Did you know birds can be just as much of a nuisance (and potential health threat) as roaches and rodents? Common nuisance birds include pigeons, woodpeckers, sparrows, starlings, and Canadian geese.
Birds can cause a whole host of problems around your home and property. They can fly into your home and windows. They can build nests on or near your home, causing damage to your house or just being a noisy pest. Nests can clog gutters, downspouts, drains, vents, and chimneys. Bird droppings contain uric acid and can eat away at paint and building materials on cars and homes.
Birds and their droppings are known to carry over 60 diseases including E. coli, salmonellosis, and cryptococcosis.
Anytime you’re dealing with birds it’s important to remember that many species are protected by federal and/or state regulations, as is bird nest removal.
Here are 9 of our favorite DIY bird deterrents:
Visual bird deterrents are products designed to scare off birds or prevent them from landing or roosting where you don’t want them to. Their efficacy depends on the type of bird you are dealing with and the type of deterrent you are using. There is a wide range of choices when it comes to these deterrents. Many include gel because its reflective surface looks like fire to birds. It also feels sticky if birds land on it. Some of these deterrents are also scented, many with peppermint oil, to also help deter birds from getting near them.
Predator decoys can be effective for a short period of time but aren’t usually good for long-term use. It is important to choose a realistic predator for the bird species you are dealing with. If owls aren’t a natural predator of the bird you are dealing with, a decoy owl won’t work very well. It is also important to rotate or move the decoy frequently so birds don’t realize it isn’t real.
There is a wide range of products you can use as a reflective deterrent, from prefabricated spirals to DIY aluminum foil strips. The most important thing to remember is to use something highly reflective that also moves with the wind. It also helps to move it around frequently or even take it down for a while to trick the birds into thinking it’s real.
These are narrow spikes that attach to window sills, roofs, eaves, or any other large areas you want to keep birds off of. They can attach to concrete, wood, or other surfaces with screws or glue. The spikes can be metal or plastic. These deterrents are most effective against pigeons, crows, and gulls and are less effective against smaller types of birds.
Bird coils are similar to spikes. They are extendable stainless steel coils that stretch along ledges to deter birds from landing on them. If they do, the coils move and make the bird feel unstable, making them less likely to perch and roost.
Bird wire is a tension wire system that creates an unstable landing area to deter birds from landing. Bird wire is more low profile compared to spikes or coils and can be used on exposed ledges, beams, and pipes. The negative to bird wire is that it can be time consuming and difficult to install.
Bird netting is commonly used in gardens or on fruit trees but can also be used under roofs and around eaves. Bird netting is less expensive than other deterrent methods. It is important to remember when installing bird netting that you don’t cut out sections of the net to fit around obstructions; instead, cut a slit in the netting, slide the obstruction through it, and then reseal it when it’s above the object. One negative to netting is that birds can get stuck in the net.
Eliminating Food and Water Sources
Birds usually come to your home or yard in search of a nesting site, food, or water. Eliminating these things will make your property less appealing to them. Install bird netting over gardens to keep them from getting to your fruit. Keep trash cans covered. Clean your gutters to prevent standing water or install gutter guards. Don’t use birdfeeders in the warmer months. If you do use birdfeeders, don’t use suet or corn in them. Instead, replace with whole peanuts, safflower seeds, or sunflower seeds in the shell.
The best way to keep birds out of your home is to make sure they don’t have a way in. Carefully inspect the exterior of your home or other outbuildings and seal any openings you find, especially those that lead to the attic. Block any openings to eaves or vents with 1/4″ wire mesh or netting.
Bird and bird nest removal can be a difficult (and sometimes illegal) job. If you have a problem with birds this season, contact your local pest control company who can properly identify the types of birds you are dealing with, along with the most appropriate elimination and prevention methods for you.
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Birds have been known to build their nests in the most inconvenient places around your home – above doors, over your garage, inside your shed, on top of your lawnmower, in heat pumps, and any number of other high traffic or hazardous areas. Although birds don’t typically pose a serious threat to humans, they can cause damage to your roof, car, and property. Their nests can block stove, dryer, and fan vents causing fire hazards and rendering them useless. Their nests can also clog gutters and drains, leading to standing water and potential damage to your roof. Their droppings contain uric acid which can damage the paint on your car. Bird droppings also contain pathogens that are dangerous to humans like histoplasmosis. Bird nests can also contain other pests such as mites, parasites, and ticks that can stick around long after the birds have left the nest.
Your first reaction when encountering a nuisance bird may be to just remove the nest. However, there are Federal laws regarding bird nest removal that make it illegal to remove certain species of birds or their nests. Best practice is always to check with a wildlife control company before attempting to remove any bird nests from your home.
