Effective Bird Removal
Unwanted birds can be one of the most frustrating of all wildlife nuisance problems. They can be difficult to remove because of federal laws limiting what type of removal methods are permissible, and because they tend to nest in difficult to reach locations. Bird droppings pose a serious health risk to humans and noises from birds nesting in or near a home are a source of irritation to homeowners. There are many things to take into consideration when working with birds; Creature Control’s technicians have the knowledge and experience to remove and exclude unwanted birds from your home or business. Call us today at 1-800-441-1519!
When removing birds one must take in to account federal laws. All birds are protected by state and/or federal law except pigeons, house sparrows, and European starlings. It is illegal to kill any other species of bird without a special permit. It is even illegal to cause the death of a protected bird indirectly. It is also against the law to tamper with the nests of birds if there are eggs in them. For this reason, bird removal can be very complicated, as any removal/exclusion procedures must be in compliance with these protection laws.
Types of damage
Damage from a bird problem can vary depending upon the type of bird you are dealing with. Woodpeckers, for example, cause damage to wood siding while starlings will destroy fruit trees. All birds can cause damage by their droppings, which can contaminate and ruin building materials. Bird droppings in areas frequented by the people (parking lots, loading docks, etc.) mean wasted time and money for companies and municipalities who need to pay for the clean up. Birds will also nest in unwanted areas; common roosting and nesting areas are construction gaps, vent pipes and any niche or opening in a structure.
Diseases and health effects
There are many potential adverse health effects from contact with birds. Birds shed dander from their bodies, a material composed of tiny scales of dried skin and feathers. This dander frequently causes allergies in humans if it gets into circulation in the home. Birds are also host to a variety mites, parasites that live on the bodies of birds and are too small to be seen without magnification. It is not uncommon for persons or pets who come in contact with birds to get mite infestations that lead to rashes and allergies. Like raccoons and rodents, birds can also transmit histoplasmosis, a fungus that grows in areas contaminated by bird droppings and can cause respiratory problems. Most exposures to bird-borne diseases happen when people come in contact with bird feces; bird droppings are considered toxic and are known to carry over 60 diseases. Overall, birds are very dirty animals and should not be handled without the proper training and personal protective equipment. Because of the high risk of biological contamination, it’s best to call Creature Control’s bird removal experts at 1-800-441-1519. We have the training, knowledge and experience to safely handle birds and clean up their droppings safely.
Effects on business
Businesses spend more money on rodent control than any other pest, but bird control is a close second. For example, the airline industry alone spends $1.2 billion every year on bird control and removal. A famous 1973 study by the University of Nebraska estimated that birds annually destroy 17% of Michigan’s cherry harvest. Blackbirds destroy $38 million worth of sunflowers annually and aquatic, fish-eating birds cause millions of dollars of damage to state fisheries. If we take into account wasted labor and money spent by businesses and homeowners on bird dropping removal, the impact of birds on the economy is incalculable.
Common bird pests by species
Almost all of our calls for bird problems deal with six species: starlings, sparrows, pigeons, woodpeckers, chimney swifts and swallows.
The starling is not native to North America but was introduced from Europe in 1890. They have a black, speckled color and a very short tail. Starlings prefer urban or suburban habitats where man-made structures give them ample nesting and roosting sites. They are mainly insectivorous, but will also feed on small fruits, such as cherries and grapes, as well as apples, which they peck holes in and hollow out. They are among the worst nuisance species in North America, disrupting native birds, destroying fruit, interfering with air travel and roosting on city blocks.
Fact: Starlings were brought to the United States in 1890 by the American Acclimatization Society, an organization which tried to introduce every bird species mentioned in the works of William Shakespeare into North America.
Like the starling, the sparrow is another introduction from Europe, brought over during colonial times. Males can be recognized by their black bib (the area beneath the beak) and white cheeks; females are a little more difficult to identify, but both the male and female have a “chunky” appearance. Sparrows will eat almost anything: seeds, crops, insects, fruits, and food dropped by humans. They can do a tremendous amount of damage in agricultural areas. In residential areas, the most common complaint is that sparrows will nest in or near homes – sometimes inside attics. Once nested, they make a considerable mess with their feathers and droppings that is both smelly and unsanitary.
Fact: The sparrow was so destructive to Chinese harvests that from 1958 to 1962 the government of China sponsored the “Four Pest Campaign,” a massive mobilization of all the Chinese peasantry to eliminate sparrows from China by smashing nests and banging pots and pans to frighten sparrows out of fields.
