What smells repel birds? (6 deterrents birds hate)

what smells repel birds DIY repellent

Essential Oils, Garlic, Cayenne Pepper and Professional Products are all known to be smells that birds hate. Keeping birds away by using smell is an effective and simple way of deterring birds. Birds hate the smell of many things that humans love!

Keeping birds away by using spikes, netting or decoys is not always possible. Using smell as a bird repellent is a fantastic solution as it can often reach otherwise tricky locations. 

Applying these smells effectively can be difficult but this is where this article can help.

What smells repel birds?

  • Essential Oils
  • Garlic 
  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Chili
  • Vinegar 
  • Bird Gel
  • Professional Products.

A full list of best bird repellents might also be of use.  

Benefits of using smell as a deterrent

  • Can be placed in hard to reach places
  • Subtle alternative to decoys, barriers or spikes
  • Quietly effective – no need for sound emitters
  • All these aromas smell great to humans

1. Bird Gel

One product that plays with a birds’ sense of smell is this bird-repellent gel

Bird Repellent Gel

Smelling of peppermint oil, this product also plays with birds’ sense of touch and sight. The gel emits ultraviolet light which in combination with its smell and texture gives birds the sensation of fire.  

The bird gel will be effective up to 4 years after first use.

The only downside of this product is that it is fairly pricey.

2. Peppermint Oil

Peppermint Oil

Peppermint oil and other essential oils have become very popular for a wide range of uses. None more so than to deter birds.

Birds find peppermint oil to be highly offensive which makes this a great solution as it smells great to most humans. 

The best way to apply peppermint oils is:

Mix these:

  • 1/4 cup vinegar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 7 drops of lemon oil
  • 7 drops of peppermint oil

Soak cotton balls in this mixture and scatter them in locations where birds are being a nuisance! 

Ensure that you regularly re-apply this solution to the cotton balls as the pungency of the mixture does fade over time. 

what smells repel birds DIY repellent

3. Garlic

As well as keeping vampires away, garlic is known to be an offensive smell to a lot of birds.

Natural and cheap, using garlic as a bird deterrent is well worth a go. 

You can apply garlic by leaving cloves in areas where birds are a nuisance. Please remember to remove the garlic before it rots! 

Another option is to use garlic oil and apply it in a similar way as suggested in #2.

4. Cayenne Pepper

It’s interesting that so many different birds and animals can’t stand the smell of cayenne pepper, yet it seems to be a part of so many recipes.

Cayenne pepper hits the olfactory senses pretty hard, which is why birds want to avoid it.

In addition to birds, skunks also cannot stand the odor that comes from cayenne pepper.

5. Professional Products

Bonide Repels-All Animal Repellent

If all natural smell repellents fail, there are professional products designed to keep birds away.

They often scare birds away by being offensive to multiple senses.

Professional products more expensive, but often more effective in the long run. 

One of the most effective products that I have used is this Bondie Repel-All spray.

It’s bio-degradable and lasts up to 2 months once sprayed!

6. Chili Pepper Mix

While chili pepper alone may not be enough, mixing it with water and apple cider vinegar offers a simple and natural way of deterring birds.

Pour into a spray container a mixture of:

– 24 chili peppers

– half-gallon of water

– quarter-cup of apple cider vinegar 

Spray the mixture in troublesome places!

Like any mixture of this nature, it will fade quickly, so you will need to reapply it often.

Some useful links:


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About Us

We are avid bird-watchers who recently retired, allowing us more time to travel the world. Fortunately, we have managed to visit numerous countries around Europe, Asia, and America. Watching and photographing birds has been a passion for many years and we are making the most of the extra time on our hands!

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