Here are some steps to take to ensure both proper and safe bird nest removal and/or relocation.
1. Prevent Them
The best way to eliminate bird nests from your property is to prevent them from building in the first place. Remove any food scraps and open trash from around your home as this invites them to feed. Make sure trash is secured tightly in containers. Place any bird feeders and birdbaths away from the home and further out in the yard. Only put out enough food for a few birds and clean up any spills regularly. Consider installing gutter guards to prevent nesting in gutters and downspouts. Vents are a common nesting place for birds so install vent covers and screens. Use perch repellents if necessary; these are rows of bird spikes installed on ledges, window sills, and around the perimeter of the roof to prevent birds from alighting on perches. You can also use visual repellents such as plastic owls, hawks, snakes, and even coyotes. If you use visual repellents, make sure to move them often as the birds will get used to them being in one place. Hang reflective bird diverters from strings on your porch also.
The best time to remove a nest is when it is still in the building stage. If you notice a bird nest already built or remove one this season, keep an eye out in the same area next season and stop it before it is fully completed.
2. Check for Activity
Always make sure a nest is inactive before removing or relocating it. Never attempt to remove or relocate a nest if there are birds or eggs present. It is best to wait until after nesting season for any removal or relocation. Eggs in a nest without signs of the parents don’t necessarily mean the nest has been abandoned. The parents may be out feeding or they may have left to allow the eggs a chance to cool down.
3. Wait For the End of Nesting Season
The best time to remove or relocate a nest is after nesting season is over. Most birds only nest once per year; however, some species will nest 4 to 5 times. The time varies with the species of bird. Without knowing the specific species of bird, it is difficult to determine the best time to remove or relocate the nest. A professional wildlife exclusion expert can help identify the species you are dealing with and help determine the best time to remove the nest.
4. Use Proper Precautions
Once you have positively identified the species of bird you have, confirmed it is legal to remove the nest, and have made sure the nest is inactive and no eggs are present, you can proceed with removing or relocating the nest. Bird nests can harbor other pests and residual bird droppings that can contain dangerous pathogens for humans. Make sure to wear long sleeves, long pants, latex gloves, and a respiratory mask to protect yourself. Carefully inspect the nest to make sure it is empty of eggs and birds. Spray the nest with an antibacterial spray. Once dry, remove the nest and dispose of it in a securely sealed container or exterior trash bag. Dispose of it in the trash away from the home. Clean the area where the nest was with a strong disinfectant. Remove and dispose of your gloves. Remove your clothing and wash them immediately in hot water. Wash your hands thoroughly.
5. Call A Professional
It can be difficult to determine whether or not the bird nest in or on your home is legal to remove or the best way to remove it. If you have a bird nest that is causing problems in or on your property, contact a professional wildlife exclusion company who can positively identify the species of bird you have, properly remove or dispose of the nest, and help you identify areas where nesting could be a potential issue in the future.
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When cold weather hits, winter wildlife go in search of three things: food for their bellies, water to quench their thirst, and warm shelter to keep them safe. When the going gets tough, these winter pests have to get creative in order to survive – often by making their way into your attic, chimney, basement, or crawlspace. While it’s beneficial for them, it can cause serious damage to both your home and your health to have them sharing space with you.
How do you know if you have a stowaway for the winter? Common signs of wildlife include:
- Scratching sounds coming from your walls or attic
- Chirping or squeaking sounds coming from the walls, vents, or attic
- Garbage cans and bags that have been broken into
- Chewing or gnawing marks in the basement or attic, or through wires or cardboard
- A foul smell that lingers even after cleaning (which could be urine or feces)
Now that you know what to look for, what kinds of animals can cause these signs? Some of the most common winter wildlife include:
- Raccoons: These nocturnal omnivores use their hands to dig for food, especially in your garbage cans. Raccoons are the largest carriers of rabies in Georgia (along with skunks, bats, foxes, and coyotes). Raccoons can damage property, spread rabies, and spread ringworm. They are most likely to nest in chimneys and attics.
- Rats and mice: These rodents like to live in crawlspaces and between the side beams in your walls. They will venture out to make trips to your kitchen in search of food. Rats and mice carry and spread salmonella, along with fleas, ticks, and lice. Their droppings also contain pathogens that can be dangerous to humans. They are avid chewers and will often chew through electrical wiring, causing property damage and increasing the risk of fires.
- Squirrels: These are the most common rodents in Georgia with populations in the millions. These pests like to take up residence in attics and basements and will bring in tons of acorns to store for the winter. Squirrels, like their rodent cousins, also carry diseases and pathogens, both on themselves and in their droppings. They can also chew through wires.
