Large Scale Central

Keeping birds off bridges

As usual, I made my summer pilgrimage to California (ugh!) and have safely made it back to small-town Kansas.It’s taken a few days to clear out the worst of the weeds (which are mostly corn) and get things looking pretty good–with one exception I’ll get to–and the flowers are blooming nicely.

Starting this Spring and continuing, I’ve had some problems with birds on the RR. Specifically, I have a large posse of grackles that are congregating on my bridge. I don’t mind the birds, but their droppings are causing some problems. Since I was gone for three weeks and wasn’t able to wash down the bridge and track, the problem has become moderately annoying. There are some pits in the brass track that are pretty serious. Since I run track power, I’m guessing that at least one section will have to be replaced. I’ll know more when it’s cool enough to run train again :slight_smile:

I don’t want to shoot the grackles (I accidentally killed one when I shot it with a low-powered pellet rifle and it fell into the pond and drowned before I could get it out) but I really don’t want to have to replace the track/repaint the bridge a couple times a year.

Does anyone have any suggestions on keeping them off the bridge?

Pin nails sticking up will keep them off. I remember HO god John Allen was said to have a row of pins in one area where people would want to lean on his layout.

If it’s a metal bridge, can you put a “fence energizer” on it?

Trying to think of a way you can do this without spoiling the look of the bridge.

They also have motion-sensing sprinklers.


You can put a few CDs hanging from s line nearby. They spin in the wind and they reflect the sun and scare away birds. You can also hang something that looks like a bird higher than the bridge. Birds are afraid of other birds higher than them (because that’s where an attack would come from). Or get a plastic owl from home depot and put on a post nearby.

After a while, most birds figure out the plastic owl and perch on its head. Been there, done that.

Try this site:

I like the electrical strip, but $415 is a bit rich for my taste!

I’ve used the spikes…


Adopt a kitty.

I like the cat idea. You can move the B1 RD statue around to different locations. B1 RDs ain’t all that smart, 'ceptin magpies. Magpies have defeated me every time.

Shut up, Roos. (

I have a conduit that the birds used to perch on and make a mess on the patio. I took a piece of 1/2" “hardware cloth” and wrapped the conduit from the bottom up so that all the “spikes” ended up facing upwards. Trim it right next to the perpendicular to leave ~1/2" spikes. This works perfectly and the birds have never perched there again.

It is very common to have vertical/angled spikes to keep birds from perching/roosting. This is my variation. (

Thanks for the suggestions.

I’m trying to avid bird spikes, because of how they look. But if that turns out to be the only think that works, I may have to just suck it up.

Greg, I did think of grabbing a used electrified fence unit and running a pair of wires around the top. But again, the looks would be hard to disguise.

Someone on another site mentioned putting a thin layer of marine grease on the top section, because the birds don’t like to get it on their feet, but I suspect that might poison them. Again, I’m just trying to keep them from pooping on the rails, I don’t really want to kill them.

I may start with a plastic owl and see what happens.

Dan, did you look at that web site I provided? There are TONS of things…

I have used the “gel”, it is not toxic and it bugs the hell out of them, you have to reapply every so often, but it comes in a tube that you run from a caulking gun… could have done the bridge in less time it takes to read this thread:

Also, if you look at the electrified gadget, perhaps 2 wires on some insulating tape could be disguised easily… the idea of 2 thin conductors in some thin adhesive might be workable.

I have to agree with a previous poster, they get used the a plastic owl quickly.

Ya Rooster keeps lurking about…


You are in Kansas so not sure what predatory animals you have there (coyotes?) get some predatory animal wizz (found at hunting outfitters) and place it around as your at ground level.

Only a suggestion as I’m no expert