As the weather starts to warm up, you may see an increase in bird activity around your home. Birds will often leave a mess on your patio or deck and can even be found taking a dip in your swimming pool. Nuisance birds will build nests in the most inconvenient places putting you and your family in harm’s way. Here are a few tips on how to prevent birds from taking over your outdoor fun this summer.
Protect Your Pool
There are several things you can try to keep birds away from your pool and deck. One of the easiest is to install a decoy bird near your pool. Owl statues are the most common but hawks and falcons will also work well. These statues make other nuisance birds think a predator has already claimed that territory and they will take up residence somewhere else. Remember to move the statue occasionally, especially if birds get used to it or start ignoring it.
You can also use automatic pool vacuums in your swimming pool to help deter birds. Automatic vacuums are constantly moving which discourage birds from landing in the water. Leaving brightly colored toys and floats in the pool can also help keep these pesky birds away. Keep your pool covered if possible. You can even use a simple solar cover instead of a traditional cover to help protect your pool from droppings and feathers.
Guard Your Grill
Birds will often nest in your grill or in the eaves around your patio. To protect your grill in between uses, invest in a high quality cover and use it any time the grill is not in use. If that’s not an option, cover your grill with bird netting when it’s not in use. Clean the grill after use and make sure there is no food residue left over. Birds will keep coming back if they continue to find food in the area.
Defend Your Deck
If you’re finding birds flocking to your deck or patio area, try installing bird spikes on fences or in gutters. It is difficult for birds to land on them, making it undesirable for birds to nest. You can also try wind chimes or ultrasonic noise machines which are also helpful and driving nuisance birds away. The noise machines give off a high-pitched sound that is undetectable to humans but will annoy any lingering birds.
Prepare Your Property
Taking preventative measures against birds will help in your bird control efforts. Discourage people from feeding birds in and around your home. Clean up any spilled grain or birdseed from feeders daily. Block any openings in your home (lofts, vents, eaves, window sills, etc.). Change your ledge angles to 45 degrees or more to prevent birds from roosting on them. Screen the underside of rafters with netting or wire mesh screening.
While birds aren’t usually a dangerous problem, they can become quite a nuisance, especially when you are trying to enjoy time outdoors. If you have a problem with birds or any other pests, contact your local pest control company who can provide you with a thorough evaluation and treatment plan.
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While some birds are beneficial to us through their production of down feathers, control of pests, control of weeds, and providing us with the opportunity for birdwatching, they can be detrimental to our homes and our health. Besides being a general nuisance, some birds can cause damage to buildings and monuments, contaminate food sources, and transmit diseases that can be serious to humans.
Three of the most common nuisance birds that can cause these issues to humans are pigeons, sparrows, and starlings. Here is a look at each of these nuisance birds, as well as some tips to prevent and exclude them.
Pigeons are the most common nuisance bird and are also responsible for the worst public health concerns caused by birds.
Adult pigeons are about a foot in length and weigh about 13 ounces. They are blue-grey in color with iridescent feathers on their heads and necks. Pigeons have short necks, small heads, and short legs.
Pigeons prefer to nest in small, flat areas that are off the ground (e.g. ledges, air conditioning units, pipes, and window sills). They eat a varied diet, consuming anything from grains and livestock feed to discarded food scraps and manure. They must have water daily to survive.
Pigeons can cause serious problems wherever they are. Large flocks of pigeons can be a nuisance in public places. Their feces can not only deface and deteriorate buildings and other structures but can also cause slipping hazards on stairs, sidewalks, and fire escapes. Their droppings and debris from their nests can clog downspouts and machinery. Pigeons carry numerous diseases including histoplasmosis.
Pigeons adapt easily to their environments, including those that are manmade. They will travel up to 5 miles between their nesting and roosting sites, making it very difficult to get an established flock to move. Their homing capabilities allow them to easily find their way back to their original nesting sites.
House sparrows are not actually true sparrows; they actually belong to a family called weaver finches. They are stocky, small birds about 5 to 6 inches in length and weighing about 1 ounce. They have conical bills with brown grey feathers. Males have a black throat and white crown while females have a white throat and a dull eye stripe.
Sparrows build extremely messy nests out of anything they can find (string, twigs, paper, grass). They prefer to make their nests in covered, elevated areas like warehouses, airport hangars, and stadiums.
Sparrows primarily eat grain but have also been known to eat fruit, seeds, insects, and food scraps. They have become extremely dependent on humans for both food and shelter. They nest, roost, and feed in large groups within 1 to 2 miles of each other.
Sparrows can be difficult to control because of their ability to rapidly reproduce. They are extremely aggressive and will often drive out other desirable bird species from the area. When they nest in electrical areas they can cause electrical shorts and fires. When they congregate in poultry and hog farms they cause potential contamination threats. Sparrows have been associated with over 25 diseases and ectoparasites.