- Birds: Although less common than other winter wildlife, birds can be just as dangerous. Birds like to infest chimneys and attics to nest and lay their eggs. Their droppings can cause quite a mess and also harbor diseases and parasites. They can also cause severe damage to roof lines and chimneys. Many birds are protected so bird control and bird nest removal are usually best left to the professionals.
- Bats: Bats like to roost in attics where they can hide during the day and venture out at night. They carry disease like rabies and can spread them to humans through their bite. Bats are a protected species in Georgia and killing them is prohibited.
Prevention is key to avoiding a winter wildlife invasion. Critter control starts at home with these winter wildlife prevention tips:
1. Inspect Chimneys
Chimneys provide a great hideout and also a gateway for wildlife to get into your home. Make sure the top of your chimney has a grated screen that is in good repair with no holes. Check above the flue panel for any leaves, debris, droppings, or animals before sealing it up. Make sure your chimney is secure.
2. Inspect Foundations
Small holes, cracks, open pipes, etc. in your foundation provide easy routes for wildlife to get into your home. A careful inspection of your foundations should be performed every season throughout the year. Seal any openings as you find them.
3. Inspect Roof and Siding
Any tiny cracks or openings in your roof or siding means easy access to your attic. Check the entire exterior of the roof, starting with the intersections and siding. Make sure to also check the flushing seams on the roof. Siding that connects to the roof should not be warped or pulled away. Be sure to check around exhaust openings and for loose vent screens, as well.
4. Inspect the Attic
Many wildlife critters love to hide out in the attic. Use a flashlight or headlamp and thoroughly inspect this space, checking for openings or chewed up or damaged areas of wood. Seal any holes you find but always make sure the animals are not still present before you do.
5. Secure Trash Containers
Your trashcans offer a buffet of food sources for pests. Use cans with tightly securing lids, avoid overfilling them, and wash the bins regularly to get rid of food waste.
6. Maintain Landscaping
Branches and limbs offer squirrels, raccoons, and other creatures a bridge directly into your home. Keep trees and shrubs trimmed away from the house. Prune shrubs to keep them at least 12″ from the sides of your home. Trim any branches that overhang or touch your roof, as well.
7. Clean Up Food
Leaving food sources outside your home will just attract wildlife in. Try to avoid leaving pet food outside and tossing scraps or pouring leftover grease in the yard. Pick up any fallen fruit. Protect your gardens with fences that are designed to keep animals out. Clean up any spilled birdseed from feeders and bring them in overnight.
Wildlife control is an ongoing process that needs special attention and consideration, especially in the cold winter months. If you have a problem with winter wildlife, contact your local pest control company for an inspection and appropriate treatment or wildlife exclusion plan.
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Some birds are beautiful and fun to watch while others can be downright annoying and destructive. While birds aren’t typically considered a nuisance pest, they can become a problem when their nests obstruct important areas in your house, their droppings carry transmittable diseases, or they get into your attic or chimney.
Understanding what nuisance birds are attracted to is the first step in helping to prevent them. Pest birds such as crows, pigeons, sparrows, robins, and starlings are attracted to food sources they can find around your home (insects, earthworms, corn, seeds, and rotten fruits and vegetables). Woodpeckers are also a common nuisance bird and will drill into your trees in search of carpenter ants, beetles, and other wood-boring insects.
Birds can be attracted to pet food which is often left outside all day for them to feast on. Birds also require water to survive and will use your fountain, water feature, or any other standing water on your property as a birdbath.
While professional bird control is always an option, there are some bird prevention tips you can use at home to help keep birds away. Here are 5 of our favorite DIY bird repellent methods.
1. Modify Their Habitats
If there isn’t anything in your yard to attract birds they will be less likely to hang around. Most birds require freshwater to survive. Substitute saltwater for freshwater in your fountains and water features so birds won’t be able to drink from them. If you feed your pets outdoors, remove or cover their food and water dishes as soon as they’re done with them. Make sure pet food is kept in airtight containers. Birds also like to take cover in grass and other landscaping, especially in windy or stormy conditions. Make sure grass is kept mowed and hedges and trees are kept trimmed to help reduce cover. If you see a bird actively building a nest, use a long stick to dismantle it. Once you do this a few times, the bird will move on to a new nesting site. If the nest is already built or occupied by the bird, don’t attempt bird nest removal yourself. There are laws in each state regulating the removal of bird nests. Contact a professional wildlife exclusion company to help properly remove or relocate the bird nest in question.
