What Are Birds Afraid Of? Birds And Their Weird Emotions 

What Are Birds Afraid Of

Birds are a wonderful sight to behold, especially on a beautiful morning. Hearing them chirp and seeing their wings spread out and preparing for takeoff is so exciting. 

One fantastic thing about these emotionally intelligent creatures is that they feel things deeply – much like humans. Yes! Birds go through a wide range of emotions comparable to those experienced by humans. 

It would interest you to know that birds go through grief and excitement the same way people do. Furthermore, birds show signs of fear when threatened or afraid. 

If you’ve seen a bird freeze in a place, crouch, or make distress sounds, then the bird is probably afraid. 

Now, let’s answer the main question

What Are Birds Afraid Of?

Birds are afraid of strong odors, bird spikes, flashy items, and large predators like owls, eagles, or humans. Birds are also scared of ultrasonic devices, scare balloons, motion-sensor jet blasters, and chimney cowls.

In this article, we’ll cover a lot of ground about the items that scare birds and how you can tell when a bird is afraid. 

This article also highlights steps on how to make birds less afraid by making them comfortable with you. 

Whether you’re in love with birds or not, there are terrifying but fun facts about birds you probably didn’t know before. Sure, you won’t like to miss out on these highlights. 

Keep reading!

11 Things That Birds Are Afraid Of

Birds are intelligent creatures who are frightened by measures that they know would harm them. Here’s a list of common items that scare birds away. 

#1. Shiny objects: 

Shiny items like old CDs, aluminum cans, tin foil, small mirrors, or metallic wrapping paper scare birds away. The light reflected off these items prevents birds from returning to these spots.

#2. Predators: 

Cats, owls, and larger birds are natural predators of birds. Fake replicas of these predators are usually placed near bird clusters to discourage them from landing. 

Although artificial models of predators may scare birds off initially, birds will most likely get used to these models after some time, rendering them worthless.

#3. Garden Balls: 

Round garden balls, enormous colorful balls, are used as garden or yard decorations. However, birds mistake these round objects for eyes. Hence, they become afraid of landing. 

Garden balls are usually placed in a garden or hung from trees, fence posts, and stakes. 

#4. Bird Spikes: 

Spikes are long, needle-like poles that humans use to keep birds away. The metal spikes point upwards, making birds uncomfortable so they won’t land on them. 

People use bird spikes on commercial and private premises in urban areas. 

#5. Loud Noises: 

Birds like parrots have great sensitivity to noise. Birds can detect where noises come from far faster than humans because of their sensitive ears. As a result, birds are alert and ready to fly away if there is a loud, screeching sound.

#6. Dark places:

Birds like cockatiels and parrots are naturally afraid of the dark. When prone to night frights, they flap and flail within and around the cage at night. 

However, they may become relaxed when around a warm, dim light from a lamp in their birdcage.

#7. Laser Beam: 

This laser beam is very selective in low light situations and can be set to frequencies and wavelengths that scare birds off. 

Although some birds are “laser-resistant,” the laser can harm them, especially if the light beam is visible over a great distance at night.

#8. Propane Cannon: 

A canon powered by a propane gas rifle explodes regularly. The explosion bang gives off loud noises causing birds to be afraid. 

However, birds may become used to the sound of regular cannon detonations, especially if the size, pitch, or time interval remain constant. 

#9. Fireworks: 

Birds are usually afraid of fireworks. Some government agencies issue agricultural fireworks licenses. However, the loud bangs scare birds off and have adverse effects on residents and surrounding properties. 

#10. Scarecrow: 

The scarecrow, which has a shape of a human figure, is one of the oldest items that farmers use to scare birds off. However, as soon as some birds perch onto these scarecrows, they become less afraid.  

#11 Humans: 

Birds are afraid of humans because the human voice or the sight of a person is uncommon in wild bird habitats. Therefore, humans may appear threatening or predatory to them. However, some birds become less afraid when they become used to humans.

What Kinds Of Smell Are Birds Afraid Of?

Birds have nasal glands for smelling. However, they do not rely on this gland as much as humans or other animals do. Therefore, some fragrances may be appealing to you but repelling to birds.

