Bird Scarers - the NFU Code of Practice

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(scanned from the NFU Leaflet)

Bird scarers and bird deterrents are essential to protect certain crops. Used thoughtlessly they can seriously annoy and disturb the public thus fuelling the pressure for strict legal controls, or a ban, on their use.

Just a few inconsiderate actions could threaten the ability of all growers to protect their crops in future.

So follow this code which is designed to minimise public aggravation whilst allowing effective crop protection.

Types Of Scarer

Auditory: These may imitate the sound of gunfire, use sirens or a constant hum, or mimic the distress call of the bird.

Visual: These rely on the birds' fear of other, predatory, birds or humans and of sudden movements.

Some scarers and deterrents combine sound and visual stimuli.

Take great care when using auditory scarers

Reducing The Need For Scarers

It may be possible to reduce the need for scarers and increase the effectiveness of those used by:

Using Scarers of All Types

Using Auditory Scarers


Avoid Causing A Nuisance

Angle walls at about 45%


Use as many types of effective scarer as you can

Increasing Effectiveness

Legal Controls

The Firearms Act 1968 requires a firearms certificate to be obtained if bird scaring cartridges are used. The Environmental Protection Act 1990 includes powers to deal with nuisance from auditory bird scarers. These have been used successfully to stop offending farmers using such scarers.

The Air Navigation Order 1980 requires the consent of the Civil Aviation Authority to fly kites or balloons (visual scarers) above 60 metres (200 feet).

The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 protects wild birds. General licences are issued by the Department of the Environment, MAFF, and the Welsh Office which allow authorised persons (including owners and occupiers of land and their representatives) to take and kill certain species regarded as "pest birds".

Some other species can only be killed under a licence issued by MAFF or WOAD (Welsh Office Agriculture Department). Scarers likely to injure wild birds are prohibited.

Further Information

Advice on bird scaring, effective use of scarers and other methods of preventing bird damage can be obtained from ADAS Wildlife Consultants in the statutory ESA and Environment Teams.

The NFU consulted the Central Science Laboratory, MAFF and the Department of the Environment in the preparation of this Code.

Please note that the illustration of particular products does not denote endorsement of those products by MAFF, DOE or NFU.

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