Controlling pest birds on boats and marinas


Controlling pest birds on boats and marinas

 by Alex A. Kecskes


If you’re a boat owner or skipper, you know about pest birds. They’re the seagulls and cormorants that perch and poop all over masts, spreaders and those beautiful navy blue canvas covers. If you own or manage a marina, you may have spent countless hours (and big money) cleaning up after the hoards of pigeons that turn canopies and awnings into unsightly, smelly distractions. For marina managers and owners, pest birds also create a huge slip-and-fall liability on walkways and docks—making them literally an accident waiting to happen. Something you don’t need in this increasingly litigious society.


As many boat owners have painfully learned, and marina owners know, pest birds create far more than a visual nuisance. The high concentration of uric acid—higher in sea birds—can discolor paint, permanently stain canvases and eventually erode steel. In addition to being pests, these birds can create an inherent health risk. The bacteria and parasites that live and grow in bird droppings can carry and transmit any of 60 known diseases.


The bottom line: controlling pest birds and keeping them at bay is a wise investment in time and money. But where to start?


Fortunately, there are a number of effective products to keep pest birds away from boats or marinas. This includes an entire family of bird spikes. Ideal for pigeons, gulls and other large birds, the strong, rigid spikes are often made of unbreakable polycarbonate. Other products in this category have marine grade stainless steel spikes. Both types will discourage pest birds from landing on radar antennas, masts, ledges, or other flat surfaces. Just as effective are bird spiders. Their spider arms move with the breeze, keeping birds from landing. Most are sturdy and stable, come in a variety of diameters, are easy to install and usually maintenance free. Spiders are particularly useful for canvas boat covers, biminis, radar antennas and other similar areas.


For state-of-the-art high-tech bird control, there’s a whole new generation of bird chase supersonics. Some let you select a “target” bird and emit any one of a dozen or so distress calls, which will play, pause, then play again with adjustable volume. For marinas, you can connect additional speakers for acres of coverage.


Another high-tech pest bird solution is the repeller. These “repellers with propellers” are motorized whirly-gigs with arms that rotate at a bird-scare speed to whisk pest birds away. Ideal for parapet walls, roofs, signs, or any flat surface, they discourage pest birds from landing and keep them from coming back. Some have batteries, others you plug in, and some are even solar powered.


If you’re on a budget (who isn’t in this economy), you can opt for inexpensive low-tech visual deterrents. Things like iridescent reflective foil or flash tape, which is easily strung around a boat or turned into pennants around a marina. Inflatable balloons are another economical visual scare device. Ideal for masts, radar antennas and overhangs, rooftops and similar structures, their lifelike reflective predator eyes and markings drive birds away by creating an “Optical Distraction Zone.”


These scare-eye diverters are easy to hang in problem areas. Opt for repellers that have iridescent foil eyes to scare birds by day and glow-in-the-dark backsides to keep them away at night. One tip: since most birds like to land on the high points of a vessel, mount these bird control devices as high as possible. Birds are always on the lookout for predators, food sources, and stable landing perches, so reflective, flapping objects will discourage them from making your boat or marina their next perch or nesting place.


Keep in mind that all these bird control products are humane and will not harm animals, birds or humans.

Alex Kecskes is a freelance writer, writing for Bird-B-Gone Inc, the nations leader in affordable and effective bird control products.

Posted by admin | Posted in Birds | Posted on 18-03-2010

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