Birds of Prey and Other Birds
IMPORTANT NOTE: Legal Protections for Birds of Prey
In addition, bald and golden eagle nest sites are protected under the federal Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act. Hazing with gunfire, explosives, and airplanes is prohibited without a permit. Consult the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service or the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife for specific regulations.
Bald eagles are sometimes attracted in large numbers to large-scale pastured poultry operations; chicks, in particular, are very vulnerable to predation. Eagles will also prey on 3-4 week old lambs and kids as they begin to wander or play farther from mothers, but not generally after 6 weeks of age. Golden eagles are more of a threat to older lambs and kids, but there are few Golden eagles present in the Willamette Valley. These individuals spend late February to early March in the Valley, generally depating by the end of March.
How can I protect my livestock and poultry from eagles?
- Set up birthing sheds or protected pens less than 1 or 2 acres in size. Temporary pens for night and early morning are very useful since eagles are unlikely to enter smaller spaces.
- Use livestock guardian animals, particularly dogs that alert to aerial attacks. Livestock guardian animals are more effective in areas small enough for them to actively protect, rather than very large spaces with scattered stock or poultry.
- Provide brushy grazing areas and shelters, which are safer than large open pastures with no overhead protection to deter aerial attacks.
- Provide an active herding and human presence to discourage eagles.
- Remove all carrion. Do not feed eagles to attract them away from pastured livestock. This practice will attract other carnivores to the area.
- Mount or suspend clothed scarecrows, with movable arms, on high points near nightly bedding areas, to scare eagles for up to 3 weeks (after which they become used to them).
- Use portable electric netting to subdivide large pastured poultry areas.
- Use netting or wires over pastured poultry to disrupt aerial attacks.
- Use rounded corners in pens to reduce smothering during an attack.
- Remove roosting sites for hawks, owls, and eagles.
How can I protect my livestock and poultry from hawks?
- Cover coops, runs, and pens well.
- Cover larger yards with grid systems or wire, reflective tape, Kevlar cord, or netting.
- Do not locate free-range areas near potential perching sites such as trees or poles. These areas should be provided with protective shelters. Outfit tall posts with electric pole shockers, metal cones, or spikes to discourage perching.
- Keep a rooster. Roosters often give useful alarms to their flock, providing time to hide in protective shelters or brush.
- Livestock guardian dogs will alert, bark, and charge at raptors.
- Use noisemakers, whistles, pyrotechnics, and gunfire to scare off hawks, until they become habituated.
How can I protect my livestock and poultry from owls?
- Cover the top of the pen or coop with hardware cloth or tight mesh. Install wires or reflective tape to disrupt flight paths and areas of potential attack.
- For larger yards, set up grid systems of wire, monofilament, or Kevlar cord, covered with netting.
- Seal or cover all access around gates.
- Provide nighttime hiding places for free-ranging birds, waterfowl, and rabbits.
- Add a rooster to your flock, as a warning system.
- Avoid free-ranging sites with high perches (such as trees), although owls will also use fence posts.
- Use livestock guardian dogs if socialized to poultry for patrolling around poultry areas.
- Set up scare devices such as noisemakers, motion-activated sprinklers, lights, scarecrows, and reflective items. However, owls do become habituated to routines, lights, and many scare devices. Barred Owls, in particular, are attracted to lights to hunt for large insects.
Deterrent Information – Other Birds
Bird Control Group: Laser bird deterrents are a cost-effective and animal-friendly solution for protecting agricultural areas and keeping your valuable crops safe.
Bird Guard Electronic Bird Control: Broadcast distress call recordings that instantly trigger a flight response in pest birds, causing them to relocate to an area less threatening.
Bird Barrier: Products to prevent birds from landing, roosting or nesting.
Bird-B-Gone: Over 100 affordable, effective and humane bird control products.
Bird-X Bird Repeller Products: Bird control products that are environmentally friendly, humane, safe to use, and effective.
Shock Tape: Electrified transparent adhesive tape to repel perching birds without harming them.
Inflatable ‘Dancing’ Tube Man: Dynamic unrepeatable dancing motion keeps birds away from crops.
Standards for Bird Control in Vineyards: From the Oregon Wine Growers Association.
Falconry-based Bird Abatement: From the Oregon Falconers Association.
Bird Controls and Falconry: From the Northwest Berry Foundation.
Integrated Avian Solutions: Falconry-based abatement of nuisance birds for agriculture and industry in the Pacific Northwest.
MaxYield Falconry: Falconry-based nuisance bird abatement services to agriculture, industry, and other situations where nuisance birds prevail.
Dohner, Jan Vorwald. The Encyclopedia of Animal Predators. North Adams, MA: Storey Publishing, 2017.
Frank Isaacs, Founder and Project Manager, Oregon Eagle Foundation, Inc.
Livestock Guardian Dogs and Poultry (Mother Earth News)
Disclaimer: The information above is provided for educational purposes only. We encourage you to do your own research on specific methods that will work best for you and your property. Any beliefs and/or opinions stated by the resources listed above do not necessarily reflect the belief and/or opinion of Benton County, or its affiliate organizations.