Finally, Effective and Humane Ways to Deal with Bird Pests

Finally, Effective and Humane Ways to Deal with Bird Pests

The three most common bird pests are pigeons, house sparrows, and European starlings. Sometimes woodpeckers, make the list, since they can severely damage wooden structures.


Man has long had a love-hate relationship with the ubiquitous and prolific pigeon. The bird originated from domesticated European homing pigeons and will eat almost anything. They nest on ledges and other man-made structures and will create quite a mess in bird droppings.


Another pest bird is the sparrow. Commonly found in urban areas, these small, quick, clever birds are highly adaptable, often gathering in huge flocks to force other birds out of their territories. Sparrows prefer nesting in small, enclosed places like house shutters and soffits, drainage piping, rafters and corrugated metal siding. They average about 20 offspring annually, so their numbers quickly grow to intolerable infestations.


Last of the three most popular bird pests is the starling. This dark muscular bird will typically gather in huge flocks and, like the sparrow, will drive out other native birds. Homeowners can expect to find starlings in bathrooms and dryer vents, where their dense nests block air flow. Another problem is their sprayed feces, which can eventually corrode stone, metal and masonry due to the uric acid in these droppings.


The droppings of most bird pests can freeze up and damage machinery. Worse yet, the bacteria, fungal agents and ectoparasites in droppings and nesting materials have been known to cause serious diseases, including histoplasmosis, encephalitis, salmonella, meningitis, and toxoplasmosis.


Bird pests can be a problem. And there are all sorts of ways to deter bird pests without resorting to toxic chemicals or bird poisons (avicides). Besides, the use of avicides is usually pretty restrictive, since they kill a lot more than bird pests.


Luckily, innovative bird control firms have tapped into science and bird psychology to come up with a number of humane and highly effective ways to deter bird pests.


Topping the list as the most economical are the family of pest bird deterrents known as bird scare products. Reflective Foil/Flash Tape and Balloons fall into this category.Flash tape is a highly visible banner that waves and crinkle in the breeze to intimidate bird pests. They are inexpensive and attach easily to boat masts, poles, patios and trees. Akin to flash tape, the Bird Scare Balloon, is just as effective. Balloons often have big predator eyes to frighten bird pests. Bird scare products like these are effective as long as they are changed often, since birds will get used to them.


Next up is the simple but effective Bird Spider. This pest bird deterrent is ideal for use on parking-lot lights, level signs, streetlights, rooftops, and AC units. They’re basically bird scare products with thin, bouncing stainless steel arms that whip about in the breeze. Spiders come in various sizes–typically 2′, 4′ and 8′ diameters to cover large areas and deter various bird types. They’re easy to install and are effective against pigeons, seagulls, and larger birds. The best spiders have a U.V.-protected polycarbonate base.


Perhaps the most popular and widely known pest bird deterrent is the Bird Spike. These are highly effective in keeping bird pests off roofs, window ledges, I-beams parapet walls, awnings, canopies, signs and gutters. The spike strips come with rigid U.V.-resistant unbreakable polycarbonate spikes or tough, durable stainless steel spikes. While the spikes may look dangerous, they’re harmless to birds, installers and maintenance crews. Most bird spikes come in 3″, 5″ and 8″ widths and better spikes have a non-reflective metal finish, which makes them almost invisible from ground level. Spikes have proven so effective that some have been recommended by architects, contractors and government agencies.


Praised for its utter simplicity is the Bird Slope. This clever device deters bird pests by not allowing them to get a landing foothold. Birds just can’t get a grip on the angled, slippery PVC panels. Bird slopes are quite effective against all types of birds, including swallows, starlings, pigeons, and seagulls. They’re perfectly suited for ledges, eaves, beams and other 90-degree areas. Easily installed on virtually any surface using glue or screws, bird slopes now come in several colors, so they’ll blend in with a building’s aesthetics. To ensure the panels you order last in harsh weather, opt for U.V. protected PVC panels.


Another highly effective way to deter bird pests is Bird Gel. Simply put,birds hate to land on this sticky, tacky chemical goo. Once they get their feet into it, they shake a leg and flee, rarely to return. Gels are easy to apply with a caulking gun and the chemical is harmless to people and birds. Gels work quite well on pipes, conduit, ledges, I-beams, and parapet walls. The best gels are colorless and effective in hot or cold climates. One application lasts up to six months outdoors.


Nothing like a physical barrier to keep bird pests out. That’s the idea behind Bird Netting. The netting comes in 3/4″, 1-1/8″ and 2″ mesh sizes to deter a wide range of birds and bird sizes. The prefect solution for fruit trees, crops, and vineyards, bird netting is also available in heavy-duty construction to keep bird pests clear of air hangars, garages, factories, warehouses, and large canopies. Some of the best bird netting is flame resistant and rot and waterproof. If you plan to net areas around electrical equipment or transmitters, opt for non-conductive netting.


Next up is the persuader of pest bird deterrents–the Electric Track.Birds who try to land on these tracks get a harmless jolt of electricity that says, “not here, mister bird.” The tracks are easily installed on flat or curved surfaces. The best are designed with a flow-thru feature that keeps water from backing up around them.

Finally, we come to a safe chemical pest bird deterrent–Misters and Foggers. These systems spray a super fine mist of methyl anthranilate into the air, which birds can’t stand. The chemical used is a grape extract that occurs naturally in concord grapes and is harmless to birds and humans. Misting systems are ideal for use in large areas. The  systems vary from simple to advanced with some having adjustable nozzles and timers to deter various bird types.



Alex Kecskes is a freelance writer focusing on humane and effective bird control. To learn more about the products mentioned please visit Pigeon Control

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