Country Lore: Scare Away Birds

In Waimanalo, Hawaii, birds were eating my seeds as quickly as I could plant them. But each time the sprinkler turned on, the birds were frightened away for a while. I began to think about using a “snap action” intermittent sprinkler that could keep the birds away all the time.

I wanted something that wouldn’t need an electric outlet or batteries. I was disappointed to learn that no such product existed, so I jumped on the idea of making one myself with permanent magnets. The sprinkler pops open from the water pressure, and then closes again after the water is released. It runs automatically as long as the water is turned on. It works as an irrigation system in addition to just scaring animals away. See the sprinkler in action at

Quentin McKenna
Boulder, Colorado