes that have a good, loud clatter and deep tone are a very good option for scaring birds away from your yard. While this kind of wind chime may feel less peaceful, larger chimes give you the best chance of slowing down the process of habituation and deterring birds.
2. Reflective Chimes
Because birds coming into your yard may habituate fairly quickly to the sound of wind chimes, it can be very beneficial to utilize both auditory and visual deterrents. When we mention visual deterrents, we are talking about wind chimes that have some kind of reflective property.
When you’re looking for a reflective wind chime, it’s important to make sure that it has plenty of things on it that will really sparkle and dazzle in the sunshine. There are so many varieties that you won’t find it difficult to choose one that suits your style.
One kind of reflective wind chime that is actually quite popular is designed with long, twisted metallic swirls that spin and really catch and reflect the light. To help these wind chimes keep birds away even more effectively, consider the kind that has several eyes painted on each swirl.
Quick Tip: If you are into more traditional looking wind chimes, just choose one that has lots of shiny and reflective components. Another option is to add some reflective tape to a wind chime that you already have. Bird deterrent reflective tape is used by many home owners to keep birds away, and it can be purchased online or in most home improvement stores.
3. Chimes That Allow You To Vary The Sound
As with the smaller wind chimes, birds may even exhibit habituation with larger chimes. Instead of constantly changing the wind chimes, we suggest using wind chimes that let you vary the sound.
What do we mean by this? With some wind chimes, you have the ability to change the chime part to a different material. So if you have brass chimes, and they are not that effective anymore, try replacing them with bamboo or another kind of wood. The idea is by preventing birds from getting used to the sound, the wind chime will do a better job of keeping them away.
Quick Tip: If you’re into do-it-yourself projects, then get creative and make your own! The base of the wind chime can be made out of aluminum cans or even small terra cotta flower pots. Then switch up the chimes by using sea shells, pieces of wood, metal rods, or any other item you choose.
Placement Is Important
If you’re using wind chimes for purely decorative or spiritual purposes, then hanging them where they are the most pleasing is the way to go. However, if you’re planning on using wind chimes to keep birds away, then proper placement is going to be key. Please be aware that even if you follow all the steps and take every precaution, you may still end up with more birds in your yard than you’d like.
In order to understand why it’s important to place your wind chimes strategically, we’ll need to take a look at a few bird basics.
Birds, in general, hang around your yard because they are looking for or have already found, food, water, shelter or nesting spots. All the things that make your yard attractive to you and your family, such as shade trees, colorful bushes, water features or bird feeders, are equally as beguiling to the birds in your neighborhood. Without intending to, you may have created a bird paradise.
Many people feel that birds and their songs really add that little extra something to a backyard setting, but too many birds can often become more of a nuisance than a delight. A few well-placed wind chimes and some other small tweaks can really help scare them away.
Before you even start to hang the wind chimes, you’ll need to take a look around your property to discover if any of the items mentioned above may be attracting birds to your yard.
Here are a few things to look out for:
1. Try to spot any branches or other places where birds are frequently perching. These branches will need to be cut down or trimmed way back. If birds are perching on a fence or other spot, then placing things called bird spikes on the area can help. These don’t hurt the birds, they simply discourage landing and perching.
Quick Tip: The goal is to reduce the possible landing and perching areas by at least 50 percent.
2. If you have birdfeeders set up, then you have a couple of options. You can empty them and take them down, however, many people enjoy the sight of birds at a feeder. Simply moving the feeder to another location where birds won’t be a bother is a possibility if you like having a bird feeder in your yard.
3. Carefully observe your yard for a week or so. Write down all the places where you see birds congregating. This will give you a better idea of the ideal places to put your wind chimes if you want to scare birds away.
After you have checked these points, you’ll be ready to place your wind chimes. Since the main point of a deterrent wind chime is to make noise, you will need to find a place in your yard that gets plenty of wind. Putting your chime in a lovely, sheltered area will look nice, but it won’t produce the desired effect. Take a day or so to observe your yard to determine which spots get the most breeze.
Lastly, you are going to want to place your wind chimes in the areas that have the most bird activity. Also, place wind chimes near the spots where you don’t want any birds to hang out. These areas may include near patios or porches, driveways, outdoor eating areas or other places where birds could be a nuisance.
Wind chimes can keep birds away, but there are far more effective methods. However, if you’re planning on getting some anyway then there’s really no harm in setting them up!
With the right placement and chime selection, you’ll be able to scare away some of the birds that visit your property. What you do to handle the rest is up to you!