Starlings are an introduced species that cause problems in both urban and rural areas. Adult starlings are about 8 inches in length and weigh about 2-1/2 to 3-1/2 ounces. They have short tails and long bills. In the winter, starlings have dark bills and iridescent coats speckled with white dots. In the summer, starlings have yellow bills with duller coats that are mostly purple and green in color and are less speckled.
Starlings travel in flocks that can number into the thousands. They nest and feed in a variety of areas. When they nest in urban areas they tend to frequent trees, exhaust vents, marquees, ledges, lighted signs, hollow lampposts, billboards, soffits, and dryer and stove vents. In rural areas they tend to nest in farm building ledges and tree cavities.
Starlings feed on a variety of things depending on what season it is and what food sources are available. They are known to eat seeds, fruit, food scraps, insects, fruit, and vegetables.
Starlings can be problematic because of their intense vocalization, especially when their flocks grow to such large numbers. Their fecal accumulation can also be problematic because of the sheer volume. Starlings are very aggressive and can drive out other bird species. Their feces can deface and deteriorate buildings and other structures; can cause slipping hazards; can contaminate livestock feed; and can kill trees. They leave nesting materials behind that can clog machinery, cause drainage problems, and clutter structures. These blocked vents can also lead to moisture buildup, odor issues, and potential fire risks. They are known to carry serious diseases like histoplasmosis.
Each of these nuisance birds can be hard to control or eliminate once their flock is established. Prevention and elimination is key to helping control these bird populations. Here are some bird prevention and exclusion tips you can use to help control these problematic pests.
- Discourage people from feeding these birds in public areas.
- Clean up any spilled grain or feed daily.
- Make food and water sources as inaccessible as possible.
- Block building openings such as lofts, vents, eaves, window sills, and steeples) with wood, metal, glass, masonry, wire mesh, plastic or nylon.
- Change ledge angles to 45 degrees or more as this discourages roosting.
- Place netting over ornamental architecture.
- Screen the underside of rafters with netting or wire mesh screening.
- Install a permanent mechanical bird repellent like bird spikes to help eliminate roosting.
If you have a nuisance bird problem, contact a professional pest control company who can provide you with a customized inspection and treatment plan for your situation.
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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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While most birds aren’t considered parasites, they can become quite a nuisance. Birds can be helpful in some ways: feeding on predator insects and eating the seeds of pesky weeds that can overtake your garden; but birds can also be pests by feeding on the fruits and veggies in your garden, causing damage to your home and other structures on your property, and leaving droppings that can lead to serious health risks to you and your family. Because it is illegal to kill most species of birds and remove or destroy the nests of other species, homeowners are only left with a few options when it comes to bird control: natural repellents that deter birds away from certain areas around your home and professional wildlife exclusion to safely and humanely remove or relocate nuisance birds. Here are five home remedies to keep birds away:
1. Shiny Objects
Shiny, reflective objects make great deterrents for problematic birds. The reflection of light off of these objects discourages birds from returning to these areas. These shiny objects, such as old CDs, aluminum cans, tin foil, small mirrors, or even metallic wrapping paper, can be hung near nesting or landing areas frequented by the problematic birds.
Birds have many natural predators including cats, owls, and larger birds of prey. Placing objects in the shape of these predators around areas frequented by nuisance birds can deter them from nesting or landing near them. These objects can be made of wood, metal, or any other material that can withstand the outdoor environment. Make sure to move these objects around every few days or the birds will get acclimated to them and begin to ignore them.
3. Garden Balls
Round garden balls, which are large colorful balls that can be placed in your garden or hung from trees, fence posts, and stakes are a natural bird repellent. Birds will confuse these spherical orbs with eyes and try to avoid them. They also can be great decorations for your yard or garden.
4. Bird Spikes
Bird spikes are long, needle-like rods used for bird control. These spikes can be made of tin or plastic cans and placed in the dirt or attached with wire to window sills and overhangs. They can also be made by hammering nails into wood. Birds find these spikes uncomfortable and won’t land on them, keeping them away from problematic areas around your home.
5. Repellent Sprays
There are several versions of bird repellent sprays you can make at home but the most popular is a concoction of chili peppers, water, and vinegar. To make this spray, crush dried red or green chili peppers into a mixture of water and vinegar. This mixture can either then be heated in a crock pot for a few hours to infuse or placed in a clear glass in the sunlight for a natural infusion. Once finished, place the repellent in a plant mister and spray any areas where birds are causing problems.
If you try these home remedies and you still have an issue with birds, your other option is to contact a professional pest control company who specializes in wildlife control who can come and thoroughly evaluate your home to help determine not only the species of bird you are dealing with, but also the best course of treatment that is both legal and effective.
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