keeping birds off tv aerials

Keeping Birds Off TV Aerials


In my previous post “Freeview Aerial Direction” you may have noticed something unusual about my Yagi TV antenna/aerial. Yes, amongst the array of directors in front of the dipole and on the reflector at the back there are some Zip Ties (Cable Ties – often used for anchoring a cable to something else). In this case their purpose is to prevent birds from landing on my aerial. The problem I have is that when they take off they tend to deposit their droppings on my solar panels and so reduce their efficiency. So this post describes a simple method of keeping birds off TV aerials.

My Method For Keeping Birds Off TV Aerials

I asked my aerial erector if he could do something about it. He told me I could pay for some specific spikes to be fitted to my aerial or he would happily attach some zip ties for no extra cost if I had them to hand. I gave him a bunch and the result is shown in the featured image repeated below:

In between the directors they are fixed to square tubing so they don’t rotate under gravity to point downwards. On the reflector where some round bar is used they are left long and threaded through to stop them moving out of place. Being plastic (an electrical insulator) they have no effect on the signal.

Zip ties are commonly available in DIY and electrical stores. I used black ones because they are usually more resistant to UV (ultra-violet) light.


April 2014

I have to advise that a wood pigeon has been seen perched in the centre of my aerial. It neatly fitted itself between two zip ties. If I could do it again I would increase the number if zip ties and have them closer together.

June 2019

There are no signs of any zip ties on my aerial. They have not stood the test of time.

May 2022

It’s definitely time to take action. The pigeons are always landing on my aerial and although it is normally horizontal the fixing to the chimney stack stretches in a springy fashion when the birds push with their legs to take off. The whole aerial fixing system needs attention.



6 responses to “Keeping Birds Off TV Aerials”

  1. paul knox avatar
    paul knox

    Yes very good Idea, I have the exact same problem, just had my solar panels fitted and 1 of my panels is getting hammered, top tip would be to use UV stabilized cable ties though as normal ones can crack in high UV.

    1. Helpful Colin avatar

      Your right to consider UV. When I worked for a well known Telecoms Co. I understood that external cable (polythene cable at least) was black due to the introduction of carbon. This made it robust under UV and other external conditions. Other colours were not seen as suitable for external use. I’ve always applied this concept to other plastics although it might not be correct. When I have used white cable ties outdoors they certainly have deteriorated but the black ones have survived. I look at my aerial and think it ought to have more ties on it since there seems to be at least one place still where a bird could settle but generally I am not having the problem I originally had.

  2. Nanna avatar

    Could the zip ties be the metal ones I wonder or are they unsuitable?.

    1. Helpful Colin avatar

      Hi Midge,
      I confess I didn’t know there are metal zip ties. I just Googled them and now feel informed. They are made of stainless steel. Thanks.
      I think the answer is yes but I would follow these rules.
      Antennas are made of aluminium so consider that where the stainless steel is in close contact with the aluminium you might get electrolytic corrosion over time due to them being dissimilar metals. You could put insulation tape on first.
      Make sure they stick out perpendicular to the director elements, the dipole element, and the reflector elements of the antenna. If they are parallel to any of the elements they will themselves become directors with the wrong spacing and interfere with the electrical characteristics of a well designed antenna.
      Make sure they only come into electrical contact at one end (obviously the tied end). Otherwise high frequency currents will flow in any loop that is formed and again degrade the antenna. If they can be blown about in the wind such that the loose end touches perhaps they should be covered in some insulation (sleeving or tape whose adhesive will last for years).
      With digital TV (Freeview) some of the degradations that applied to analogue TV antennas don’t appear on the screen. People will probably say, “whatever I do to my aerial doesn’t matter. I still get a good signal.” However they may not realise that they do things which make it easier to pick up signals from the side of the antenna in the form of interference. The objective of a good antenna is to give it excellent directional properties so that it rejects unwanted signals approaching from any direction but the end pointing to the transmitter. If that wasn’t the objective many people would just use a stainless steel coat-hanger.
      Good luck with your experiments.
      Regards, Colin.

  3. Brian HUGHES avatar
    Brian HUGHES

    I have yet to try the method of using cable ties as a deterrent against pigeons and seagulls using my aerial as a roosting point .For 4 months solid every summer they defecate and begin their moronic calling every morning at 4am.I should be enjoying the summer period but I dread it.
    If I could find an installer prepared to solve this problem I’d have it done straight away. I have spoken to two local Firms who sadly will not assist me.
    Is there anyone out there who can do this?

    1. Helpful Colin avatar

      Hi Brian,
      Well first of all I have to tell you that cable ties weren’t the ultimate answer. I hoped by being black they would have carbon in like external cable and resist UV light but the didn’t last. So I too have a pigeon problem again.
      My next attempt at a solution might be to acquire a new aerial from a provider who will install it and get them to leave it with me while I put spikes on it.
      I have looked at spikes available (they need to be plastic NOT metal) and found these: I didn’t see these last time I looked.
      When I’ve attached them I will contact the aerial installer and ask them to fit it on my chimney. I would use the fellow I used before (Martin Downing of Derby) if he is still available.
      Regards, Colin.

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