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Birds Not Welcome at Vermont Hospital

When Fletcher Allen Health Care set out to restore the original construction of the Mary Fletcher Hospital building at its Burlington, Vt., campus in 2005, bird control was a serious consideration. The building’s wide window sills had become havens for pigeons



When Fletcher Allen Health Care set out to restore the original construction of the Mary Fletcher Hospital building at its Burlington, Vt., campus in 2005, bird control was a serious consideration. The building’s wide window sills had become havens for pigeons.

According to Cory Gellerstedt of Nixalite, proper cleanup of bird excrement is essential to effective bird-deterrent installation.

“Birds and animals are drawn to the scent of their own waste,” Gellerstedt says. “Thoroughly cleaning and deodorizing installation surfaces eliminates this scent trail and discourages pests from following the scent back to their old roosts.”

The Mary Fletcher Building was built in 1879, and major elements of the original building – including the porte-cochere entry, the rooftop belvedere, and 10 brick chimneys – were removed in 1941. The building’s design consists of a large main building and smaller section attached at the back. Between the two sections is a 5-foot-wide indent in the building’s facade, which attracted pigeons. They roosted on the window ledges, creating a significant mess.

“The birds loved the granite sills,” says Wendy Blakeman, architect for the firm commissioned to do the restoration. “Their droppings accumulated on the ledges, as well as on the ground below. We knew the bird problem would have to be addressed.”

The firm consulted Nixalite about proper procedures for cleaning up the mess and specified Nixalite bird-control strips to keep the birds off the sills.

"I was concerned about how to install the bird-control strips without damaging the original brick,” Blakeman says. “Nixalite sent several samples of fasteners and helped us select the appropriate method. We decided on screws and washers for installation on wood and glue clips for the brick.”

The rooftop belvedere was constructed on the ground and lifted into place with a crane, Blakeman says. After reconstructing the belvedere, the porte cochere and the chimneys, the construction company installed 200 feet of Nixalite wire strips on the sills of the cupola and on the window sills in the area between the two building sections.

“The porte-cochere entry turned out beautifully,” Blakeman says. “It includes recreations of the original gas light fixtures. We installed Nixalite strips at the head of the door transom and on top of the light fixtures to protect them from the birds and keep the entryway elegant and inviting.”

The strips have proven to be an effective solution for the building.

“We are enjoying a fresh entryway to the Mary Fletcher building,” says Dawn LeBaron, vice president of hospital services at Fletcher Allen Health Care. “And the pigeons have not returned to the wing they once infested.”


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