Sonic bird control systems are becoming more common in the bird control sector and broadly speaking fall into three distinct categories; ultrasonic systems, sonic systems and bio-acoustic systems. For information on ultrasonic systems please see our ‘Ultrasonic Systems’ product review. Sonic systems produce a variety of electronically-generated sounds normally emitting noise levels up to 120 dB (A) and are designed to frighten birds with loud and unpleasant noises. Sonic noise is sound that is audible to the human ear – ultrasonic sound is normally not audible to the human ear but in some cases can be heard by women or young children. Bio-acoustic systems use natural alarm and distress calls as well as predator calls in order to create a hostile environment for the target species. Alarm calls are made when the bird perceives itself to be in danger, distress calls are made when the bird is in pain or has been attacked by a predator and predator calls are cries made by a predatory bird. Distress calls, alarm calls and predator calls are audible to the human ear.
Pure sonic systems are not widely available for the purpose of bird control with a majority of sonic devices being provided as part of a 2/3/4-way or even a 5-way system. These systems may include any of the following; distress calls, alarm calls, predator calls, ultrasonic sounds and sonic sounds. In some cases these systems are complimented by strobe lights providing a visual scaring element to the system. Most systems are available for internal or external use and a majority of the combo systems have multi-speaker options for ‘surround-sound’ scaring.
The most effective sonic systems appear to be those that are programmable and which offer sonic, ultrasonic and bio-acoustic options. For the purposes of this review it is these systems that we will concentrate upon. A majority of these systems are static systems with multi-speaker options that would normally be used for the protection of larger areas such as football stadiums or large industrial warehouses. For smaller more intimate areas the single-speaker units may be more appropriate but many of these units are only available with single-voice options such as distress calls or predator calls. Where sonic systems are installed in areas in areas of human habitation it must be understood that noise will be generated which may be intrusive, unpleasant and anti-social. For any type of urban application a thorough survey of the area must first be undertaken to assess the potential for human disturbance. If a sonic system is to be considered for an internal application such as a factory unit where people are working, care must be taken to ensure that workers do not suffer sonic disturbance (or visual disturbance if a combo unit with a strobe is used).
Most sonic systems are powered by mains electricity (AC current) for ease of use and in an effort to reduce the need for human interaction, but a majority of systems also offer a battery-powered option (DC current) and in some cases a solar panel option as well.
- Ultrasonic frequency range: 15-25 KHz
- Sonic frequency range: 3-5 KHz
- Ultrasonic sound pressure: 95-102 dB (per speaker) at 1 metre
- Sonic sound pressure: 105-110 dB (per speaker) at 1 metre
- Switchable sound options: Distress calls, Predator sounds, Sonic sounds
- Constant sounds: Ultrasonic sounds play constantly
- Ultrasonic modes: High frequency, Medium frequency, Low frequency
- Operation modes: Delay period (time between playing calls), Time of operation, Random mode
- Delay period settings: Short/Medium/Long/Extra Long
- Timed operations: Day only/24 hour/Night only
- Random settings: Mode on, Mode off
Another major consideration when siting a sonic device is proximity to human habitation. The benefit of a fully programmable device is that the various sounds and calls (and lights if applicable) can be switched off at times when the device may be liable to cause disturbance, but the more basic units may need to be manually switched requiring regular human interaction. In the case of all sonic systems the transmission of sound will be effected by wind, temperature and the deflection of sound waves from surrounding buildings and therefore finding the optimum site may be time consuming. It is also the case that when the speakers need to be re-located due to the risk of habituation, the process of risk assessment must be undertaken all over again to ensure that the reflected sounds not only continue to be effective as a deterrent but also do not disturb people living or working in the vicinity.
The sonic bird scarer is a relatively inexpensive product based on the sheer number of scaring options provided together in one unit, certainly in the case of the multi-function scarers, but the issue of habituation is an ongoing concern for users. Most experts believe that sonic products, be they bio-acoustic, ultrasonic, sonic or a combination of all three can only ever play a part in an overall control strategy combining other deterrents and anti-perching products. Although the product may appear to be reasonably priced based on the various options available to the user and relative to some of the more cost-prohibitive exclusion products such as bird netting, when provided as part of an overall control system the product does not seem quite so cost-effective. Many users will purchase this product because they are simply looking for a maintenance-free option that is clean, cheap to run and which has numerous operating options. It is possible, however, that the product will not quite live up to their expectations when the necessity to regularly re-site the product and/or the speakers to reduce habituation is taken into consideration, combined with the probable need to complement the system with deterrents.
Also commonly known as:
Bird wailer, sonic scarers, ultrasound bird scarers, quadblaster, wailer, silent bird scarer, electronic bird scarer, maxi wailer, midi wailer, broadband pro, billboard pro, ultrasonic scarers, sonic deterrents, ultrasound deterrents, bird xpeller pro, super bird xpeller pro, distress call system, sonic distress system
Relevance to pigeon control:
Sonic systems are used to scare a wide variety of birds, predominantly in the agricultural sector, but the product is also commonly marketed as a pigeon-scaring device
About Pigeon Patrol:
Pigeon Patrol Products & Services is the leading manufacturer and distributor of bird deterrent (control) products in Canada. Pigeon Patrol products have solved pest bird problems in industrial, commercial, and residential settings since 2000, by using safe and humane bird deterrents with only bird and animal friendly solutions. At Pigeon Patrol, we manufacture and offer a variety of bird deterrents, ranging from Ultra-flex Bird Spikes with UV protection, Bird Netting, 4-S Gel and the best Ultrasonic and audible sound devices on the market today.
Voted Best Canadian wholesaler for Bird Deterrent products four years in a row.
Contact Info: 1- 877– 4– NO-BIRD (www.pigeonpatrol.ca)
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