Nesting birds can be a problem for a whole host of reasons. From making noise outside your bedroom window to preventing commercial construction taking place, their presence can be costly, messy and annoying. There are two stages to bird control. The first, and by far the most effective, convenient and less problematic, is preventing them nesting in the first place. Trying to move birds after the fact brings a different set of problems. Let’s take a look at what’s involved and why South West bird control is so important.
What is Bird Control?
As the name suggest “bird control” is the process of keeping the issue of nuisance birds at bay. Effectively carried out, it means preventing the birds from nesting. There are also methods that can be carried out by licensed specialists after they have nested but, as it is illegal to tamper with the nests of some specific birds, it can often be a lot more difficult. At Falcon, we are firm believers in prevention being better than cure.
When Should Bird Control be Carried Out?
The nesting season in the UK is usually around Feb-March time and carries on into the summer, although some birds, including the pigeon, will nest at all times of the year. Here’s a quick overview of the different types and how they nest:
A breeding pair of seagulls will begin their courtship during late March to early April. Nest building will take place in early May. Many urban birds will re-visit their previous nests and use them year after year. Then, during May, they will lay their eggs. Each bird will usually lay a clutch of 3 eggs. So 2 become 5 very quickly! They are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 therefore it is illegal to injure or kill or tamper with the nests of these birds.
The common pigeon tends to return to the same nest each year to lay their eggs. They love abandoned buildings, roof spaces and gutters, to name but a few. Pigeons are monogamous and will mate with the same partner while both are still alive. Their nests are also protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981so any disturbance or removal of nests is prohibited. Pigeons can actually breed all year round but tend not to so much during the winter months.
Think of a nuisance bird and usually a pigeon or seagull comes to mind but there is another particular nuisance bird that causes more problems than many others. The starling is an aggressor, especially to other forms of wildlife pushing out other birds from their nest. Large flocks of the starling can cause damage to crops. They are also known for spreading invasive seeds and disease through their faeces. A male bird without a mate will build a nest to attract single females using herbs and other foliage to attract their mate. They sing to attract their mate and then the pair will mate through spring and into summer with the female laying eggs on a daily basis. They are also protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.
What this tells us is that it is important to carry out preventative bird control methods before spring to prevent birds from nest.
Identifying Nesting Hotspots
All birds have the same thing in common. They are seeking the ideal place to build their nests. When a bird looks for a nest there are several considerations but their primary goal is to ensure they can nest safely without fear of predators attacking their nests and stealing their eggs. They look for sheltered places, building nests in trees, on ledges, in the eaves of a house, even around solar panels. Starlings will build nests in cavities, pigeons will nest in a whole host of places. In fact, if you actually took time to study the landscape around you, you will find countless places that a bird could nest.
South West Bird Control for Commercial Properties
The rafters of large commercial buildings are an ideal place for birds to nest. Warm, dry and safe from predators and the elements, the birds can go about their business with their “business” usually ending up on building facades, the cars underneath and sometimes, innocent, unsuspecting passers-by. The typical hotspots for commercial concerns include:
- Car garages – flag poles, signage
- Metal frame construction, warehouses
- Sporting stadiums – under the eaves of the stands
- Barns and other farm buildings
- Properties with flat roofs
- Old listed churches with ledges
- Air conditioning units – pigeons like them
- Supermarket roofs
Nesting on Residential Property
Look out of the window and look up. Can you see pigeons on the roofs of buildings?
Pigeons are the least fussy of nesters which is why you will see more of them than most other nuisance birds. They don’t need to create much of a nest, unlike the starling, they will lay their eggs on bare ground. This includes flat roofs and balcony floors. Don’t be alarmed to find a pigeon laying its eggs on your balcony! They also love solar panels. In fact, bird proofing for solar panels has become a regular enquiry.
Why Don’t You Want Birds to Nest?
