by Alex A. Kecskes

If you have pest birds hanging around your pool, you know the problems they cause. They leave droppings everywhere, which means frequent (and expensive) pool cleanings and constant hosing down of walkways, railings and steps. If you live in Southern California, ducks can be a big problem around pools. So can pigeons and grackles.

Sometimes birds clean out their nests and drop their waste in and around a pool. They often do this to avoid drawing predators to their nests. Black birds will sometimes spit in a pool. Some homeowners have resorted to poisons and BB guns. Not a good idea if you have pets or kids around (it’s also illegal to kill or harm certain birds). Others have taken to placing rubber snakes around the pool. These can be initially traumatizing to small children, and some pets have a tendency to chew and eat them. There are effective bird control devices you can use that will keep pest birds away from your pool without risking danger to people, kids, birds or pets. They include:

Bird Sonics. Mounted under eaves, patio covers or gazebos, these bird repellent devices can keep pest birds away from your pool or spa. Bird sonics emit predator and distress calls that birds instinctively fee from. They work on a bird's natural fear of predators, as well as their acutely sensitive hearing (birds can process sounds in 1/200th of a second; humans process sounds in 1/20th of a second).

Sonic bird deterrents work well against pigeons, crows, starlings, swallows, gulls, woodpeckers, sparrows, grackles, cormorants and many other species. One commercially available sonic system 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 hawk screeching and gulls under attack. The best sonic systems will regularly alter the pitch, frequency, timing and intensity of their sounds. This keeps pest birds from getting used to repetitive sounds. One popular system can emit distress and predator calls for as many as 22 types of birds. The calls are repeated once every fifteen minutes. Sonic bird deterrents are not harmful to birds, pets or humans. The sounds they emit merely resemble normal bird sounds.

Visual Scare Deterrents. These include Bird Scare Balloons, flash tape and twine. The balloons feature large predator eyes that make birds really nervous. Scare Bird Diverters use the same principle. They feature a giant predator eye and can be hung under eaves to frighten birds. To keep birds, geese and ducks away from pools, fill bird scare balloons one-fourth full of water, and the rest with air. The balloons will float around the pool with predator eyes and shiny reflective surfaces constantly in motion to keep birds away.

When using visual scare devices, it’s important to move them around occasionally to prevent swallows from getting used to them.

Scarecrows. Any pest birds that approach this device’s radius of protection get hit with a stunning but harmless blast of water. The sudden water blast, alarming sprinkler sound and realistic looking bird-like moving head "persuade" birds to stay away. Scarecrows are simple to set up and easy to use. They connect to almost any garden hose, yet they consume just 2 to 3 cups of water per spray. Scarecrows cover approximately 1,200 square feet with a stream that reaches out 35 feet and 45 feet wide. They work day and night for up to 6 months and deliver over 1,000 "firings" on a single 9-volt battery. For added versatility, scarecrows can be easily fine tuned to adjust both their sensitivity and coverage distance. Incidentally, kids and dogs love to play with these devices.

Mini Scarecrow. For smaller applications, say to keep pest birds away from walkways, pool steps, diving boards or railings, there's the Mini Scarecrow. It uses compressed air and sound to scatter pest birds and "convince" them to avoid the area. Like its big brother, the Mini comes to life the second a pest bird gets within 3 to 4 feet of its sensor. Unlike its larger brother, the Mini hits birds with a squeal and a harmless blast of air. You can easily adjust Mini's angle of detection and spray angle to zero in on trouble spots. Each can holds over 200 sprays.


Boat Bird Control, keep birds off your boat with bird control products

Birds can be a costly nuisance around boats and marinas. When they perch and roost on seaside structures, bird droppings can deface and damage signs, windows, rooftop HVAC units and rain gutters. Docks, railings, walkways, boat houses, pilings and swim platforms can quickly become inundated with bird droppings, leaving an unsightly mess that can create a slip-and-fall hazard. Large birds like gulls, geese, ducks and cormorants can “unload” sizable droppings that require frequent and costly cleanups.

Without effective bird control, boat owners and boat rental outfits need to constantly clean their boats of droppings. Left to accumulate, these droppings can damage boat covers, spreaders, window gaskets, sails, outboard engines, sliding doors, deck surfaces and antenna arrays. 

