When the weather turns cold and the first snow falls, the last thing you’ll probably think about is owls. Let alone, an owl visiting your yard and swooping down on your pets. An owl attack may be rare but because they’re predators, keeping your small pets safe may save their life.
To protect your pets from owls this winter, deterrents like lights, loud noises, and decoy owls can drive them away. Keeping your pets indoors at night and removing possible nesting areas can also keep owls off of your property permanently.
Do owls attack pets?
It may be easy to think of owls as wise and majestic creatures but when hungry or provoked, they can turn into ferocious predators.
Owls will usually prey on insects, birds, rats, frogs, squirrels, or snakes, but finding food in the winter can sometimes be scarce because most will be hibernating or hiding from the cold. That’s why some owls may be forced to attack your pets.
Larger breeds – like barred owls and great grey owls, can carry animals up to 9 pounds. So smaller pets like your chickens, dog, rabbit, or cats may not be safe once an owl sets their sight on them. If you want to protect your pets from owls, there are a few ways that can keep them at bay.
How do you protect your pets from owls?
Since owl attacks can be dangerous for your pets, here are a few steps you can do to protect them this winter:
1. Keep your pets indoors
Keeping your pets inside your home at night will protect them from the cold, and save them from getting attacked by owls.
If they need to go outside, make sure to accompany them to ensure there aren’t any owls scoping out your yard. But if you need to keep them outside, make sure they have an enclosure where they can go inside once the sun goes down.
2. Create loud noises
If you see an owl perching on your fence or on a nearby tree, sudden loud noises can startle them away. Clapping, yelling, or playing loud music can be effective in deterring them away.
You can also install a motion sensor bird-repelling device so you won’t have to go outside whenever you spot an owl lurking nearby.
3. Install lights
Another method to protect your pets from owls and other predatory birds is to install outdoor motion lights near the enclosure of your pets and around your yard. Whenever an owl flies near, the lights will flash, and scare them away. But take care not to position the lights facing your pet to prevent disrupting their sleep cycle.
4. Remove bird feeders
If you have a bird feeder outside, you might need to remove it to stop birds from visiting your yard. Since owls like to prey on smaller birds like finches and sparrows, they’ll more likely stay close to areas where they’re often found.
To deter other bird species, you can also hang reflective objects around your yard. Silver streamers, mirrors, and old CDs have reflective surfaces that will scare birds away when light bounces off of them.
5. Place decoy owls
A sneaky way to get smaller birds and rodents off of your property is to place decoy owls around your yard. You can get creative with this step since you can get them as statues, garden decor, or wall ornaments.
They will function similarly to a scarecrow, where birds will think it’s a real predator. As a result, owls won’t go near your area since there is no prey available.
6. Keep your yard clean
A dirty yard with trash and old scraps of food will attract scavenging animals like rats, raccoons, and opossums. Since owls can sometimes have a taste for them, they can follow them into your property. If you don’t keep the owls away, your pet may turn into their next meal.
To get rid of rodents, make sure not to leave any food out in the open. Place your trash into proper bins where other animals can’t access them easily.
7. Remove possible nesting areas
The reason why owls are active during winter is that it’s their mating season. If an owl finds a tree in your yard that’s suitable for nesting, you’ll have a hard time getting rid of them.
Since larger owl species like to settle inside tree hollows, make sure to cut or prune any nearby trees that have these. You’ll also need to remove any empty tree nests near your yard since great horned owls sometimes tend to adopt the nests from other birds.
8. Dress your pet in body armor
As a precaution against owls and other predatory animals, you can get body armor for your cat or dog. This will protect their neck and back in case of attacks, preventing talons, beaks, or teeth from tearing into their skin.