by Alex A. Kecskes
The most common pest species are European starlings, pigeons (sometimes called rock doves), and the female and male house sparrows. The male bird usually establishes and defends the nest. After the pair builds a nest, the male continues to defend the territory while the female hatches eggs. To keep common pest birds from nesting on your property, start by removing any sources of food, water and shelter.
Before they begin nesting, pest birds will look for food sources to sustain themselves and feed their young. Natural food sources include seeds, fruits, berries and insects. Trim back or remove plants that produce edible nuts, fruits and berries. Also be wary of any food scraps spilling out of trashcans on your property. Keep lids tightly closed on cans and make sure the surrounding areas have no food scraps on the ground to entice birds.
Insect larvae living in the cracks and grooves of house siding will attract woodpeckers, and you know how much damage they can do to your property. Caulk the edges of the grooves to fill any open tunnels. Also keep in mind that a source of water is essential for birds year round. Starlings are especially attracted to water. So cover up or drain any areas of water near your property.
All birds need shelter for nesting, which varies with the season and the species of bird. Remove or block access to any alcoves, nooks or crannies that birds can use to build a nest. Trim back and thin out any trees where birds may want to build a nest.
Unfortunately, not all bird problems can be eliminated by removing the incentives of food, water and shelter. Sometimes repellants and deterrents must be used to dissuade birds from nesting. The best of these are humane and can be highly effective, especially when used in tandem.
To discourage birds from nesting on ledges and rafters, make them inaccessible by installing bird netting on the underside of the rafters. No Knot Bird Netting is ideal for most exclusion applications because it’s fabricated of flame resistant polypropylene, chemically inert, and highly resistant to many chemicals and temperature extremes. In general, good bird netting won’t rot, absorb water, or mildew. The best bird netting is ISO 1806 Protocol Mesh Tested and U.V. stabilized.
Bird netting is effective for use against pigeons, sparrows, starlings, crows and gulls. It comes in several stock sizes and custom cuts--including 2- and 3/4-inch mesh. Unlike many netting products, No Knot netting is light and easy to handle and install. It also comes in different colors--including white, stone and black to blend in with your property.
Another exclusionary method for preventing birds from nesting on ledges and rafters involves the installation of Bird Slope. Birds very quickly get the message that the super slippery angled PVC panels are too slippery to even land on, much less build a nest on. After a few tries, they simply move on to better nesting sites.
Many architects prefer bird slope panels because they can integrate them into the design of the building or structure, making them “invisible.” The panels even come in a variety of different colors to blend in with a building's color scheme. They’re easily installed on most any surface using nails, screws or glue.
To discourage pest birds from large areas, try Bird Sonics. These bird proofing devices keep birds from nesting by emitting predator and distress sounds that birds instinctively seek to avoid. Sonic bird deterrents are ideal for use against crows, starlings, swallows, gulls, woodpeckers, sparrows, grackles, cormorants and many others. One sonic system on the market blasts the sound of Peregrine falcons (a pigeon's dreaded enemy) defending their territory. Another system targets starlings and seagulls, emitting the sounds of predator hawks screeching and gulls under attack. There’s even a system that emits distress and predator calls for up to 22 types of birds. The sounds emitted by the best sonic systems sound like normal bird sounds to the human ear.