29 November 2017

Pest Advice for controlling Birds and Gulls

Urban birds such as Gulls, Pigeons, Starlings and Sparrows are great opportunists. Handed a ready food source and sheltered nesting site, these birds can grow rapidly and what initially attracted a few birds can soon become a thriving colony.

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Why control birds?

Birds carry a variety of diseases such as Ornithosis, Listeria and E-coli that can be transmitted to man not only from the droppings but also the birds themselves. When dry, pigeon droppings can become airborne in small particles, which can lead to respiratory complaints such as psittacosis.

Bird droppings are acidic and can corrode/erode metals, stonework and brickwork. Nesting materials birds use can block chimneys, flues and guttering, causing possible issues with carbon monoxide and damage to buildings as water overflows from blocked gutters.

Buildings covered in fouling looks unpleasant can smell, and projects a poor image of a business, potentially ruining an organisation's reputation. If customers spot evidence of a heavy bird infestation on premises, they may not want to do business with you.

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Closely linked to bird activity such as nesting are parasites such as mites, ticks, fleas and beetles. So if you have a current or past problem with birds and have done nothing, you may find you'll suffer from a parasite infestation too.

The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 protects all wild birds, their nests and eggs. However, specific exemptions permit certain species to be controlled by particular methods for specific reasons. This exemption is given in the way of a licence issued by Natural England (other authorities apply to Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland) called the General licence. General licences are issued to allow certain actions to be carried out that would otherwise be illegal under the legislation, without the need for people to apply for a specific licence.

However, the law only allows competent people such as professional pest controllers to deal with certain species that are widely accepted to be pests. You should always consult with a professional before you consider any form of bird control measures, as the list of birds that are considered pests can change on a regular basis, and even pest species must be dealt with humanely, or you may be prosecuted.

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All urban birds require to thrive is a nesting/ roosting sites (e.g. balconies, window ledges and roof areas of surrounding buildings) and reliable food sources. The number of birds attracted to an area will depend on what food is available. Therefore if birds are being fed, more will be attracted to that area, so it is essential that food sources are kept to a minimum.

See also PigeonsSparrows and Starlings.

How to prevent and get rid of birds

Bird prevention, proofing and control are a highly specialised skills, requiring specialist equipment and tools. Control of birds through population reduction techniques is generally both less desirable and less effective than removing their food sources or blocking off sites where they perch or roost. The latter technique, known as proofing, is now used extensively.

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For proofing, professional pest controllers will use methods such as barriers, spikes, nets and wire to great effect. More recently active systems like shock strips, audible scarers and optical gels have been used to create negative associations in birds wishing to land or roost on buildings. All of these methods of proofing have their merits and some can offer a stronger and more lasting deterrent, but as with any method of control, they may become less effective over an extended period of time. For a heavy bird infestation, your professional contractor may have to employ methods of control such as shooting, trapping or flying of predatory birds.

Having problems with birds?

For any bird work, we would strongly recommend contacting a professional pest control company, preferably a member of the BPCA. They are trained in bird control and will have access to a range of professional use products and tools which are not available to the public.

Search for your local BPCA member

Source: A-Z