For the Birds: Controlling the Threats

  February 29, 2012

I'm Dan Hounsell, editor of Maintenance Solutions magazine. Today's topic is, bird control.

Grounds managers with institutional and commercial facilities are familiar with the threats birds pose to building occupants, visitors and buildings themselves. But managers also must be familiar with the available control options in order to design effective bird-control strategies.

Managers can use wires and spikes designed exclusively for bird control. Installers place these products at strategic locations on roofs, ledges and balconies to prevent birds from roosting or resting on these structures.

The devices vary in design, but they all have the same concept — wires, spikes and other physical barriers are uncomfortable for birds. Some devices are electrified with low voltages, which do not harm the bird but act as an electric fence to keep the birds out of the area.

Some paste-type products repel birds, who do not want to roost in an uncomfortable mass of material. Managers can use these products with physical barriers or as standalone applications.

Managers have had limited success with scaring devices — horns, shot whistles, balloons, and plastic figurines of predator birds. Managers also have used nets in open areas, such as near pavilions, covered exterior picnic areas and pools. The goal of netting is to exclude birds without disrupting the scenery. The design of the architecture often is the deciding factor in whether to use these specific bird-control systems.

Finally, managers dealing only with pigeons in protected areas can use bird food containing an active ingredient that causes birds to suffer temporary indigestion and give warning signals to other birds. But only a licensed pest-control company should apply this restricted-use product.


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