No doubt birds are one of the most loved creatures on planet earth. But some species can be a pest causing damage to property and even posing a health hazard. This article will detail methods and equipment one can use to do bird control.
Because birds are able to fly, they’re difficult to control. And because they’re difficult to control, you’ll rarely get effective bird control with just one product or treatment.
Birds are able to fly. Birds are very much creatures of habit. Most important, birds are often looked upon as special creatures which deserve free reign to do as they please. This freedom comes with a price. Many bird infestations are left alone to develop on signs, homes or roof tops because the owner thought it was all right to leave them alone. Once established, it may take mechanical alterations, repellents and ultimately trapping to resolve conflicts. This article will detail different bird problems and offer products and solutions for any situation. Our control methods progress from passive to aggressive control methods. Over the years, we have learned what will work and how to do the work successfully. If you are reading this article, you are doing so because you are having a problem with some type of bird and you hope we have the solution. Read on because in all likelihood, we do!
Here are some of the more common bird problems we receive calls about.
- Birds roosting on a ledge of a home or window.
- Woodpeckers pecking on the side of a house or making nests. (Most common on cedar homes.)
- Sparrows harassing bluebirds or other small desirable birds.
- Starlings and ravens destroying plants or crops.
- Geese or duck chewing turf and grass.
- Swallows or other birds nesting on the side of buildings and homes.
- Flocks of birds congregating on electric wires or trees making a mess with their droppings.
- Some undesirable bird hogging all the bird seed in the bird feeder.
- Too many of a local species which is stressing local plants and food supplies.
- Different bird species which are either landing on decks, boats or other areas and then leaving a mess behind.
- Neighbor that is feeding birds and now too many are coming around making a mess and creating a problem.
- Birds which are seeing themselves in the windows of homes or autos and perceive themselves as a threat. They then fly repeatedly into the window over and over attempting to scare away the intruder never figuring out that what they are looking at is themselves.
- Birds which are feeding on garden grown fruit and or vegetables.
The problems listed above are meant to show what some of the more common problems are around the world. In fact, birds cause many other problems; too many for the body of this article to list. Problem birds include starling, blackbirds, pigeons, sparrow, geese, duck, ravens, crows, woodpeckers, swallows, crow, and just about any type of bird which is established in urban America. Their droppings are unsightly and a health risk. Feeding and foraging birds will cause a lot of damage to plants, structure and landscape. And last but not least, large bird activity will breed parasites like mites and lice. Birds are nice when they exist in the wild. To keep them out of your home, off your buildings and away from your garden and plants, there are several things you can do. This article will highlight your options and list the products available for any given situation. Everywhere you find a product listed below which appears underlined, click on it to link directly to our on line catalog. There you will be able to see a picture of the product as well as packaging and pricing.
BIRD REPELLING BALLOONS AND MOVING DEVICES
Bird problems generally develop in stages and levels. First, birds are noticed congregating around buildings, land or trees. In most cases, the first activity is barely noticed. If you have flocks of birds landing on buildings, trees or any area you don’t want them to be on, you need to start bird control immediately or risk having the problem escalate to levels which are harder to control. Keeping birds away by using blow up scaring devices will work when infestations have just begun. Install some SCARY EYES or TERROR EYES along roof tops or fence rows. These balloons appear like a predator to many species of birds and make them feel uncomfortable. It is easy for them to relocate if they have only just begun to settle on roost sights. Scary eyes and Terror Eyes will solve initial problems with birds which are simply hanging around where you don’t want them to be. However, don’t expect to get great results if the birds have nested and established themselves. Once they have nests and young, Scary Eyes and Terror Eyes will prove to be ineffective. This may also prove to be the case if there are large flocks which are roosting. Such groups are less likely to frighten easily.
Several species of birds are very territorial. This is commonly seen around bird feeders. Once established, it is quite common to find a few dominant birds that come and feed when they want. They will rule the feeder and subordinate birds will simply wait their turn. These same dominant birds can sometimes become a nuisance around the home. Many times they will see their own reflection in a window of a home – particularly windows which have some type of UV reducing treatment – and perceive their reflection as a threat. To deal with this threat, they will fly at the window attempting to scare away the intruder. Obviously there is no bird to scare away so their effort will become a nuisance if persistent. But there is an item that can eliminate this behavior.
