If you’ve ever seen Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds, you know how ominous a flock perched right outside your home or mailbox can be. For as terrifying as they may be when they’re terrorizing Tippi Hedren, there’s something even more eerily ominous about Hitchcock’s flying fiends when they’re perched and at rest, ready to strike.
That isn’t even getting into what a mess they can make. As a work of fiction, Hitchcock’s film can skirt the ugly bombardier bird dropping-laden reality of what so many birds would mean.
However, bird droppings and flocks of birds constantly hanging around your mailbox may be something that’s all too real for you.
Thankfully, these solutions can offer real answers to your avian issue.
1 – Build a Scarecrow
Chances are when you first saw that this article was about scaring birds away, this was the first alternative that came to mind. After all, scarecrows are ubiquitous in our collective consciousness.
However, if you have only seen scarecrows on TV or on Halloween night, you may not know what it takes to make a good one.
Some of the most important elements in a good scarecrow include:
- Every scarecrow starts with a cross frame. This vital support is what gives you the arms and backbone of the scarecrow and roots it to the spot. Nail plants of wood together at a 90 degree angle to create this cross frame and make sure that the point of connection is sturdy.
- Now it’s time to dress your scarecrow. This should ideally be done with clothing that you no longer need. You’ll also want to tie down the bottom while leaving a gap at the top to make it easier to stuff it.
- Speaking of which, hay or similar organic materials are the most common choices, though cotton or old news clippings can also work.
You can add more details and be as elaborate as you like, but that’s the basic gist of things. When properly erected, scarecrows can be an effective way of scaring off birds and keeping them from setting up residence near your mailbox.
2 – Use Other Decoys
If you have already tried a scarecrow or feel like being a bit craftier and more creative in your quest to rid yourself of these avian pests, you might want to consider fighting fire with fire, or rather feathers with feathers, and setting up a “decoy” bird.
Of course, this is all about the type of bird you choose. No bird is going to back away from a cute-looking stuffed sparrow or adorable dove.
On the other hand, if the birds in your neighborhood suddenly see a big “hawk,” “eagle,” or “owl” sitting near the mailbox, well, they’re bound to think twice about perching there, right? Sure, they may like the area near your mailbox, but it isn’t worth risking hanging out near a potential predator. Of course, their bird brains can’t pick out the difference between a fake bird and a convincing-looking real one.
Owls are particularly useful for these purposes because you can use them for Halloween as well without getting any strange questions about why you suddenly have a fake owl on your property.
Either way, fake predator birds can be really effective in scaring away birds from your mailbox once and for all.
3 – “Do You Have a Flag?”
Eddie Izzard’s immortal comedy standup question lives on as a viable means of scaring away birds from your mailbox.
Once again, this is all about tapping into birds’ instincts while taking advantage of what they can and cannot distinguish between with their bird brains.
On the one hand, they know that movement can mean danger. Hesitating when something moves can mean falling prey to a predator and thus winding up someone’s dinner. As such, birds are naturally pretty skittish when it comes to detecting even the slightest hint of motion around them.
On the other hand, birds aren’t necessarily very good at determining what that source of movement is, let alone if it is actually from something that can hurt them. All they know is that something is moving near them. If they’re wrong and it’s a threat, they’re probably toast, so no matter the source, they flap away – hence why flags flapping in the breeze can scare birds away from your mailbox.
It doesn’t even necessarily need to be a flag. Pinwheels and similar items can also be used to scare off birds via rapid motion near the mailbox. Birds want no part of that, and so they will likely want no part of your mailbox area.
4 – From Fowl to Foul
While you don’t want your mailbox to “smell,” per se, spraying the area with an odor that birds find unsavory can be an effective way of repelling them. This will naturally be different for different types of birds, so make sure to do your research and see what odors might cause birds to turn up their beak at your mailbox, and if it’s worth giving a go.
5 – Bird Spikes
These are a bigger investment, but can be helpful if you need to deter large groups of birds. Positioning spikes around your mailbox can help ensure that birds can’t perch there.
6 – Holographic Tape
Flashes of light as well as motion can scare away birds. Holographic tape can be a great way to keep birds away in this manner. The tape will make them see flashes of reflected light as they approach your mailbox, which will cause them to back off. This is a less drastic alternative than smell or spike-based defenses, and can still be quite effective.
7 – Cooking Spray
We’ve already talked about how the odor of some sprays can ward off birds. Cooking spray does this measure one better by making the surface slick, which can make it hard for birds to keep their balance or perch on your mailbox.
8 – Bird Feeders
Looking for a nicer way to distract your birds from your mailbox? Maybe you want them away from there but still enjoy them frequenting the area around your home?
Then why not set up a bird feeder? This can give the birds somewhere else to go, and chances are they’ll choose food in a nice feeder over an old metal mailbox any day. You can further augment these setups with proper perches to keep the birds comfortable.
9 – Feline Friends
Sylvester doesn’t chase after Tweety for nothing! Cats naturally seek out and hunt birds if left to their own devices, and while you may not necessarily want them to bring home a bird corpse, having birds outside is a major deterrent. After all, if a fake owl or hawk could scare off a bird, imagine what a real cat on the prowl around your mailbox can do.
There are plenty of innovative ways to keep your mailbox bird-free. Each of these options offers a unique approach to the problem. Whatever solution you choose, you can rest assured knowing that you will be able to keep the birds away from your mailbox.
Hitchcock’s film ends on an ominous note, but by following these methods, you can triumph over the birds and reclaim your mailbox once and for all.