EPA Victoria says farmers and orchardists misusing scare guns to frighten birds away from their crops need to follow the regulations governing their use.

EPA often receives complaints about excessive noise, including from bird scarers, especially at this time of the year. There are rules governing their use. It’s important to protect crops but they can’t be used overly frequently or at the wrong hour of the day.

EPA uses noise logging equipment to measure noise levels. In the past we’ve heard bird scarers going off within the permitted 100db level, but as much as five times more frequently than they should. And sometimes well past midnight.

The use of these devices is important to the protection of the crop, but they need to be used within the guidelines. Our noise guidelines are available at https://www.epa.vic.gov.au/about-epa/publications/1254-1 and provide good advice about using devices like bird scarers.

Guidelines for the control of noise from scareguns 
• A scare gun must not be used if the distance between the scare gun and any nearby properties is less than 300m  
• The scare gun must not emit more than 70 blasts/day. 
• The scare gun must not be used earlier than 7 am or later than sunset. Earlier starting times will be allowed if this is agreed to by the complainants. 
• The total time of operation of a scare gun must not exceed 12 hours in any one day. However, the time of operation may be divided into two separate periods, provided the interval between blasts is not less than six minutes. 
• The scare gun must be located as far away as possible from any complainant’s house. 
• Wherever possible, the shielding effects of natural features, buildings and so on shall be used to reduce the level of the blasts at complainants’ houses. 
• Wherever possible, the use of the scare gun shall be minimised. 

Reviewed 16 November 2023