Nature’s No-Fly Zone: 4 Colors That Repel Birds Effectively

Colors that repel Birds
© Saddako from Getty Images and Magda Ehlers from Pexels/ via Canva.com

Written by Jennifer Geer

Published: May 15, 2024

Share on:

Advertisement


Nature is full of bright and vibrant colors. These colors are particularly meaningful to birds. Birds are attracted to bright colors and flowers that are the same color as the food they eat, such as ripe berries. For example, hummingbirds love brightly colored flowers and seek them out for their nectar. However, not every color is loved by every bird. And there is one color that universally will repel birds from your yard.

But before we take a look at colors birds hate, let’s talk about how birds view the world. Birds see the world differently than humans. A bird’s eye is larger compared to its body size than any other animal. These larger eyes let in more light and have more light-sensitive cells. Fascinatingly, birds can even see ultraviolet light. Bird eyes have four cone cells (humans have three), letting them view ultraviolet wavelengths. We can’t know exactly what the world looks like to a bird, but it must be a vibrant place with colors we can’t even see.

Since colors are so important to birds, some homeowners paint their houses certain colors to repel both birds and insects. While birds may be desired in the garden and yard, most people don’t want nesting birds on their porch, or a flock of birds too close to the house. Read on for the number one color to repel birds from your yard, plus a few other colors some birds don’t like.

1. White

White beach wooden wood architecture of house, door gate to front porch yard with green landscaping trees, vacation cottage home, fence

Painting your house white may repel birds from nesting on your porch.

©Kristi Blokhin/Shutterstock.com

Birds are universally repelled by large amounts of the color white. While a white flower in the garden probably won’t keep birds away, homeowners sometimes paint their houses white to repel birds. Bird experts believe that when birds see the color white, they sense danger and warning. In fact, some birds, such as the northern mockingbird, flash colors of white as a warning on their wings as they fly away.

Although we don’t know exactly why birds may be scared of white objects, some researchers believe it’s because of the color contrast. Birds can’t camouflage themselves behind a stark white background and may feel more threatened by predators. Unless a bird has white feathers, such as seagulls, they are likely to avoid environments with a lot of white. If you’re looking to attract birds to your garden, you may want to plant white flowers sparingly. A few accent colors won’t keep birds away, but a yard awash with the color white may not be appealing for many birds.

2. Red

Red Fringe Tulips

The color red is sometimes seen as a warning color by birds.

©Sergey V Kalyakin/Shutterstock.com

Although some birds are attracted to the color red, like hummingbirds looking for nectar, many birds view red as a warning color. Some birds have red markings on their wings which are used as warnings against predators. Red-winged blackbirds flash their red wings as they divebomb anyone that gets too close to their nests. 

Owners of pet birds report that some of their birds are highly afraid of the color red and will avoid anyone wearing a red shirt. And a study published in Nature found that finches are born afraid of the color red. On the other hand, many hummingbird feeders are colored red to attract the tiny pollinator birds.

3. Bright Orange

Are Marigolds Poisonous - Marigold flower

Some birds are afraid of bright orange colors, though others are attracted to orange flowers.

©EQRoy/Shutterstock.com

Similar to the color red, some birds are attracted to bright orange colors while others may be afraid. Orioles enjoy eating orange slices and may be attracted by flower gardens with bright orange colors. However, other birds are repelled by objects with bright orange colors. Some pet parrot owners have reported their birds are just as afraid of bright orange as they are of red.

4. Reflective Colors

Mexican metalic colorful playful pinwheels

Birds are startled by bright, metallic, moving objects.

©conodelimon/Shutterstock.com

Last on our list can pertain to any color that is reflective or metallic. This is likely because birds are frightened when they see their reflection in a metallic object. Also, colorful objects with a lot of light reflecting off of them, creating the appearance of movement will scare birds away. 

Bird watchers trying to blend into the environment should avoid clothing that will reflect UV lights. Remember, birds can see UV wavelengths, but we can’t. To avoid this problem, bird enthusiasts can buy fabric spray made to absorb UV light, rather than reflect it. 

If, on the other hand, you are trying to repel birds from an area, there are plenty of rainbow-colored bird scare devices on the market. These are shiny and vibrantly colored and will reflect light and movement, scaring away birds, while looking pretty in your yard. 


Share this post on:
About the Author

Jennifer Geer is a writer at A-Z Animals where her primary focus is on animals, news topics, travel, and weather. Jennifer holds a Master's Degree from the University of Tulsa, and she has been researching and writing about news topics and animals for over four years. A resident of Illinois, Jennifer enjoys hiking, gardening, and caring for her three pugs.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.