Yes! Birds mostly hate the popular scents that humans love—aromas like garlic essential oils, cayenne pepper, chili, and vinegar. Birds are also afraid of commercial products like bird gel, perfume, hairspray, and after-shave cream. 

How Can You Know That A Bird Is Afraid?

Birds communicate with people through their body language. The most typical reaction to fear is the fight-or-flight response. They may also freeze in a place or crouch. In addition, a bird that is afraid will have enlarged eyes and an increased breath rate. 

Other forms of responses to fear include feather picking. When a bird gets scared, it pulls its feathers close to its body. Some birds may even have a loss of appetite and repetitive behaviors. 

Cockatiels, for example, may display their spikes or spread their wings close to the ground. In addition, some birds will rock from side to side while standing in a corner. 

Terrified birds may hiss, shake their heads, attack a human, or another nearby animal. Vocal birds may make distress sounds and avoid landing on any surface.

How Can You Make A Bird Less Afraid? 

You can do various things to make birds feel at ease in your presence. It’s time to learn how to identify the signs of fright in a bird and calm them down.

Feed them.

Feeding wild birds might sometimes entice them to perch on your hand. You can try the following steps if you wish to feed a bird from your hand. 

Step 1: 

Remove any scary pets, such as dogs or cats, from the area.

Step 2: 

Stand near trees or vegetation to provide a safe landing for the birds. Birds will always fly back and forth between your hand and a secure location.

Step 3: 

Feed the birds first thing in the morning while they’re hungry. Before you attempt to feed them, stand close to them at first to ensure that they are comfortable with you.

Step 4: 

Be patient to build trust and comfort with the birds over a few days. Once you’ve gained the confidence of one bird, you’re likely to gain the trust of others.

Step 5: 

Always keep your food away from your body and never extend an empty hand.

Step 6: 

Keep your hands as still as possible when feeding them from your hand. Move slowly and remain calm to avoid making frightening sounds. Any slight movement may give you off as a potential predator.

5 Terrifying Facts About Birds 

The vampire finch lives on blood:

There are a few predatory birds out there, but none is as terrifying as the vampire finch. They survive on the blood of other animals or birds attacking them until they bleed. Then, they swallow the blood as it drips.

As an added scary factor, once a finch discovers a victim they like, they will return to feed the same animal numerous times. So, if a vampire finch thinks you’re tasty, it’ll come back for more.

Cassowaries can kill people:

The cassowary is a modern-day dinosaur. These colored Australian birds have bony skulls and clawed feet. A cassowary’s kick can break bones and tear human flesh. 

However, cassowaries are unlikely to attack you unless you provoke them, attempt to offer them food. Leave a cassowary alone, and it won’t kick-stab you in the neck.

Shrikes use thorns to impale their prey:

Though pretty, the shrike is a dangerous bird. It uses its bent beak to strike a death blow to its prey after killing it. The bird then locates a thorny tree or barbed wire and fixes the dead prey into the spike. 

Male shrikes mostly kill on a spike to attract the female shrikes who are attracted to dead bodies. Therefore, the more dead bodies a male has in his domain, the higher he will draw a female. 

Funnily, they may even use ribbons and bright objects to adorn the bodies of their prey.

Skuas eat the vomit of other birds:

When a skua wants food, instead of hunting for its prey, it will look for another bird that has just eaten. Then it will start to harass the other bird until it starts to run, becomes tired and vomits. The skua will then happily abandon the bird and eat the vomit instead.

Mess with a crow, and it will remember you for life:

Crows are so creepy! They peck out human eyeballs because they are shiny. Although intelligent, crows hold grudges and aren’t afraid to inform other birds that you’re a terrible person if you’ve wronged them. 

Crows remember human faces and their locations easily. Therefore, if you mistreat a crow, it will remember you and your offenses for life. Furthermore, it will inform other crows that you are a horrible person.


Now you know that birds show emotions of fear similar to humans. For example, birds are afraid of flashy items, strong scents, bird spikes, ultrasonic devices, scare balloons, chimney cowls, and even humans.

Birds display a variety of behaviors that reflect that they are afraid. However, the most typical reaction is the same fight-or-flight similar to humans. 

Freezing in place, crouching, increased breathing rate, enlarged eyes, distress sounds are all signs of birds that are afraid.