The Best Bird Decoys for Scaring Away Snakes, Squirrels, and Other Pests

Written by Katie Melynn Wood
Updated: March 1, 2023
© Peter Turner Photography/Shutterstock.com

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Key Points

  • The #1 Best Overall bird decoy for scaring away pests is the Fake Owl Decoy and Bird Deterrent.
  • When you’re shopping for a bird decoy to scare pests, keep the following factors in mind: It must withstand the elements, it should be affordable, and it must convince other birds and small animals that it is a bird of prey.
  • There are two main types of bird decoys: stationary and those with rotating heads or bodies. We listed the pros and cons of each type for your convenience.

Snakes, squirrels, and other pests can be bothersome if they’re in your yard. While you can look for a trap or call a professional, there is a much simpler solution that often works. Setting up a bird decoy can help deter these other animals from making a permanent home in your yard. This is a great option for those who often face critters like snakes, which can be dangerous, or gardeners looking to protect their harvest.

Bird decoys can be used for a variety of purposes, mostly to scare away other animals. To get rid of snakes, squirrels, and other pests, look for a predatory bird decoy. They can be easy to set up, although you will need a place for your decoy to “perch.” Bird decoys are available in a variety of species, most often owls and hawks.

We’ve compiled a list of top-reviewed bird decoys. These reliable picks make both scary and harmless snakes think twice before entering your yard.

  1. Fake Owl Decoy and Bird Deterrent
    • Works similar to a scarecrow
    • Very lifelike
    • Weather-resistant
    • Very easy to set up
    Check Amazon
  2. YOFIT Bird Scarecrow Fake Horned Hawk Decoy
    • Larger than some other bird decoys
    • Very lifelike paint
    • Natural predator of small animals
    • Eco-friendly
    Check Amazon
  3. Hausse 2 Pack Fake Horned Owl Bird Scarecrow Decoy
    • Budget-friendly option
    • Easy to set up
    • Set one up at a time or use both
    • Stylish design
    Check Amazon
  4. Plastic Owl Scarecrow Sculpture with Rotating Head
    • Hand-painted
    • Head of the owl rotates
    • Paint is waterproof and won't fade in the sun
    • Features a base that can be weighed
    Check Amazon

A-Z-Animals’ Top Picks for Best Bird Decoys

#1 Best Overall: Bird Blinder Fake Owl Decoy

In our review, the best bird decoy for scaring away other animals is the Bird Blinder Fake Owl Decoy. It works similarly to a scarecrow to keep snakes, smaller birds, squirrels, and other critters from getting too comfortable in your yard. Prey animals see this owl perched nearby, its eyes are wide open and alert. The small animals assume it is looking for food when it really is just a plastic decoy.

The decoy from Bird Blinder is 10.5″ tall. It is painted to be as lifelike as possible. The owl comes in two varieties so you can set one up that is a natural predator for critters in your area. This decoy is weather-resistant as well, an important feature for a decoy that is meant to be used outside.

Setting up the decoy is easy. It has a plug on the bottom that can be removed. You can put it onto a perch, such as a post. Many reviewers filled the hollow bottom with rocks and sand to weight it down before closing it up again. One reviewer used the owl decoy to trick birds who had made a habit of getting loud in the middle of the night. “I built a moveable perch that sits on top of the fence, I take the owl down in the morning, put him up in the evening, and randomly move the perch around. Guess what I hear at 2:00 in the morning? Nothing. Sweet silence. The mockingbirds, crows, and all the little finches have abandoned the trees.”

Some reviewers said that the owls didn’t deter birds and other pests.

Pros and Cons of Bird Blinder Fake Owl Decoy

ProsCons
This owl decoy works like a scarecrow to scare pests away.Some reviewers said that the owls didn’t deter birds and other pests.
It’s 10.5″ tall and painted to look realistic. (Two styles are available.)
It’s easy to set up thanks to a removable plug on the bottom that can be inserted onto a perch.
You can weigh the owl down with rocks and sand to secure it in place.
Overall Best
Fake Owl Decoy and Bird Deterrent
  • Works similar to a scarecrow
  • Very lifelike
  • Weather-resistant
  • Very easy to set up
Check Amazon

2. Best Hawk Decoy: Yofit Bird Scarecrow Fake Horned Hawk Decoy

Hawks are another predator that scares away pests like snakes, squirrels, and other birds, and the Yofit Bird Scarecrow Fake Horned Hawk Decoy looks like the real deal. This decoy keeps birds, snakes, rodents, and other pests from coming into your yard or designated area. It is a bit larger than some other bird decoys at 15.7″ high.