2. Aluminum Foil
One of the easiest and cheapest natural bird repellents is aluminum foil. There are several different ways you can use aluminum foil to keep birds away. If birds are disturbing your garden, you can place strips of aluminum foil under the surface of the dirt or around any plants they are bothering. Birds don’t like the feel of the foil under their beaks and will stay away. You can also hang strips of aluminum foil (or shiny party streamers) from the trees or other high points around your home and garden. The sun reflects off the shiny surface and bothers their eyes, deterring them from coming near. If woodpeckers are around, hang an aluminum pie plate to the tree where you see them most often. The reflection off the plate will scare the woodpeckers off.
3. Fishing Wire
If birds are constantly landing in or near your pool, try running fishing wire high over the pool in a criss-cross pattern. You can hang it between 2 trees, between eaves, or from any other high locations you might have near your pool. The birds don’t like the impediment to their flying space and will find somewhere else to land. As a bonus – you won’t be able to see the clear fishing wire from the ground so it doesn’t take away from the aesthetics of your backyard space.
4. Baking Soda
If pigeons and other nuisance birds are invading your patio space or window sills, try sprinkling baking soda anywhere they like to perch. Birds don’t like the feel of the baking soda under their toes and will avoid it at all costs. You can also use double-sided duct tape instead of the baking soda.
5. Predator Decoys
If birds are a problem around your garden, pool, or deck, you can purchase one (or several) predator decoys at your local hardware store to scare them away. As the birds fly overhead, they will see the plastic owl, rubber snake, or whichever other decoy you choose and won’t land near it. Just make sure you move your decoys around often or the birds will get used to them and realize they aren’t real.
The more deterrents you have around your property, the less likely you are to have birds hanging around. If these methods don’t work or you already have an existing bird issue, contact a professional bird control company who can help you safely and effectively remove the nuisance birds and put measures in place to prevent them from coming back in the future.
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Nesting birds can cause much more damage than one may realize. But why would birds want to build their nests so close to humans? Nesting near, in, or on homes actually provides birds with protection from dangerous predators and helps protect them from extreme temperatures in the environment. Birds will build their nests anywhere that fits the criteria they are looking for. They prefer to nest at higher locations so they can survey the area around them for potential predators while keeping their nests relatively hidden. Bird nests can be found just about anywhere on or around your home. In fact, small birds will even nest in gaps in siding, behind shutters, or even on light fixtures.
So a bird built a nest on your home. Is that bird’s nest dangerous? They can be! Bird droppings contain acid that can corrode metal and concrete and even damage car paint. Debris from nests and bird feathers can clog drains and gutters leading to moisture issues. When nests are built in dryer, fan, or stove vents, they can cause clogs that restrict air flow, cause lint to buildup, and significantly increase the risk of fire. Nests that are built inside attics can cause damage to insulation.
Besides the physical damage to your home, bird nests can also cause health issues for humans. Birds carry pathogens that can be dangerous to the health of you and your family. Nests also contain bird droppings which can carry all sorts of bacteria and other pathogens like histoplasmosis. Nests can also contain parasites, ticks, mites, and other pests that can remain long after birds have vacated a nest.
There are also several federal, regional, and local laws and regulations that restrict or prohibit the relocation, removal, or destruction of bird nests. Without knowing for certain what species of bird has inhabited your home, disturbing the nest could be considered illegal and put you at risk for legal ramifications.
The best way to get rid of bird nests is to prevent them from being built in the first place. Here are some steps you can take at home to help prevent birds from nesting in, on, or near your home.
- Eliminate food sources. Birds often nest near homes because they provide an ample supply of food without having to travel far from their nests. Remove food scraps and trash from around your home. Make sure your trash containers are sealed tightly. Keep bird feeders and baths farther out in your yard and only fill them with enough feed for a few birds at a time. Make sure to clean up any spilled birdseed regularly.
- Keep it covered. Birds are notorious for building nests in dryer vents, fan vents, stove vents, and chimneys. Install covers or screens over any open vents. You can also install chimney caps on chimneys. Seal any gaps in siding and shutters.
- Scare them away. Consider installing perch repellents on window sills, ledges, and around the perimeter of your roof. These spikes will prevent birds from alighting on these areas. Consider placing plastic predators like coyotes, snakes, owls, and hawks) on your porch and around your yard. These will spook birds away from your home. Make sure to move them around periodically so the birds don’t get used to them being there. You can also use visual hanging repellents on your porches.
Due to the laws and regulations surrounding bird nest removal and bird protection, it is usually best to call a professional wildlife exclusion company to handle any bird nest issues you may have. These wildlife removal professionals can properly identify the species of bird nesting at your home and properly, humanely, and legally remove it or relocate it from your property.
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