Using lasers to control birds


September 20, 2022

Many bird control projects can be greatly enhanced with the proper use of professional lasers. There is a big difference, however, in using professional equipment and procedures vs. lasers not specifically designed for birds and using them haphazardly. Consider class 3B lasers, which have a power output up to 500 milliwatts (dependent on the environment), and be sure the device includes safety features such as a keyed interlock system and a lens with a special coating to keep dangerous ultraviolet and infrared light from leaving the laser. Green is the most visible color for birds, so a green laser is usually the most effective for bird deterrence.

The power of the laser is important, and your choice depends on what you expect to accomplish. At the low end, 30-milliwatt lasers will be most effective in very low-light conditions and interior applications. By contrast, 50- to 100-milliwatt lasers will work best within a few hours of sunset and sundown, on very overcast days, and in other low-light conditions. Only lasers rated at 500 milliwatts will work in bright, sunny conditions.

For commercial and agricultural applications, automated lasers that can be programed and run unattended are a great option. These automated systems are primarily used to protect crops, aquaculture assets and commercial sites, including solar panel arrays, rooftops and industrial sites.

Pro Tips:

  • Using lasers to direct birds toward a mist net or out of dark corners can greatly speed up removal in large open buildings.
  • Using a laser to harass resting waterfowl and roosting starlings, pigeons and Corvids (birds related to crows such as ravens and jays) can be very successful.
  • Move your laser steadily, about the pace of a fast-walking human.
  • Use zig-zag motions.
  • Repeatedly treat roost sites at dawn and dusk.
  • Never point lasers at a people, aircraft or vehicles.
  • Always follow all laws and regulations, including those from the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
  • Install automated lasers before birds are causing damage or nesting.


About the Author

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Schumaker is the director of business and product development for Wildlife Control Supplies.

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