You will need to move the decoy periodically to keep its effectiveness. If you leave it in one place, small animals may get used to it. You should put it in a visible place, such as a tree. Some reviewers said that they needed to zip-tie or tie it down to keep it from blowing away. It also has an opening on the bottom that you can fill with sand and rocks. The lifelike paint on the hawk decoy does a great job of convincing small animals that the hawk is real.

Several verified users said that this hawk decoy didn’t deter pests.

Pros and Cons of Yofit Bird Scarecrow Fake Horned Hawk Decoy

ProsCons
This hawk decoy is 15.7″ high and looks like a real predator.You need to move it periodically to scare prey animals.
You can fill the opening on the bottom with sand and rocks.You may have to zip-tie or tie it down to keep it from blowing away.
Several verified users said that this hawk decoy didn’t deter pests.
Best Hawk Decoy
YOFIT Bird Scarecrow Fake Horned Hawk Decoy
  • Larger than some other bird decoys
  • Very lifelike paint
  • Natural predator of small animals
  • Eco-friendly
Check Amazon

3. Best 2-Pack: Hausse 2-Pack Fake Horned Owl Scarecrow Decoy

Using the Hausse 2-Pack Fake Horned Owl Scarecrow Decoy doubles the effectiveness of using a bird decoy. This pair of two horned owl decoys is budget-friendly and easy to set up. Each has a hollow base that can be filled with sand and rocks. This helps weigh the decoy down so that it can withstand winds and the elements. It’s still best to move the decoys periodically. You can set one up at a time or use both to increase the range of the predators’ “zone.”

The design is lifelike and may vary a bit from decoy to decoy. The feathers, eyes, and beak are all very realistic. “YES, they do keep critters away,” said one reviewer. “Worth the money and inexpensive method of preserving harvest until picking day. They even look cool, marble type eyes seem realistic.”

Several reviewers said that these owls didn’t deter birds from entering their yards or gardens.

Pros and Cons of Hausse 2-Pack Fake Horned Owl Scarecrow Decoy

ProsCons
This pair of horned owl decoys is affordable and easy to set up.You should move the owls periodically to convince prey animals that the decoys are “real.”
You can fill the base with sand and rocks to weigh the owls down.Several reviewers said that these owls didn’t deter birds from entering their yards or gardens.
Best 2-Pack
Hausse 2 Pack Fake Horned Owl Bird Scarecrow Decoy
  • Budget-friendly option
  • Easy to set up
  • Set one up at a time or use both
  • Stylish design
Check Amazon

4. Best with Moving Head: Besmon Store Plastic Owl Scarecrow Sculpture with Rotating Head

This hand-painted Besmon Store Plastic Owl Scarecrow Sculpture has a rotating head that makes it even more lifelike. The owl is 14.6″ tall, one of the taller options for an owl decoy. The paint on the decoy is waterproof and won’t fade in the sun and elements. Since it is designed for outdoor use, this is an important detail.

These are a little bit more expensive than some other options on our list. They are well made, however, and many reviewers are willing to pay a bit more for the lifelike rotating head. It also has a base that can be weighed, as well as spots to screw it to a post or tree for additional securing.

“Got this because there were two hawks circling my backyard when I would take my puppy out to play,” wrote one reviewer. “First day I put this owl out on the deck, a hawk swooped low and saw it, never came back. Head swerves in the wind, and you should rotate the owl daily, put it in different places to fool birds.”

A few reviewers said that the head didn’t rotate in the wind. Others said that birds weren’t threatened by the owl and continued to frequent areas “protected” by the owl scarecrow.

Pros and Cons of the Besmon Store Plastic Owl Scarecrow Sculpture with Rotating Head

ProsCons
This plastic owl scarecrow is hand-painted with waterproof paint that won’t fade in the sun and the elements.Some users said that their owls’ heads didn’t rotate in the wind.
It measures 14.6″ tall and its head rotates in the wind.A few reviewers said that pests weren’t threatened by the owl and continued to visit their yard or garden.
You can weigh the base down or screw it to a tree or post for additional stability.
Best with Moving Head
Plastic Owl Scarecrow Sculpture with Rotating Head
  • Hand-painted
  • Head of the owl rotates
  • Paint is waterproof and won't fade in the sun
  • Features a base that can be weighed
Check Amazon

Choosing the Best: What to Look For

When selecting a bird decoy to scare away snakes, other birds, squirrels, and pests, find something that can withstand the elements, is affordable, and replicates a natural predator.

