Imitation Goshawk

Imitation Goshawk

Imitation Goshawk

Cost                 $40

Aesthetic        5/10

Source            Ordered online from hawkbirdscarer.com

The theory     The imitation bird of prey resembles a Goshawk, a bird of prey found (in variations) on every continent on the planet.

The bird hovers over its prey before striking, so the imitation goshawk is lofted high in the air, giving birds in the area the idea that it is looking for food/about to strike. Birds see your imitation bird, mistaking it for a real goshawk in hunting mode and stay away.

How to use

There are a few ways to use the imitation bird of prey, which does come with instructions. My choice was to use some 40mm PVC pipe and fishing wire that I had lying around the house. I created what looks like a hook, with about 3 metres of pipe, a few 45 degree joining pieces (you can use a 90 degree piece but that’s what I had lying around) and another 500mm piece of pipe to let the hawk dangle freely.

The fishing wire then ran up the middle of the pipe. At one end of the fishing wire, was the bird, the other end I tied a piece of plywood with the string so it couldn’t disappear up the pipe. This gave me a little bit of control of the height of the bird too, from the comfort of the ground.

There was a bit of mucking around, to make sure the hawk sits flat when it’s up in air, and to make sure everything is secure. There could be easier ways to do it, but the way it is set up, allows the hawk to move in very little breeze. (Picture on next page)

A tip with this setup, have enough fishing wire left over to be able to bring the hawk down to the ground without having to remove the pipe set up.

Story

            It did take me about an hour to, construct the pipe setup, but also figure out where I was going to put it. My neighbour has chickens and stated in the booklet provided, the hawk should be out of sight of any domestic birds e.g. chickens, because the sight of the hawk can frighten them. So once I found an appropriate spot, I was good to go.

Once up, I contemplated my handiwork, put some seed down, watered it and walked away. That day was quite hot, so I went to the beach.

Imitation Goshawk in action

Imitation Goshawk in actio

When I returned, there were no birds around. And I’m not sure if putting the goshawk up has made me notice things, but it was quieter than usual. No bird sounds, but it was hot, maybe the birds have all gone to the beach too.

Over the next few days I noticed birds perched on the back fence and on my neighbours’ roof, but I have not seen any birds near my lawn seed. They have decided to stay away, from all my seed, not just underneath the goshawk, also in the majority of the backyard.

I have had to do 10 minutes of maintenance on the bird to make sure it was sitting level, which could be a problem for anyone contemplating stringing the bird up with fishing line, as the bird does flap around in the wind.

Day 5 and during a windy night my fishing wire setup gave way so I had to bring the whole setup down and rethink it. I cut a coat hanger in half and wrangled it around the plastic silhouette of the bird, then added tape.

Attatching the Imitation Goshawk to the PVC pipe

(The coat hanger is cut in half at the bottom and folded around the plastic insert. The hawk wont move around as much but the underside plastic sheet (just visible) will still flap around, and the plastic pipe will still move in a moderate wind.)

The wind snapped the fishing line during the night and I fixed it around 2pm the next day. The whole process took about ½ an hour. In between time I saw one or two birds eating seed.

Over the next few days the birds kept away. On day 9 there is as much lawn seed in the garden as was on day 2, even my wife has noticed the absence of birds around the back of our house (where the hawk is situated.)

When I returned, there were no birds around. And I’m not sure if putting the goshawk up has made me notice things, but it was quieter than usual. No bird sounds, but it was hot, maybe the birds have all gone to the beach too.

Over the next few days I noticed birds perched on the back fence and on my neighbours’ roof, but I have not seen any birds near my lawn seed. They have decided to stay away, from all my seed, not just underneath the goshawk, also in the majority of the backyard.

I have had to do 10 minutes of maintenance on the bird to make sure it was sitting level, which could be a problem for anyone contemplating stringing the bird up with fishing line, as the bird does flap around in the wind.

Day 5 and during a windy night my fishing wire set-up gave way so I had to bring the whole set-up down and rethink it. I cut a coat hanger in half and wrangled it around the plastic silhouette of the bird, then added tape.

The wind snapped the fishing line during the night and I fixed it around 2pm the next day. The whole process took about ½ an hour. In between time I saw one or two birds eating seed.

Over the next few days the birds kept away. On day 9 there is as much lawn seed in the garden as was on day 2, even my wife has noticed the absence of birds around the back of our house (where the hawk is situated.)

Conclusion

After doing tests of the owl, plastic snake and CD’s tied to string I started to get a bit sceptical about visual bird scaring techniques. Thinking to myself that the birds were just watching, waiting and creeping closer until they were at lunch. I also started to query whether silhouettes of any particular shape would work as the owl and snake had no lasting effect on the birds.

We’ll the answer seems to be that some shapes and silhouettes don’t work and some do, as the imitation goshawk definitely does keep the birds away. I have not seen one bird come within 10-15 metres (32-50 feet) of the goshawk.

It is a little more expensive that other bird scaring techniques, but on the other hand you could probably buy the equivalent in plastic snakes and/or CD’s and string and its not necessarily going to scare away the birds any better.

Rank     9/10