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What Smells Do Birds Dislike? (Read This First!)

Using spikes, decoys, and netting to repel birds is not always a feasible option. Some areas may be difficult to reach and they may not even be as effective.

This is why keeping birds away from a certain area by using various scents instead is much simpler and more effective. Certain stenches that smell pleasing to us may stink to birds, making it a helpful deterrent.

What smells do birds dislike?

Some subtle smells that birds find highly displeasing include Essential oils, Garlic, Cayenne pepper, Citronella, Peppermint, Chili, Vinegar, and Bird gel. These products are easy to apply in hard-to-reach places and are effective in scaring away birds with their pungency.

As for the given artificial things to repel birds, there are other things that can help you to repel them. Let’s dig in deep to know what smells they dislike.


A mixture consisting of apple cider vinegar and water is an effective and simple homemade spray to deter birds from plants and flowers. Since vinegar is an acidic element, its scent is irritating and unpleasant for almost all birds.


To stop birds or vultures from frequenting a specific area such as plants in balconies, simply place a bowl of ammonia close to the pots.

The vapors from this chemical are highly irritating and toxic for wild birds, causing them to stop visiting that area.


Most bird specialists claim that bleach will not act as an effective deterrent for birds, although it may function as an excellent disinfectant chemical. Therefore, it is not suggested to use bleach as a pest control tool.


A homemade peppermint oil spray is an excellent natural bird repellent as these animals dislike the strong stench that is otherwise pleasing to humans.

Simply add several drops of the oil to water and shake before spraying. This peppermint spray is also handy in deterring flies and mosquitos.


Using garlic oil to deter birds is highly recommended as the strong natural odor exuding from the product is unpleasant for birds. Aside from being cheap, it is also an excellent non-toxic alternative to other harmful repellents.


Mothballs can often be found around the home and is highly effective in keeping birds away from plants. Simply place a few mothballs in a bowl located near the potted plants or flowers.

The only downside is that they must be replaced with new ones every few weeks or else the scent begins to fade. This causes the mothballs to lose their effectiveness.

Essential Oils:

Birds generally dislike most essential oils such as peppermint oil. This is because they do not have very strong lungs which makes it difficult to tolerate the sharp scent of essential oils.

To use it as a repellant, simply mix a couple of drops of the oil with water and spray as required.

Cayenne Pepper:

Birds do not typically go near places where this pepper has been sprayed, making cayenne pepper an effective bird deterrent. A mixture of water, liquid dish soap, and pepper creates a simple homemade spray that birds are sure to avoid.


Citronella oil is an excellent way to deter birds from gardens or house plants and can be mixed with peppermint oil for maximum effectiveness.

The resulting smell is pleasing to humans but offensive to birds. As an added benefit, it also repels insects and bees but is completely non-toxic.

What smell repels birds?

Different birds react to different smells in a different manner. Let’s know more about the smells that is disliked by different bird species.


Parrots will avoid places exuding a strong scent of ammonia as the chemical’s fumes are irritating and toxic for the wild birds.

Simply place a bowl of ammonia near places you want parrots to avoid such as gardens or house plants. Mothballs are also an effective way to deter these birds.


A mixture of citronella and peppermint oil is sure to keep irksome parakeets away from flowers or plants.

To use as a deterrent, shake several drops of citronella oil and peppermint oil with water and spray where needed. It is also a non-toxic alternative to other repellants for these delicate birds.


Cockatiels along with most wild birds dislike the acidic smell of vinegar. To keep them away from a certain area, simply mix apple cider vinegar with water and apply the natural homemade spray where required.

Cockatiels are irritated by the smell of the mixture and therefore avoid areas carrying this unpleasant odor.


Finches are seed-eating songbirds that can be repelled by spraying a concoction of water, chili pepper, and vinegar. Their lungs are sensitive to the strong and unpleasant odor of this simple but effective repellent.


Lovebirds are one of the smallest species of parrots that can also be kept away from plants and flowers by using placing a bowl of ammonia near them. However, the delicate birds may be harmed by the strong fumes of this chemical.

Instead, garlic oil can be used as a non-toxic alternative to prevent lovebirds from frequenting a specific area.


