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Controlling Bird Pests

Although many people enjoy the presence of birds on their properties, birds such as doves, crows, gulls, pigeons, sparrows, starlings and swallows can be real nuisances. These birds can leave unpleasant and unhealthy droppings, devour produce from vegetable gardens, or make undesirable rackets. There are a variety of methods to discourage these bird pests without harming them. Most pest controls encourage these birds to move on to other areas.

If you are thinking of trying a bird control device, consider the following:

  • Sound based deterrents will produce a noise that the birds either find unpleasant or that frightens them. Intermittent blasts of a loud noise can be effective in driving off packs of birds, but this may not be acceptable in many neighborhoods. A better choice is an ultrasonic device that cannot be heard by the human ear.
  • Visual deterrents also work by scaring the birds away. This can be as simple as an old fashioned scarecrow. Statues of bird predators such as owls, cats or foxes can also work, although the birds often learn to ignore these after a short time. Shiny materials that flash in the wind can be hung from trees and shrubs. These include special ornamental masks with bright red eyes.
  • There are a number of different roost inhibitors. Black plastic netting can be used to cover crops. Stainless steel or plastic bird spikes can be placed on flat surfaces to prevent the birds from landing. Chemical roost inhibitors include sticky compounds which can be applied to a building’s ledges and sills; these will give the birds an unpleasant “hot foot.”
  • There are also taste aversion products that can be used to keep birds from eating plants. These will often need to be reapplied after any rainfall. They should not be used on eatable plants without carefully reading the directions.

Choosing the deterrent that will work best may require you to observe the birds’ habits before deciding on one of the above methods. It may also be

necessary to change the type of pest control you are using, as some birds can adapt their behavior to circumvent any one kind of deterrent. Persistence pays off. Also, remember that in many communities it is illegal to either poison or shoot at birds with any kind of fire arm.

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