Wind chimes. Growing up, I always hated hearing them outside. Outside of being real annoying, they actually can serve a pretty useful purpose.
Wind chimes will deter birds. The loud noise will startle birds and keep them away. However, If a bird gets used to wind chimes’ noise, it will get “habituated” to the sound, which means that the noise will no longer scare the bird and deter it.
You may be wondering just what the heck habituation is and why birds (and practically any other animal on Earth) could get used to the sound of wind chimes. Well, let’s get to explainin’!
Wind Chimes Will Work to Deter Birds at First
So, wind chimes, let discuss them, shall we?
Wind chimes come in various shapes and sizes, but generally, the bigger they are, the more effective they’ll be in startling birds.
Let’s picture this scenario.
You JUST planted grass seed or new plants in your garden that you desperately want to keep birds away from. Or maybe birds are leaving their droppings all over the hood of your car or driveway (ugh… don’t get me started on geese.)
Basically, in this scenario, you’re trying to keep birds out. So what do you do?
You decide that your first course of action is to put up a honking new set of wind chimes that you just purchased and the big brand garden and home goods store.
You put them up, and Woah! They’re working. While you notice they’re working, you are fed up with the sound, especially if they’re placed close to your house.
All in all, though, a week goes by, and you’ve noticed a steep drop off of birds visiting your property. Awesomeness.
During this time, you’ve gotten much more accustomed to the sound of the wind chimes as well, and they’re MUCH less annoying than they were the first day and night you had them out.
Another week goes by, and you hardly notice that you have wind chimes outside. You’ve gotten SO used to the sound, similar to if you lived in a big city and had the hustle and bustle of cars on the street or pedestrians on the sidewalk.
Unfortunately, it looks like the birds have gotten used to the sound as well. More and more of them are starting to come back, as they aren’t as startled as they once were when you first placed the wind chimes outside.
This is a prime example of habituation, a daily occurrence for everything that eats, breathes, and sleeps.
It means that while things may bother, annoy, or make you feel downright uncomfortable at first, that over time, you get used to the occurrence.
The same thing happens with birds and noise.
Why Wind Chimes Will Eventually Stop Working
Wind chimes will work to deter birds upon first interaction, especially if they’re loud ones. However, with each future interaction, habituation will occur, and birds WILL become more accustomed to the sound.
If the birds repeatedly come back to the location you’re trying to deter them from (they will usually if there is a prime food source), they’ll be used to the noise during one of those times. This could be the very second time they attempt to come back into the area or the 10th.
More than likely, wind chimes will eventually stop working on birds sometime after their first interaction with the noise due to habituation.
Granted, if you don’t have a primetime food source available on your property, wind chimes could do a great job keeping birds away as the noise will most likely startle them significantly at first. So much so to the point where the risk of interacting with the strange noise from the wind chimes doesn’t outweigh the birds’ reward going back to a spot without food or shelter.
My psychology degree playing some effect here 😉
How To Use Wind Chimes and STILL Keep Birds Away
All this being said, all hope is not lost!
If you’re going to use wind chimes, the bigger, the better. Check out these Renook Memorial Handmade 27 Tube Wind Chimes. According to the manufacturer, they measure about 33.5 inches in total length and are designed to have a deep, rich sound that ISN’T just pipes clacking aimlessly in the wind.
Once you get a solid set of wind chimes, go ahead and place them where you’re trying to deter birds. Over your garden, on a tree next to a flower bed, your porch, and other spaces, of course.
Next, we want to make SURE that the area you’re trying to repel isn’t bird-friendly. In one of our guides, we discuss the use of bird spikes (they don’t spike the birds, just make it more challenging for them to land.)
Here are 5 things you should do to use wind chimes to repel birds effectively
- Install wind chimes
- Install bird spikes (depending on the area)
- Remove branches and get rid of places for birds to land
- Empty any bird feeders on your property
- Use reflective bird tape (link to product)
Installing wind chimes is, of course, the start here. Bird spikes are an excellent method; you could even make your own if you’re crafty enough.
No, you don’t want to get needles and thumbtacks to place on ledges; that’s insanely cruel. Bird spikes are designed to be pointy molds that don’t allow birds to get any footing onto their desired landing spot. Super useful if you have the area for it
In the area you’re trying to deter birds from, if there are any tree branches or places for birds to land, remove them.
This should remove birds’ opportunity to land by 50% and make their only option the ground. It will be a less inviting place for them without ledges to land on.
Of course, you may have to leave one ledge for the wind chimes to hang off of, which in that case you could use bird spikes or just leave it be and watch to see if birds are landing on that ledge/tree.
Next, you’ll want to MAKE SURE that you’ve removed as many opportunities for birds to look for food as possible. If you’re on a porch or just trying to deter birds from a tree, this one should be done for you already.
If you have a bird feeder, well, birds will keep coming back as that may be their easiest source of food for miles.
Lastly, you could very well use reflective bird tape. Essentially, this handy stuff makes it very difficult for birds to land from overhead. In my opinion, this works best on birds with a high flight path, such as geese, hawks, herring, and more.
It’s relatively inexpensive and worth a shot if you’re up for it. Britenway’s 350ft Dual Sided Reflective Scare Tape is a good starting point.
Will Wind Chimes Keep Woodpeckers Away?
Woodpeckers, one of my favorite birds. Growing up, I ALWAYS used to ask my parents what that noise in the woods was, even if I already knew the answer. It was always woodpeckers.
Their noise is distinctive, but they may be ruining your trees’ health outside or even drilling on your house.
Wind chimes will not work to keep woodpeckers away. This is because woodpeckers often peck near the high points of trees, where it won’t be easy to install wind chimes.
If you’d like to learn more about repelling woodpeckers, take a look at one of our most popular posts about woodpeckers.
That’s a Wrap!
First off, I’m sorry that you’re here in the first place. Birds are probably causing some disruption for a goal you’re trying to accomplish, or they might even just be annoying the heck out of you.
I hope this article served some purpose for you and that you’re able to keep these birds away, using wind chimes nonetheless!
Thanks again for all the support for pestpointers.com. Happy bird deterring!
Chamberlain, D. E., Cannon, A. R., & Toms, M. P. (2004). Associations of garden birds with gradients in garden habitat and local habitat. Ecography, 27(5), 589-600.
Daniels, G. D., & Kirkpatrick, J. B. (2006). Does variation in garden characteristics influence the conservation of birds in suburbia?. Biological conservation, 133(3), 326-335.
Francis, M. L., Plummer, K. E., Lythgoe, B. A., Macallan, C., Currie, T. E., & Blount, J. D. (2018). Effects of supplementary feeding on interspecific dominance hierarchies in garden birds. PloS one, 13(9), e0202152.
Fuller, R. A., Irvine, K. N., Davies, Z. G., Armsworth, P. R., & Gaston, K. J. (2013). Interactions between people and birds in urban landscapes.
Lerman, S. B., & Warren, P. S. (2011). The conservation value of residential yards: linking birds and people. Ecological applications, 21(4), 1327-1339.
Zack is a Nature & Wildlife specialist based in Upstate, NY, and is the founder of his Tree Journey and Pest Pointers brands. He has a vast experience with nature while living and growing up on 50+ acres of fields, woodlands, and a freshwater bass pond. Zack has encountered many pest situations over the years and has spent his time maintaining and planting over 35 species of trees since his youth with his family on their property.
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