This device is basically a large MOVING SPIDER. This unique device has a sensor which detects vibration. When activated, it will release an 18″ long string which makes it appear to be “jumping” at the nuisance bird. Since birds are instinctively afraid of large animals or insects, they will avoid anywhere these Spiders are installed. After it “jumps”, the Spider then rewinds the string internally and basically resets itself. Within 30 seconds it is poised to “jump” again. This device is excellent for hanging on windows using the optional Suction Cups listed on the product page.
Wood Peckers and other birds can become a nuisance when they decide to use your home for nesting, feeding or territory marking.
Here is a woodpecker in action; it’s pretty obvious why this pecking can be a problem.
If they are randomly pecking on the siding of the home searching for food, ROPEL is a “Bad Tasting Repellent” that no doubt can help protect the home. However, if you have a few birds which are returning to the same area of the home, the Moving Spider will definitely stop them. The Spider comes with two screws so it is ready to install under eaves or on siding where they are landing. For some reason Wood Peckers are afraid of spiders and will avoid anywhere spiders are seen. Just hang some out where they are landing and pecking and you will force them to go elsewhere.
Another device that you can install which birds don’t like is the FLOATING ALLIGATOR. This mock replica of an alligator is sure to get the attention of almost any bird in the south. The fake head is made of styrofoam and floats. It has hooks on the bottom side which are used to attach anchors. The anchors are then set on the bottom of the pond. The line used to attach the Alligator needs to be long enough to allow the Alligator to float around. The floating action is just like the real thing – an Alligator on the prowl! This one has eyes which appear to be real and birds are very wary of it. Set it out offshore where you want to keep birds away from boat docks, shoreline, turf, swimming holes, etc. This is very useful in any states where Canadian Geese are active eating up everything growing along shore line. When combined with the liquid spray we have featured below you will put in place enough repellent to make any bird think twice about staying where you don’t want them.
One final device you might try using is the MOTION ACTIVATED WATER SPRAYER. This device hooks to your garden hose and has a motion detector which sees anything moving in front of it for about 40 feet. It is completely adjustable and can be set for much smaller areas as well. The sensor will detect anything moving and then zero in on it releasing a three second blast of water! It will effectively target birds, dogs, cats, deer and just about any annoying animal you don’t want coming into the covered zone. It can see about 40 feet out at over a 100 degree angle. This means you may need to strategically locate two or more around your property so that birds entering from different areas will all fall into the target range. The blast of water is enough to spook any bird and within 10 seconds the unit will reset awaiting the next target to spray. Over a short period of time local birds will learn to stay away from any property which has this device set up and watching 24 hours a day.
Once nest sights are established, you will need to use a stronger repellent. There are many available and all work better for some applications than the others. If you have birds hanging around and they haven’t responded to Terror or Scary Eyes, try one of the scented repellents. Although birds can’t smell like people, these products emit scents which cause a mild change in the birds physiological state. This makes them uncomfortable with their surroundings and makes them want to leave. Though these products don’t hurt the birds, the discomfort is enough to send them along their way. For ledge, roof tops and hard to reach areas, ROPEL GRANULES is good to use. Apply it loose or in small sacks made from nylon or cheesecloth. The product is time released and will release scent for about 2-3 months. Expect to have the birds relocate for awhile but if there dependency and love for where they were nesting or roosting is too strong, they will return.
To help let scented granules last longer, you can install GRANULE GUARDS. They will protect the granules from the rain and sun so they will last longer. Each Guard will hold 1/2 lb of granules and can be placed on the ground using the enclosed spike or the spike can be removed so the Guard will lie flat. These really pay dividends if you want your granules to last as long as possible.
