Birds are a pretty part of nature and can be an effective form of pest control for insects and small reptiles. Although birds can provide us with enjoyable songs in the morning, they can also be a nuisance when it comes to your pool – they get in it, get it dirty, and are a pain to get out!
Some easy tips to keep birds out of your swimming pool involve using their instincts to scare them away from your pool. Using barriers, decoys, lasers, strobes, sounds, smells, kites, reflections, or removing bird food and branches are easy ways to keep birds out of your pool.
Keep on reading to learn why birds are attracted to your swimming pool, some easy tips to keep them out, and what you should do if you find birds making a mess in your pool. Let’s get to it!
Why Are Birds Attracted To Your Pool?
Birds can be attracted to your swimming pool for many different reasons ranging from migrating to searching for food, and even because they see other birds near your pool.
The types of birds that will be attracted to your pool will vary based on where you live, but the reasons will stay the same.
Migrating Aquatic Birds Are Looking For A Break
Semi-aquatic birds including ducks and geese are often attracted to swimming pools in their final summer or winter resting points, or those that they find along the way while migrating.
While these birds typically prefer ponds and lakes stocked with fish they can catch for food, a swimming pool is still an attractive option for a migrating aquatic bird.
Depending on where your swimming pool is birds might not have much other nearby water to choose from in urban environments or desert environments.
If your swimming pool is like an oasis in the middle of nowhere, birds who usually live near water might not have a better option.
Sometimes Birds Will Come To Pools Looking For Food
Pools can attract a whole host of animals including insects, reptiles, amphibians, and rodents. Some of these are natural food options for birds who head down to your swimming pool in search of an easy meal.
Pools that are not maintained are especially attractive to all kinds of pests that birds would like to eat given the chance. These “green pools” are breeding grounds for insects that can represent a feast for tired and hungry birds who are nearby.
Nuts and berries are just as likely to attract birds as insects are, and if you have any fruit trees or berry bushes planted near your pool birds might be coming down for that reason.
Birds are one of the number one reasons for the destruction of fruit crops around the world and have a keen eye for spotting ripe fruit.
Wild Birds Might Stop For Domestic Birds
Wild birds can find domestic ducks and chickens and stop by out of curiosity because these domestic birds are a sign of safety.
Ducks are especially likely to do this if they find domestic ducks nearby.
Domestic birds may also be a sign of bird food nearby, prompting wild birds to stop in search of food. If you have the option to keep the domestic birds further away from your swimming pool you should have the best luck preventing wild birds from stopping by.
11 Easy Ways To Keep Birds Out Of Your Swimming Pool
Most birds are protected under migratory laws or other laws designed to protect local species so your best and only bet may be to use nonlethal techniques to keep birds away.
However, this is not a bad thing because there are many different options for repelling birds making them not show up in the first place.
Across the world, people have been keeping birds away from their houses and gardens so there is no shortage of proven ways to scare birds off and preventative measures to take.
Keep Birds Out Of The Pool By Putting Up Barriers
Putting up barriers is one easy way to keep birds out of your pool and is one of the most secure ways to keep birds out.
This method is called a total exclusion method, meaning that no matter how small the bird or what species they are guaranteed to be kept out of the pool area.
Barriers can range from simple fences around the pool to much more complex structures. Shorter fences between pools and grass can work for ducks and geese who are less likely to fly up over the fences to get to the pools.
Simple fences, however, do not protect at all from above so any bird can easily fly over them to get to the pool. More complex barriers that completely cover the swimming pool might be necessary to keep all the birds out.
Bird Netting Is Great For Keeping Birds Out Of The Pool
Bird netting placed over a frame surrounding the pool is the most secure way to keep birds out. This method works the best and will keep most animals out of the pool but comes with several downsides.
The first downside is the price. Surrounding the pool can cost thousands of dollars especially if you buy a prebuilt solution and hire someone to do it for you.
DIY methods can save you some money but are still one of the most expensive bird exclusion methods.
While building a net completely around the pool is the most expensive and least easy option on this list, it is the most secure and guaranteed to work so if you’re serious about keeping the birds away this might be for you.
If you do opt for a fence or a similar barrier, you can look into using bird spikes on the top of that barrier to keep birds from at least perching in that spot.