Pigeons are easily identifiable by their grayish-blue feathers and their familiar “cooing” sound. Pigeons are the number one bird nuisance in urban areas and pose a particular sanitary risk. The acid in pigeon feces is very corrosive and can cause extensive to metals and anything it sits on for a long time. Pigeon debris often build up, backing up gutters and drains which can cause flooding and roof damage. Nesting materials and other debris often clog rooftop air conditioning units, which are common nesting sites for pigeons. The bacteria, fungi and mites found in pigeon droppings can carry a host of serious diseases, including histoplasmosis, encephalitis, salmonella, meningitis, toxoplasmosis and more. When it comes ot pigeons, it is best to act sooner rather than later. Many businesses have incurred large clean up expenses because of a pigeon problem they didn’t resolve until it got out of control. This is especially true of businesses in suburban areas with lots of strip malls (such as Howell, Brighton, Ann Arbor, Okemos, Chelsea and Ypsilanti) since these afford pigeons a stable habitat and constant food source in the debris left behind in large parking lots.
Fact: In the 17th century, King George I of England, decreed all pigeon droppings to be property of the Crown (Pigeon manure was used in making gunpowder).
Woodpeckers are unique among birds because of their habit of drilling into trees with their beaks in order to find food, nest, communicate with each other (called “drumming”), mark territory and attract potential mates. Woodpeckers are easily identified by their stout, sharp beaks, very short legs and their backward-pointed toes which allow them to cling to surfaces while pecking. Michigan is home to several types of woodpeckers, including the red-bellied, red-headed, common flicker, and the downy woodpecker, all of which may cause damage to structures.
Fact: A woodpecker’s tongue is up to 4 inches long depending on the species, and it wraps around the skull. Many woodpeckers have barbed tongues that help them extract bugs from trees and holes.
As the name may suggest, chimney swifts tend to get into chimneys; this is due to the chimney swift’s unique ability to fly straight up and down, something few birds are capable of doing. The chimney swift has a long, cylindrical body with slender, curved wings. Their plumage is a sooty gray-brown color and their tails are short. Originally the chimney swift nested in hollow trees, but now they primarily nest in man-made structures, especially chimneys. Their nests are made of clumps of twigs held together with saliva. While chimney swifts are beneficial in that they eat a tremendous amount of insects, they clog chimneys and irritate homeowners by their extremely loud chirping.
Fact: Chimney swifts are migratory and will fly as far south as Peru for the winter.
Though there are many types of swallows common to the United States, most are easily identifiable by their forked tail and diamond-shaped body; most have brown plumage. The swallow’s unique body shape allows them to feed “on the wing,” meaning that they feed in flight. Swallows live in colonies and tend to nest in or around human habitation, especially barns and garages. Swallows look for four things in a nesting site: (1) an open habitat for foraging, (2) a suitable surface for nest attachment beneath an overhang or ledge, (3) a supply of mud of the proper consistency for nest building, and (4) a body of fresh water for drinking.
Fact: Besides feeding, swallows are also capable mating and feed their young in the air.
Ducks, geese and swans can be nuisance birds, especially to homeowners with lakefront property who find their yards and beaches littered with bird droppings day after day. Geese can be especially irksome if they choose to nest on your property, hissing at anyone who draws too close to the nest. Creature Control has a variety of options available for dealing with these pests. Dealing with water fowl is somewhat complicated and requires a customized solution. If you are having a problem with unwanted geese or other water fowl, call us today for a consultation or to set up an inspection.
Fact: The name “goose” comes from the Old English gos, which means “simpleton”, reflecting the tradional belief that geese were uncommonly stupid animals.
Bird control solutions
Birds are extremely difficult to remove. There are the federal and state laws protecting birds, the dangerous nature of bird droppings that requires a lot of protective gear and special equipment to handle, laws prohibiting tampering with bird nests, not to mention the great variety of birds one may encounter. Creature Control has a host of tools at our disposal for dealing with your unwanted birds. Sometimes it is necessary to erect a bird barrier, which may be an exclusionary netting, covering of an opening or “bird spikes” designed to keep birds from loafing on structures. Sometimes an auditory/sonic deterrent is more effective as a bird repellent; this consists of a device that emits sound waves mimicking bird distress calls, leading birds to consider the area unsafe. Visual deterrents, habitat modifications, shock strips, fogging and motion sensers are also available. Our experienced technicians will evaluate your problem and select a customize a treatment based on your specific case.