by Fran Prisco

When pest birds are occupying your building, how do you keep them away?  Installing humane bird guards is the answer.  Birds like sparrows, starlings and pigeons are often found landing, roosting and nesting on or near office buildings in any large city.  These birds are known as pest birds because of the damage and health risks they impose.  Not only do their nesting activities cause damage to buildings, so do their droppings.  Bird droppings are acidic and can quickly erode building materials costing building owners thousands to repair.  The droppings left behind by birds can also be a health hazard; carrying any of 60 plus communicable diseases.  Bird roosts can also harbor parasites and flees that can easily invade buildings. 

Cleaning Up Bird Droppings

It is important that safety precautions are taken when cleaning up bird droppings and debris.
  • During the cleanup, seal heating and cooling air ducts or shut the system down. Only authorized cleanup personnel should be present.
  • Healthy individuals should do the cleanup.
  • Wear a respirator that can filter particles as small as 0.3 microns.
  • Wear disposable protective gloves, hat, coveralls and shoe coverings.
  • Moisten the droppings with a light mist of water to keep spores from becoming airborne and keep them wet.
  • Put droppings into sealed plastic garbage bags.
  • When finished and while still wearing the respirator, remove protective clothing and place it in a plastic bag.
  • Wash or shower.
  • Check with local government agencies to verify that disposal of the waste is permissible through standard trash pickup.

Cell-phone towers are becoming as ubiquitous as trees. Over 100,000 towers are listed in a federal database, with some 22,000 new towers having been erected in just the past five years. Without proper bird deterrents, the towers can be dangerous to birds. According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, between 5 million and 50 million birds die each year when they slam into towers that are used to power cellular telephones, pagers, televisions and radios, Migrating birds crash into these towers because they are lighted at nigh and attract birds. Bird deterrents can prevent these mishaps.

According to environmentalists, birds killed or injured include such endangered migratory songbirds as the black rail, Bell's vireo, the golden-winged warbler and Henslow's sparrow. Most songbirds fly at night and orient themselves via starlight. In bad weather, birds often mistake tower lights for stars. The birds keep circling until they collide with the tower, support wires, or each other. The problem is that birds are sensitive to magnetic radiation to the point where microwaves interfere with their sensors and misguide them while navigating. Environmentalists have urged cell phone companies to install bird deterrents to save the birds.

If you run a grocery store, you know about health inspectors and health codes. You also know that the last thing you need in this fragile economy is a health code violation. Most cities in the U.S. have two types of violations: critical and non-critical. Pest birds can cause a critical violation. If you want to continue to do business, you must find a way to get rid of birds that may be loitering around your store.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, critical violations could cause a food-borne illness to infect a person. Most government inspection programs are based primarily on food safety, instead of food quality.

Stores are categorized based on the food safety risk posed by any activity conducted in the store. If a store is handling easily spoiled or food subject to infection, such as raw meat or deli service, it is considered a high-risk store and inspections are conducted more frequently. Moderate risk stores include convenience stores that heat cooked foods like hot dogs or pizza. Low risk stores usually carry only pre-packaged, non-potentially hazardous foods. There are many ways to get rid of birds, which when spotted by health inspectors, may cause you to incur a health code violation.