If the scented repellents are not strong enough, consider using one of the physical repellents. These products are different from the scented materials because they will certainly cause a higher level of discomfort. For small areas along window sills, gutters or ledges, use 4-THE-BIRDS GEL. It comes in handy to use cartridges which fit in caulking guns. Apply it where the birds are landing and roosting. It comes out thick and clear. 4-The-Birds will adhere to any surface and lasts 6-12 months per application. Rest assured birds will leave treated surfaces. For big areas, use the liquid form. 4-THE-BIRDS LIQUID is easier to apply and covers a vast area. All you need is a regular PUMP SPRAYER. 4-The-Birds will work on trees, gutters, ledges, roof tops or any where birds are roosting and nesting. It will soak into porous surfaces which will take away from its life and may discolor the treated surface as well. If you don’t want to change the color of the material you intend to treat, it is suggested you first treat a small area to see the impact the material will have. In most cases, the birds have littered the surface area to such a degree the application of 4-The-Birds is barely noticeable! However, expect to have to reapply it more often if the surface area being treated is absorbing the product.
If the area you need to treat is subject to a lot of direct rain and/or sun which will diminish the length of time 4-The-Birds will last, you should consider installing some SPIKES. These plastic strips come with either plastic or stainless steel spikes which point up. The plastic pointed polycarbonate will last decades and is barely noticeable when applied on structures where cosmetics are a concern. The Stainless Steel design might be considered if you feel you need something a little stronger and if advisable for heavy commercial applications. The strips are flexible and easy to bend around curved objects. Mount it with nails, screws or adhesive. Once installed, birds will avoid it. The physical repellents like 4-The-Birds and Spikes work fast. They are noticed immediately by nuisance birds which will be forced to find another location. Choose either product depending on how long you need it to last.
BAD TASTING BIRD REPELLENTS
If the problem is damage being done to plants or turf, you have two products which can be used. ROPEL LIQUID is great for small areas. It comes in a liquid ready to spray or can be diluted. It will stop birds from pecking at plants, shrubs, flowers or berry bushes. It leaves a terrible taste on treated surfaces and birds will detect it quickly. Don’t treat vegetables directly as you will have a residual taste most people don’t like. Ropel won’t hurt the birds, it just chases them away to find other food supplies. Ropel should also be used for Wood Peckers. Most Wood Peckers peck houses because they are either searching for food or marking territory. Ropel will stop them from either behavior immediately. Spray it on the siding, gutters or chimney – wherever the wood pecker is active. It will surely get them to move elsewhere. If they have started a nest, you may need to use the product listed above called Liquid 4-The-Birds. It will make the nest sight so intolerable the wood pecker will surely leave.
If birds are eating vast turf areas like Canadian Geese or certain ducks will do, use GOOSE CHASE. This material tastes bad to them and they will stay off treated surfaces. Use our Pump Sprayer for doing the application. To get the best results, apply it after setting out some Bird Tape (listed below) or use it in conjunction with the Floating Alligator. The Goose Chase will only remain active 2-4 weeks. This is because the formulation is broken down by the sun rather quickly to insure it won’t spread into water ways. If you have a lot of bird pressure and want to make sure they move out for good, use the BIRD TAPE. It will last a long time if needed. Set out 2 foot pieces, 2-3 on a stake, around the yard or turf area. Bird Tape reflects the sun and birds will see several images from the reflections which will irritate, scare and intimidate them. When combined with Goose Chase, you will get great results. Once the birds have moved to other areas to feed, you can remove the tape. In most cases, treatments will displace birds and they will stay away for the season. Expect to retreat annually or as needed.
BIRD REPELLENTS THAT USE SOUND
There are several sound devices which have been used for bird control over the years but a few designs we’ve been found to be effective.
These include Ultra Sound, Distress Sound and Loud Sounds.
Ideally, Ultra Sound would be the only type needed but due to it’s limited coverage area, Ultra Sound can only be used for small areas 5,000 sq/ft or less.
One of the more popular ultra sounds for use around the home is the BIRD GARD. It’s easy to install, can be used for decks, porches, roof tops, window ledges, etc. and can be powered by either batteries or electricity. Simply point it in the direction where you don’t want birds and they’ll instantly leave. Most people will turn them on when they’re not using the area and then simply turn them off if the sound is noticeable. Like all ultra sound, the sound cannot harm or injure people or pets. But birds hate it and will stay away.