Weather-Proof

Bird decoys are made to be used outside. After all, that’s where the pests are located and where you want to protect. Your decoy should be made with waterproof and fade-proof paint. The last thing that you want is to have to replace a decoy right away because it faded or was damaged. Most are made of heavy-duty plastic as well. Finally, make sure that you can secure your decoy. This can be done by weighing the base with sand and rocks or tying or screwing it down to a post or branch.

Affordable

Bird decoys will eventually need to be replaced. If you live in an area with extreme weather, this will happen even more quickly. Look for a bird decoy that is easy on your budget. You may even want to buy a multi-pack for additional savings. Some bird decoys that are more expensive have special features, like a rotating head or solar-powered eyes. Some reviewers are happy to pay a little bit more for these extra layers of deterrence.

Natural Predator

Bird decoys work because they look like and mimic natural predators of smaller animals that you want to get rid of. While a pink lawn flamingo makes a style statement, they don’t work very well as a decoy because other animals are not afraid of them. Owls and hawks are the two most popular bird decoys because they hunt animals such as snakes, mice, smaller birds, and squirrels. These prey animals take one look at the decoy and find another area to explore.

The Different Types of Bird Decoys: Pros and Cons Compared

Most bird decoys operate very similarly. You can choose between a stationary décor or one with a rotating head or body. Each option has its own pros and cons.

Stationary Bird Decoy

ProsCons
Budget-friendlyNeeds to be moved periodically
Easy to set up
Very effective

Rotating Bird Decoy

ProsCons
More lifelikeSlightly more expensive
Most effective
Doesn’t need to be moved as frequently

Verified Review: User Experience

Our number one pick, the Bird Blinder Fake Owl Decoy, is a popular choice to use to keep other bothersome birds away. “I placed one of these owls on my balcony to prevent sparrows from pooping on my balcony rails. It seems to alone,” wrote one reviewer. “I make sure to place ‘Woodsy’ in clear sight perched on my trash can, back of a bench, back of chairs, and move him every couple of days.”

It does require a bit of setup, either to put it on a perch or weight it down. “After doing a little research, you need to put the bird on some sort of perch to actually scare away other birds,” said one reviewer. “Once I drilled a few holes in the plastic bottom and zip-tied it to the railing on my tiny porch we haven’t had a bird return. Definitely a big improvement.”

The rotating bird decoy uses wind power to move the head. It was so realistic that it even surprised some reviewers. “Bought this owl to put on deck to scare birds who kept flying into our windows. Have had it up a week and so far so good. Even startled us when looking through window till we remember it is fake,” they wrote. “It is always windy where we live, so having the head move is no problem. We did screw it down to a board and clamped it onto the rail so we can easily change locations.”

The moving head can cut down on the need to move the owl but you should still plan to relocate it periodically to keep it from becoming too familiar. “Looks real and nicely painted. With the wind, its head moves, and it looks alive,” said one reviewer. “Birds were pooping on my patio until this was put up. Just remember to change its position once a week and it does work.”

About the Author

Katie is a freelance writer and teaching artist specializing in home, lifestyle, and family topics. Her work has appeared in At Ease Magazine, PEOPLE, and The Spruce, among others. When she is not writing, Katie teaches creative writing with the Apex Arts Magnet Program in Anne Arundel County, Maryland. You can follow Katie @katiemelynnwriter.

The Best Bird Decoys for Scaring Away Snakes, Squirrels, and Other Pests FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

Do owl and hawk decoys really scare birds and other small prey animals?

Yes! Other birds and small prey animals such as rodents are hardwired to recognize and avoid owls and hawks.

Do I need to move my owl or hawk decoy for it to be effective?

Initially, decoys may frighten other birds and small prey animals. In time, however, the prey animals will notice that the decoys never move. At this point, they’ll stop considering them to be a threat.

To keep this from happening, all you have to do is move the decoy owl or hawk from time to time. This will convince the prey animals that the decoys are “real” predators and keep them out of your yard or garden.

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