As we have already mentioned, once a bird nests, it tends to re-visit that nest year after year. That means, that if they have taken up residence, they are going to be hard to get rid of. Much easier to identify the hotspots and protect them before they arrive. But why? What is the issue with birds nesting? Well there are numerous, here are just a few:
Potential Hazards of Nuisance Birds
Running a business can be problematic enough without having to worry about the costs that you could incur from nesting birds. Seeking the advice of a professional South West bird control company at this stage is advisable, especially for the following:
- Cost for construction companies – once they are nesting, most birds are protected and can’t be removed under the Wildlife and Countryside Act of 1981. It is then necessary to call in licensed specialists who will have to advise on the best course of action. This can add a considerable time delay and cost to your project
- Farmers – destruction of crops. In the case of starlings especially, their faeces can kill crops. Not to mention the fact that birds such as crows will devour the seeds that you plant. Birds will happily make their homes in the rafters of barns – not good for cattle down below
- Restaurants – nesting birds can be a health and safety issue. Fast food chains such as McDonalds and KFC can be a magnet for seagulls and other birds who like to scavenge around the bins. If you have a problem with birds, you risk attacks on passers-by as seagulls will swoop for food, not to mention the faeces on the carpark and façade/windows of the buildings
- Old listed buildings – 12thcentury churches that are vulnerable to the elements can be damaged by bird faeces as the acid can cause damage to the building materials
- Car Retailers – You will often see spikes on the roof, flag poles and ledges of car garages and car washes – bird poop can cause damage to the paint of shiny new vehicles. It’s not a great way to sell cars if they are covered in bird mess.
For homeowners it can be annoying – the wakeup call of a seagull is not pleasant. You also don’t want pigeons nesting on your solar panels and preventing them from performing at maximum efficiency. A collection of seagulls and pigeons will also cause damage to the neighbourhood cars and if it is you with the bird problem, you won’t be popular with the neighbours. Starlings will make a mess of your lawn with invasive seeds and can even kill vegetation with the droppings.
How to Prevent Birds from Nesting
So, other than construction your own scarecrow and sticking it on your roof, how else can you prevent birds from nesting? We recommend that you give us a call in the first instance. We can discuss your issue over the phone and talk you through one of our many South West bird proofing methods including:
One of the more common forms of South West bird control, especially for commercial premises, is bird netting. This involves constructing a mesh over the area where birds could find a home. Flat roofs for example are an excellent place to carry out bird netting. It can cover an expansive area which makes it a great barrier and prevents birds swooping down and landing. We have carried out many examples of bird netting for businesses across the South West and beyond.
Spiking is an effective preventative measure where netting may not be suitable. Spikes are an anti-perching device which can be placed in smaller spaces such as parapets, gutters, pipes, signs, beams etc. Imagine the rafters inside a warehouse for example – bird spiking is ideal for this type of environment. These anti-perch spikes make the areaextremely inhospitable for birds – especially pigeons and seagulls.
Bird Hawking for Seagulls
Our Harris Hawks are trained to fly over areas where there are birds present to act as a deterrent. The presence of the hawk signals the threat of a predator and encourages the birds to move on. Flying the birds regularly over the area will eventually lead to the seagulls finding a new home. We visit the sites at regular intervals and at different times so that the birds don’t get used to a specific pattern. While seagulls may be extremely stubborn and aggressive, especially when nesting, they are still scared of a hawk.
Bird Hawking for Pigeons
Unlike seagulls, pigeons will nest pretty much all year round and they can make their home in far more cosy spaces than seagulls will. This presents an ideal situation for bird hawking. We can fly our Harris Hawks over an area at regular intervals over a period of a few weeks until the pigeons have got the message and moved on.
Using Professionals for South West Bird Control
Using a professional is paramount for effective South West bird control. Companies especially have to be very careful about how they tackle birds that are already nesting. It is illegal under the Wildlife and Countryside Act of 1981 to tamper with nests. These birds, however much of a pest, are protected. Licenses are required to carry out certain services. For homeowners, you can’t just climb a ladder and clean out your gutter to remove nests, especially if they contain eggs or the young.
Don’t Ignore the Issue
You may be thinking “that won’t happen to us”. You may never have considered this could be an issue and you may be completely oblivious to any laws protecting birds and their young. We can assure you though that these birds will make their nests in the most unlikely of places. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.
Our Experience with South West Bird Control
As one of the foremost South West bird control companies, our experience has seen us work with many recognisable names. We provide bird proofing services to Plymouth Argyle, we have worked with fast food retailers such as McDonalds and we are about to commence bird proofing services for Plymouth University. Our work takes us further afield and we cover the entire south west of England including the counties of Somerset, Dorset, Devon and Cornwall. You will find many examples of our South West bird control work on our Facebook and Instagram pages and we are happy to provide references.
Discuss Your Requirements
We are happy to have a chat with you in the first instance to discuss your South West bird control requirements and see how we can help. If you would like a site visit, we can come out and take a look. If you are a homeowner and are worried about noisy nuisance birds, we can provide advice on how to approach the situation and arrange to come and do the work. We pride ourselves on our commitment to our customers and, if you know anything about us, you will know that we are a friendly bunch that will always do our best. Get in touch by calling 01752 929292 and we will provide the solutions.