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Audible Bird Scarers


Audible bird scarers have been used in agriculture for many years as a means to reduce damage to crops.

The two main types in use are:

  • explosive - which use propane gas or a cartridge to cause a loud explosion, and
  • amplified sirens or recorded distress calls

Both types make a noise which is likely to be heard over a wide area, with the potential to cause disturbance to local residents. The explosive type give rise to the majority of complaints.

How to increase the effectiveness of scarers

All bird scarers can become familiar to birds over time and lose their effectiveness. To help avoid this, they need to be regularly moved and used with other methods to scare birds and protect crops.  The points below are taken from advice provided in the National Farmers Union Code of Practice.   

  • Use non-audible scarers wherever possible
  • Use other protection techniques where practicable e.g. netting, patrolling
  • Use acoustic scarers, only when there is an actual risk of damage to crops
  • Pay careful attention to siting of scarers - allow at least 200 metres from the nearest house before 7am. Do not use after 10pm at the latest.
  • Arrange to direct the sound from the scarers into the area to be protected, and away from houses, by using simple baffles such as straw bales
  • Control the frequency of explosions to a maximum of four firings per hour. Multiple firings from a multiple chamber gun count as one firing if heard within 30 seconds
  • Do not use auditory scarers between sunset and sunrise
  • Do not mount explosive scarers at high level

Bird Scarers and the law

There is no specific national legislation on the use of bird scarers, but we have a duty under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 to take action against a person who creates a noise nuisance. Failure to comply with a notice served under that Act may result in a prosecution, and the possibility of a heavy fine. An individual householder is also able to take their own action in respect of a noise nuisance.

For further information refer to the  National Farmers Union Bird Scarers Code of Practice

How to complain

If you wish to complain about an audible bird scarer you can contact us on the number below, or online here:  Report a nuisance - noise or other pollution

Environmental Protection Act 1990