Keep Birds Out Of The Pool By Removing Bird Feeders
If you have a bird feeder by your house, removing might be necessary as those birds find their way to the pool after using the bird feeder.
The more reasons for a bird to be in an area, the more birds are going to be attracted to that area.
This method might seem like a no-brainer in hindsight but can be an easy thing to miss if you have a bird feeder in the front yard and a swimming pool in the backyard.
While birds are pretty to look at and have many benefits to keeping around your house for pest control, you also don’t want them making a mess in the pool.
If your neighbors have bird feeders, politely asking them to take them down might be one option to keep birds out of the pool during the swimming season. However, if you don’t want to do so, or take down your bird feeder, then using the other methods below will still help keep the birds away.
Bugs And Other Pests Might Lead To Birds In The Pool
Bird feeders are not the only source of food that birds can find near pools as pools can attract all sorts of pests that make tasty treats for birds. Since water is necessary for all life pools can attract just about anything, however insects are the most likely pest to attract birds.
Deterring these pests can in turn prevent birds from being drawn to the swimming pool in turn. Some insects might need more in-depth strategies to keep them away but here are some basic tips to help control their populations:
- Keep the pools clean and free of any debris
- Maintain at least 2.0 ppm chlorine in your pool to prevent insects from using the pool
- Check pumps, filters, and other equipment is in working order
- Set up bug traps to attract and remove insects that fly into them
- Use bug-repellent sprays to keep bugs away from the pools and nearby plants
We have so many great articles on keeping all types of pests out of your swimming pool and are constantly adding more! So, if you are having problems with a specific pest, head on over because we may have the solution for you!
Trim Branches And Shrubs To Limit Where Birds Can Roost
Birds need to roost at night and nearby trees and bushes can be good places for them to roost. The closer good branches are to the pool, the more likely that these birds are to venture into the pool during the day.
If you have trees and shrubs near your pool it may be time to give them a trim to limit the roosting area available for pesky birds.
Trimming low-hanging branches and thinning out bushes will make them less attractive to birds to roost in.
Of course, you don’t want to disturb any birds who have a nest with eggs or chicks nearby so be sure to check carefully before chopping any branches. Professional tree trimming services will often do this for you and can trim branches at the best times for you so this is one path if you find yourself not so handy with a chainsaw.
Decoys Can Keep Birds Out Of The Swimming Pool
Decoys that resemble predators or move around a lot are a tried and true method that has been used for thousands of years around the world.
The most common decoy is the scarecrow, but coyotes, predatory birds, and even inflatable tube men have become more and more common as birds become accustomed to scarecrows.
Decoys are fairly inexpensive and really effective in scaring birds away and keeping them out of your swimming pool. Hausse 2 Pack of Horned Owls makes an excellent inexpensive option to choose from, and there are many other options out there to choose from if you would rather go with a different decoy.
Make sure to place your decoys in a place near the pool and out in the open easy to see from the skies so that birds will see them and choose not to land in the area.
Reflective And UV Materials Keep Birds At Bay
Both reflective and UV materials work similarly to keep birds away from your pool and both are very easy to implement.
Reflective materials will visually confuse birds when light reflects off of them and will work to keep them away.
Simple shiny reflective disks can be hung up around your pool and add a nice aesthetic to the area. This XPCARE 30-pack comes with 30 disks and hooks and rings to create your style and be creative with it.
UV materials remind many species of birds of predators to keep them away and come in a wide variety of materials and devices that use UV to scare birds away. Oregon State Extension found that intense UV light threatens some species of birds and will effectively keep them away.
You can also pair this with using wind chimes to repel birds near your pool to double (or triple) the stimuli!
Strobe Lights Are Good For Parties, And Bad For Birds
A more recent development in the technology keeping birds away is the use of strobe lights.
Often strobe lights are triggered by movement and will then turn on, scaring away birds as well as other animals that trigger them.
While more expensive than other methods using a strobe machine will work in all environments, as well as night and day. This makes it one of the most foolproof methods that will always perform well.
Strobe lights work the same way as reflective materials without the downsides, which makes them excellent at repelling birds. They are becoming popular especially for agriculture as they can cover a wide area, but they will work for your swimming pool.