Another design used for open storage or work areas where nuisance birds tend to roost is the CEILING MOUNTED QB4. You’ll need a flat ceiling to maximize it’s coverage but where the sound is heard, the birds will avoid. Its actually great for areas where people are present. It makes no noise audible to people, but the series of sounds it emits distresses birds. Mount it on ceilings or walls commonly found around loading docks, attics, tunnels, canopies, tents, terraces, sheds or anywhere that has protection overhead to keep rain and water off the device. The sound pattern emitted by the unit will confuse and generally make nuisance birds, including pigeons, starlings and sparrows, uncomfortable. This unsure feeling makes the birds move elsewhere looking for some place else to roost and nest.
If you don’t have a ceiling on which to mount the unit and are having a problem in an area which is largely wide open, consider the ULTRA SOUND 4S. This design uses the same range of sound as the Ceiling Unit but is designed with versatility in mind. It features a base unit from which four individual speakers can be powered. Sound is then sent to the speakers intermittently. The speakers will project the sound in a directional fashion allowing you to get very specific coverage.
Ideally the speakers should be set at the elevation where the birds are present. If there are multiple heights of activity, install one speaker for every 10 feet of air space you want to protect. Though total coverage per speaker is less then 1000 sq/ft, multiple speakers – and in some cases several base units – all working together can achieve very good results. Each speaker comes with 100 feet of cable allowing them to be both discreetly placed and to be mobile if needed.
This unit is well suited for applications like under a large awning, a bistro, a back yard of 5,000 sq/ft or less, roof tops, etc. Speakers can be set at multiple heights, placed discreetly and directed right where they’re needed. And because this unit emits a sound humans cannot hear, they can be deployed covertly.
The BIRD DISTRESS EMITTER is designed to be used outside where birds are roosting and or places where you want to keep birds away period. This may be a roof, garden, ledge, trees, signs or anywhere nuisance birds are active. The device is weather proof and emits a series of distress sounds as well as predatory noises which will work on several species of birds. This unit can be set to sound off day and night and will cover a large area.
If the problem you are having is with Canadian Geese and they are distributed over a large area, consider installing our GOOSE BUSTER. This device uses loud audible sounds which are basically distress and alarm sounds which geese and ducks will recognize. Once alerted, they will relocate to another area. This system is the end result of many years of research and observation. Actual sounds were recorded during that time and then tested to see their impact when broadcast over large areas. The end result is a machine which is able to broadcast alarm and alert sounds over many acres so that nuisance Canadian Geese, Ducks and Seagulls can be effectively chased away. If you have a large area that needs protection, the Goose Buster will be the most practical and efficient way to address the problem. Of course, it can be used for small lots of an acre or less and will prove to be quite effective. This is a great tool for anyone who has a waterfront property or other natural landscape in which these birds are a problem
The last type of sound repeller is the loud canon type that will scare birds off for great distances. Though not suited for residential areas, this device is ideal for open fields, pastures, airports, parking lots, roof tops in commercial areas and basically anywhere you can install a device that will emit a loud – almost sonic booming blast – every few minutes. Our device is powered by propane and features an adjustable valve regulator so you can slow or hasten the gas flow as needed. Once enough gas enters the unit, it will combust causing a loud blast that will frighten any type of bird. Coverage can be from 1 to several acres and operating costs are inexpensive. Our BIRD/ANIMAL CANNON is easy to move around, can be set right out in the open and takes only minutes to configure. If you are in a heavily wooded area or where there are a lot of plants to block the sound, get the CANNON TRIPOD. This stand will hold both the Cannon and the propane tank. Furthermore, the mount is like a lazy Susan so it can rotate 360 degrees. You can even get the CANNON TIMER which will enable you to set a time window each day for when the unit will sound. This time frame may be during the day or night and once set, will sound every day during this “window”. This unit is very powerful so it’s not generally used in residential settings. However, many people have used them in such areas by manually controlling the unit turning it on when needed and then off when nuisance birds leave. Since the sound will work on just about any bird including crows, sea gulls, geese, ducks, starling, cowpies, grackels and sparrows, it’s applications are limitless.
