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What Smells Do Birds Hate?

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what scent do birds hate

Are you tired of birds constantly eating the plants in your garden? You have tried everything that you can think of to scare away the pesky birds but none of them seem to work. In that case, you may want to start figuring out what smells do birds hate, so you can use this information to drive them away.

There are a lot of smells that most birds absolutely hate. Contrary to popular belief, most birds have a keen sense of smell. You can expect them to leave immediately if they smell something that they do not like.

In this article, you will be getting a couple of suggestions for the kinds of smells that you can use. You will also learn how you can use them properly.


What Smells Should You Use to Drive Birds Away?

If you are asking what smells do birds hate, there are quite many of them. You can use such smells if you are looking for non-lethal and safe ways to drive birds away. You may want to try the following:


garlic smell

Garlic cloves contain a naturally-occurring chemical called allicin. This chemical irritates birds but is harmless, and even healthy, to humans. You can use garlic by creating a spray solution. You can do that by combining garlic, vinegar, and water.

You need to spray the leaves of your plants and the places that birds tend to perch on. This spray is quite effective. However, you need to use the spray constantly because the odor needs to be strong for it to work.


peppermint smell

The strong scent of peppermint is irritating for birds. This is the reason why they will actively avoid peppermint plants and areas sprayed with their essential oils. With that said, mixing peppermint oil with some water and spraying it on your plants will keep birds away.

You can also apply straight peppermint oil on structures or parts of your house that birds like to perch on. Unlike garlic, peppermint oil lingers longer, so there is no need to reapply quite as often.

Cayenne Pepper

cayenne pepper smell

What scent do birds hate? Spicy odors. Cayenne pepper is a general irritant, meaning it can irritate the noses of all creatures, including humans. Birds hate the smell of cayenne pepper and they would actively avoid it as much as possible.

You can either sprinkle dried cayenne pepper powder around the plants you want to protect or create a spray with it. You just need to combine enough cayenne powder in some water and put it in a spray bottle. A couple of spritzes on your plants will be enough to keep birds at bay.


vinegar smell

Straight white vinegar is also an effective bird repellant. Just like the other materials, spray white vinegar straight around the places that you want birds to avoid. You can spray vinegar on your wooden deck, fence, and in other places where you do not want birds to congregate.

Unfortunately, you should not spray vinegar on your plants. The acidity of the vinegar will be enough to dry the leaves and kill the plants.

To make a more potent spray repellent, combine vinegar, crushed lemons, and crushed garlic. This strong-smelling solution combines all the effects of the three ingredients into one.


citronella smell

Citronella is a compound naturally found in lemongrass. It is also in the plant of the same name. For humans, the scent of citronella is quite pleasant, relaxing even. However, birds hate the smell of citronella.

To use this, you can plant several bunches of citronella plants all around your yard. Birds are not the only creatures that do not like the smell of citronella. Flies and mosquitoes and many other bugs hate it as well.

Chili Peppers

Just like cayenne peppers, chili peppers also have the same effect on birds. Chili powder mixed with a bit of vinegar and water and sprayed on surfaces will deter birds from landing on them.

Birds, and essentially all creatures, do not like the strong smell of capsicum annuum, which is the compound that gives chili peppers their spiciness. Any kind of chili pepper product will work the same way. If you want to keep birds away from plants, sprinkle chili powder around the base of the plants.


mothballs smell

Naphthalene balls, commonly called mothballs, are not just effective for chasing away insects. They also have a smell that most birds find repulsive. Place a couple of mothballs in the corners of your deck, porch, and strategic places in your garden.

By doing that, birds will avoid them like the plague. Place new mothballs in the same area a couple of times a month as they dissolve into gas.

Bird Gel

bird gel smell

Bird gel is one of the most effective bird repellents that you can buy commercially. This product is harmless to birds, but it does have a double-headed attack. Not only does it have a smell that is offensive to birds, but it also makes their feet sticky when they step on them.

You simply apply this gel on the surfaces that you do not want the birds to roost on, and they will do the rest. The moment that they step on the gel, the unpleasant feeling will make them not want to return to the area again.

Do Birds Hate Shiny Objects and Wind Chimes?

A lot of guides online say that you can scare off birds by hanging a couple of old CDs near your plants. The theory is that birds are afraid of their reflection, so they would avoid perching somewhere that has reflective surfaces.

However, there is no scientific evidence that proves this. Initially, birds might not go near your garden since they are not used to seeing CDs. However, after a couple of days, they will figure out that those are harmless.

The same goes for wind chimes. Birds do not like sudden movements and noises – both of which are created by wind chimes. However, just like CDs, birds can get used to the wind chimes after a couple of days.

What are the Most Effective Bird Deterrents?

Even more effective than using scents, bird spikes are the best bird deterrent to date. You can usually place these spikes on the roofs of buildings to prevent birds from perching and making a mess.

Although they sound evil, bird spikes are not harmful to birds. They just make the surface uncomfortable for birds to perch on, so they would just fly away and find another place.


By knowing what smells do birds hate, you can keep them from coming back to your yard or anywhere else you do not want them to perch. Are you tired of seeing your fence constantly stained with bird poop? The suggested methods above will keep it from happening again.

The nice thing about the bird repelling methods discussed above is that you will not be harming the birds. You are just making your yard somewhat inhospitable for them.

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