Scare devices and predator decoys may not always work on hordes of doves trying to feed on your plants. In this case, a simple homemade concoction of several drops of citronella oil and water will work wonders for repelling bothersome doves.

Peppermint may also be added for increased benefit and should be sprayed as needed around the property that the birds seem to visit the most.


Parrotlets are physically similar to parakeets and likewise, dislike the odor of garlic oil. Either garlic cloves or its oil may be placed around the yard where Parrotlets frequent the most.

The strong foul smell is unbearable to them, causing the irksome birds to leave immediately.


To prevent Cockatoos from congregating around your backyard plants, spray a mixture of apple cider vinegar and cayenne pepper with water.

The pepper will not harm the wild birds but is sure to repel them with the mixture’s strong odor.


To keep wild conures away from your patio or yard, simply place a couple of mothballs within a bowl near the area. The strong fumes are irritating for Conures, causing them to avoid your property.

Make sure to replace the old mothballs with fresh new ones every 1-2 weeks.

Pionus parrots:

Pionus parrots are another variety of medium-sized parrots native to Mexico. To keep them away from your potted plants in your backyard, using fragrances of natural products such as Garlic oil is advised.

African Greys:

As is with most birds, African greys are also sensitive to strong fumes of chemicals such as ammonia.

To prevent African greys from destroying your patio or backyard, simply place a bowl of diluted ammonia close to the area they frequent the most.


Aside from wind chimes and other simple decoys, Robins are easily scared of other subtle alternatives such as the scent of pepper that they cannot tolerate. Cayenne pepper spray is a simple yet handy way to fend off robins in your yard.

How to keep birds away?

There are multiple ways to keep birds away from your surroundings. Let’s get to know them.

Shiny objects:

Shiny objects that reflect light are excellent deterrents for birds as the reflected light scares off the bothersome pests. They can be hung in the form of old CDs, mirrors, aluminum foil, and tin foil.

The objects can be dangled as decoration around locations that the birds seem to visit the most.

Fake decoys:

Using realistic objects in the shape of these predators is an effective way to scare off birds and prevent them from returning. These objects often take the shape of owls, hawks, and cats.

However, the objects must be changed locations every so often and should be made of a sturdy material such as wood to withstand the outdoors.

Repellent sprays:

Spraying unpleasant scents around the areas that birds frequently visit is one of the most inexpensive and convenient methods of repelling them. A simple homemade concoction of cayenne pepper and water will discourage birds from visiting again.

 Some other commonly used repellent sprays consist of peppermint oil, garlic oil, apple cider vinegar, and citronella.

What smells do birds like?

Birds can be kept using different smells they dislike. Here is a list given that the smell they dislike.


Lavenders are safe to be grown around birds. Additionally, birds such as hummingbirds, are attracted to the spikes of lavenders all year round and will frequently consume them.


Although birds are not necessarily fond of the scent of human gas, farts are completely harmless to birds. Human gas does not form in concentrated amounts that are harmful to birds.

As long as your pet bird is in a room with plenty of ventilation and fresh air, farts will not bother them.


Birds, especially seabirds, have been proven to be able to smell chemicals from decaying fish or groups of alive fish. Since they typically will follow the scent, it can be assumed that they do like the smell.

Rotten mice:

The smelly carcass of rotten mice will exude a pungent odor of decomposition and toxic gases that birds are able to sense. Since most birds such as eagles, hawks and owls eat mice, they typically like catching its scent.


The toxic fumes of gasoline are very dangerous for birds and may even lead to losing life within minutes. Petrol and gasoline both irritate the airways of birds, causing them to have difficulty breathing properly.

Benefits of using smell as a bird deterrent

Using pungent smelling products such as essential oils, pepper, and lemon juice among many others, is a highly effective alternative to other physical deterrents such as wind chimes and reflective objects.

Deterrents are easier to spray in hard-to-reach areas and generally smell pleasant to humans.

Final thoughts

Among many bird deterrents, essential oils such as peppermint, lemon juice, cayenne pepper, citronella, and apple cider vinegar are some commonly used products that are very simple yet effective repellents against problematic birds. All of these can be easily sprayed and smell great to humans.