Use Sounds To Scare Birds Away From The Pool
Loud noises will work to scare birds away, and recordings of bird distress calls are used frequently with much success. Sounds used in conjunction with other methods to keep birds away will show the best results.
Pyrotechnics and other loud explosions will work to keep birds away. If you can use loud noises without annoying your neighbors, then a horn or firecrackers can be used to keep birds away.bird
Using a motion-activated speaker to play bird distress calls at a normal bird call volume, in addition to visual repellents is a method recommended by the USDA Wildlife Services for bird dispersal.
Here are a few sounds that scare pigeons that can work to startle other birds as well!
Lasers Keep birds Out Of The Pool
Red and green lasers both work to scare birds away in the same way other lights and UV lights do, and work very well in both daylight and dark.
Laser machines can be used near the pool that automatically triggers to keep birds away, or you can do it manually.
Birds are very in tune with their surroundings and anything out of the ordinary can trigger a flight reflex for them, and lasers are so out of the ordinary that they work well.
Just make sure you aren’t trying to shine them in the eyes of the birds or anyone else because they can do permanent damage in a short amount of time.
Balloons And Kites Are Fun Methods To Keep Birds Away
Balloons and kites are two effective ways to that will act as a predator decoy, but will also give an element of movement – making them even scarier for birds!
These are not your normal party balloons but are specially designed with scary eyes to scare birds away. To purchase, check out the De-Bird Balloon Repellent!
Bird-repelling kites are also not the ones that you would give your kids to play with in the park but are designed to be threatening. These kites are designed to look like hawks or other birds of prey. If you’re interested in grabbing a bird-repelling kite, this Bird Hawk Flying Kite would be perfect!
Use Strong Smells To Stop Birds From Getting In The Pool
Sounds and sights work well to keep birds away, and smells can work just as well too. Strong smells like garlic, peppers, and clove are popular options that can keep birds away.
Birds have a very strong sense of smell so any scents that overpower their sense of smell are confusing for them and keep that away. However, you might need to frequently reapply these scents and cycle through them so that birds will not get used to them.
Mixing a spray with these scents and spraying it around the pool will keep birds away with the added benefit of keeping other pests away as well. Lavender is another scent that you can use that many people find soothing, so make sure to use scents that are appealing to you.
Along with smells, growing certain plants around your pool can help keep birds away too!
What To Do If You Find Birds In Your Pool
Birds can be carriers of diseases and viruses in the worst case, and can also cause quite a mess in your swimming pool.
If birds do get in your pool, you’re going to want to make sure to clean up any dropping that they leave, as well as disinfect the water.
Rather than summerizing, take a peak at this guide with a step-by-step process from the CDC on how to properly clean the pool after finding birds in it.
After cleaning the pool out make sure that your prevention systems are in place and adjust them if needed, by using the tips included in this article!
If you are still having problems with birds in your pool then it may be time to call a professional who will have a better idea of how to prevent the birds, as well as understand local laws of what is allowed to keep the birds away.
Thank You For Reading!
Thanks for reading this article! We hope that these easy tips give you some ideas to keep birds out of your swimming pool and what to do if you do find any of them in your pool. To quickly recap these tips are:
- Using barriers to completely exclude birds
- Scaring them away using decoys
- Surprise birds using lasers
- Strobe lights will confuse birds
- Loud sounds and distress calls to keep them away
- Use a bird’s strong sense of smell to keep them away
- Kites and balloons move around and deter them
- Bright reflections to confuse them
- Removing food to keep them from getting in your pool
- Trim branches so birds can’t roost near your pool
Further, if you have birds getting into your house, make sure to stop by and check out our latest article about simple ways to keep birds from getting into your house! These tips can help the pool situation too!
I hope that these tips will help you keep the birds out of your pool this swimming season!
Franciska M. Schets, Jack F. Schijven, Ana Maria de Roda Husman, Exposure assessment for swimmers in bathing waters and swimming pools, Water Research, Volume 45, Issue 7, 2011, Pages 2392-2400, ISSN 0043-1354.
Gunnar S Nystrom, Victoria J Bennett, The importance of residential swimming pools as an urban water source for bats, Journal of Mammalogy, Volume 100, Issue 2, 24 April 2019, Pages 394–400.
Seamans, T. W., & Gosser, A. Bird Dispersal Techniques. Wildlife Damage Management Technical Series.
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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