Bird Deterrence Methods
Unlike homes and boats, commercial buildings can suffer damage from pest birds on a grand scale. The only viable solution is bird-proofing, which involves denying the birds access to nesting and roosting areas of a structure. This can be accomplished with products that make it uncomfortable for birds to roost in a particular area, or with products that make it physically impossible for birds to access the structure. The following options are available to commercial property owners who wish to be free of pest birds:
- "porcupine wire" or "bird spikes": This simple, effective, and inexpensive bird-control method dates back to 1950, when newly invented porcupine-wire strips were installed on the structures of President Dwight D. Eisenhower's farm near Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. They are available in species-specific sizes.
- pin and wire systems: Birds will not land on these tight strands of wire. Installation of this system can be very labor-intensive and should only be used for repelling large birds. These systems work best when covering very narrow surfaces, such as railings, along balconies, and where there is moderate human activity. Some systems can now transmit a low-voltage current through the wires to help repel birds.
- scare-away devices: Of the various scare-away devices available, balloons may be the most effective because they move around with the wind. It may be helpful to frequently change balloon position and color to help prevent birds from becoming accustomed to them.
- sticky paste and liquid repellents: These types of products are non-drying, non-toxic, sticky substances that are spread onto a surface. The compound tends to irritate birds' feet so that they leave the protected area.
- safe chemical bird repellents: Use safe chemical bird repellents that are regulated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). When a bird is exposed to a chemical bird repellent, they temporarily experience pain. The birds suffer no permanent harm, but they will associate the pain stimulus with the site and learn that the area is not desirable.
- bird netting: Netting is a good choice for access prevention. If you have an open warehouse, a building, or an overhang where birds get up into the rafters and beams, bird netting is an effective, economical choice. Netting should be strong and lightweight, with 3/4-inch square openings or smaller. Larger openings may not prevent sparrows and other small birds from passing through.
Note: Before purchasing a bird-control system, identify the types and number of birds causing the problem. Make note of the areas where birds are landing and roosting. If the birds are not present at the time of inspection, look for nests and droppings on the building, sidewalks, awnings and signs. Also, look for and eliminate any nearby water or food sources.
In summary, pest birds can damage property and endanger human health. Commercial property owners should discuss with an InterNACHI inspector if they suspect they have a problem with pest birds.