Both boat owners and seaside businesses need to be proactive when it comes to bird deterrents. Achieving effective bird control calls for proven devices that deter birds humanely and keep them away. Here are some devices you should consider to keep pest birds away from your boat or marina business:

The Repeller 360

Using a large, wind-powered sweeping arm, The Repeller 360 is designed to keep large birds like pigeons, crows, gulls, cormorants and raptors away from both boats and marina structures. The Repeller 360° is “armed” with  large, reflective “predator eyes” that add to its threatening appearance and function. The device is easy to set up on virtually any flat surface. Rotating continuously in the slightest breeze, The Repeller 360 covers a full 6-foot diameter to keep birds away.

Bird Spiders

Also wind powered and quite effective,  Bird Spiders feature wildly flailing arms that whip about in the breeze to frighten birds away. A few bird spiders placed strategically on rooftops, canvas covers and boat decks will cause gulls, cormorants, pelicans and pigeons to simply move on. Bird spiders come in 2-, 4-, 6- and 8-foot diameter arm lengths to create wider and wider  circles of deterrence. The best bird spiders are made in the USA and feature a glue-on base for effortless mounting. These spiders will also have a UV-protected polycarbonate base for lasting durability in harsh water-front weather. Removable  sand bag bases are also available, which let you set bird spiders up virtually anywhere. Additional mounting bases allow for easy placement on masts and radar units.

Stainless Steel Bird Spikes

Used by boat owners and marinas worldwide, Stainless Steel Bird Spikes provide anti-perching, ant-roosting protection for rooflines, parapet walls, signage  and other lofty areas. Installed on boats,they prevent birds from landing on masts, rooftops, and areas around antenna systems. The most rugged and seaworthy bird spikes are made in the USA of stainless steel, with pins embedded in a UV-protected polycarbonate base. These spikes are guaranteed for 10 years. The spikes come in 1”, 3”, 5” and 8” widths and have a 1.5”  base, which allows you to mount the spikes on very narrow surfaces. The best spikes also have a built-in a glue trough and feature pre-drilled mounting holes for fast, easy installation.


Keep birds off boats

by Alex A. Kecskes

As a boat owner, you want to keep your boat in ship-shape condition, ready to sail without a lot of clean-up or maintenance. That means your radar units, canvas covers, masts and Biminis must be free of bird droppings and debris.  If you're an experienced boat owner, you know that preparation is the key to keeping your boat in tip-top condition.  You know that an ounce of prevention now can keep you boat free of pest birds for all those summer excursions, harbor cruises and parties. The last thing your guests want to see is bird droppings all over your boat as they snack on food and drinks. You also don't want your guests--especially landlubbers--to trip on your deck because of bird droppings, which you know can be slipperier than a banana peel.

Problem:  Unless you're prepared with effective bird control measures, your boat can easily become the victim of many types of pest birds. These include egrets, blue herons, crows, doves, and seagulls, even an occasional pelican. Some species of seagulls, such as the Heerman's gull are protected by law. Destruction or removal of a nest may result in legal penalties. So the idea is to keep birds from gathering and nesting on your boat in the first place. No matter which species invade your boat, you'll have quite a mess on your hands. The droppings and food scraps they carry can be both annoying and destructive, especially if left to gather on masts, spreaders, and riggings. In most cases, the droppings, once dried, can be nearly impossible to remove from certain surfaces. Cormorant droppings, for example, can be like epoxy. The worst part is, the high concentration of uric acid--extremely high in sea bird droppings--can erode stainless steel, discolor paint, and permanently stain your jell coat and blue covers. Bird droppings can also carry any of 60 known diseases, so if you're cleaning off the dust, be very careful.

Fortunately, there are ways to keep birds off boats. But you must act now before your boat becomes home to these pests.

Solution: To whip birds away from those high areas of your boat that birds find irresistible, consider investing in Bird Spiders. These popular and highly effective bird deterrents typically have stainless steel "arms" that wave wildly in the breeze to discourage all manner of pest birds. Birds don't like to feel threatened and bird spiders make them feel unwelcome. They come in 2-, 4-, 6-, and 8-foot diameter arm lengths to cover ever-increasing areas of deterrence. They're easy to place on masts, spreaders and railings. Some spiders come with an optional base, so you can literally place them anywhere pest birds tend to gather. They're also easily removed and stored when you're ready to set sail.

For the very tip of top of masts and other high areas of your vessel, consider installing some Bird Spikes. These intimidating looking bird deterrents simply won't allow birds to land. They come in stainless steel and in 3-, 5- and 8-inch widths to deter virtually any size pest bird. The best spikes feature a U.V. -protected polycarbonate base, which is 1.5-inches wide, so you can easily attach it with zip ties. Bird spikes won't harm birds and have been approved by humane groups worldwide--including the U.S. Humane Society and PICAS (Pigeon Control Advisory Service).

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