In some cases birds can be destructive when they choose to feed on gardens, plants or some kind of crop. There are many birds which will feed on fruit or vegetables and if you have a garden which is being preyed upon, protecting it with some NETTING might be your best option. We have two grades that can be wrapped around the plant. Netting is easy to use and install so all you need is access to the plant you want to protect. Just cut the Netting to the needed size and secure it with cable ties. Though some of the fruit may still be reachable, most should be protected. This netting comes in a fine mesh, which is suitable for most types of protection needs, and won’t have any impact on the growth of the plant. Netting will let all the sun in that’s needed but it will serve to cut down on damage caused by foraging birds or nuisance animals. It will also work great as a cover for small ponds where koi fish are kept. These ponds tend to attract predatory birds like hawks. If you are having a problem with any type of bird preying on your stocked fish, installing some netting will help to keep them out.
When you have a structure design that attracts birds for roosting or nest creation, installing some Netting can usually get them to stop when properly placed. You may have to use the netting to close off some access point or make a certain area unreachable. For example, netting which installed under eaves or overhangs below roof tops is an effective deterrent to stop barn swallows from building their nests which they love to place at this location. Usually the fine mesh will do the job and should be mounted with NETTING CLIPS. These will allow you to secure the netting and pull it tight over the area you want to protect. In the rare cases where our Regular or Heavy Duty mesh isn’t strong enough, you might choose to install some SCREENING. This is a poly (plastic) as well – like the netting – but is more rigid and much stronger. Generally used to keep bats out of structures, this product will stand up much better when you are dealing with some type of large, strong or persistent bird. It too can be mounted with the Clips but it is strong enough to be stapled or nailed down as well.
When all of the above are not providing good enough control, the only option left is to trap the birds. There are several traps designed today which work for just about any nuisance bird you may encounter. Trapping birds is easy. First, you need to establish a feeding location. This is done by placing a known seed or food they like to eat at a specific place. Use some cracked corn or wild seed mix depending on the local species and their preferred food. Be sure to keep the supply available by replacing it daily if needed. The goal here is to get the target birds feeding where you will be able to set a trap. Try to use a location that will make the birds comfortable. Such areas include a flat roof, a large vacant lot or asphalt area, wide open fields, or elevated platforms. Although you can use a small backyard, be sure to keep children, pets and people away so the birds will become secure and feed naturally. Once you have a feeding location established, pick a trap which is designed for your application.
STARLING/SPARROW FUNNEL TRAP This unique trap is designed to work on at least two types of birds. It has a couple of features which makes it very adaptable and effective. Ideal for either Starlings or Sparrows, this trap has two holding areas. The trap measures 10″ tall, 16″ wide and 24″ long. The first compartment has two “funnel” doorways. It takes up about 1/2 of the trap. The second compartment has one funnel doorway but this entrance is in the middle of the trap and can only be accessed if birds have first entered the first compartment. Click the link above to learn how to best use this trap. This trap measures 10″T x 16″W x 24″L.
LT82428P PIGEON TRAP” Our LT82428P Pigeon trap has two door entrances per side and uses a one way funnel design instead of the more traditional swing type door. This trap is light, features a large access door and though only 8 inches tall, can handle 20 or more birds. Excellent choice for most applications and a popular seller that works well. This trap measures 8″T x 24″W x 28″L.
LT82484 PIGEON TRAP This is our largest trap overall yet it is surprisingly light and easy to manage. It comes in three hinged sections which fold open creating a trap which has 12 entrances. There are 6 doors per outside section which allow for pigeons to enter. From there they can enter the main or center holding area of the trap. Though large, this trap is designed to hold about 25 birds per section. Since it has two sets of doors through which pigeons need to enter to get to the middle section, once trapped birds are less likely to escape. It uses the new funnel type one way door system like the LT82428P. This trap measures 8″T x 24″W x 84″L.
Nuisance birds can be a problem around homes and other buildings. There are several repellents available which can help to keep them away. Although you may be able to chase the birds away with one product, most cases require using a combination of products to get the best results. The level of repellent you need to use will vary from species of bird to how extreme of an infestation you have. Ultimately, you may have no choice but to trap unwanted birds.