Most people may think of urban environments – such as Trafalgar Square’s pigeons – when they think of bird infestations. However, gulls, crows, rooks, ravens, jackdaws, Canada geese and pigeons can all frequently be found in commercial premises as well. Shopping centres, office blocks, airports, stations and listed buildings can all provide an attractive proposition for nesting birds, as they offer safe breeding locations and reliable sources of food, shelter and protection.
While nesting birds may seem harmless enough, commercial properties can suffer greatly in the event of an infestation.
Nesting behaviours: Birds’ nests block chimneys and flues which can cause the build-up of deadly gasses in a property. The blockage of drainage pipes and guttering can also lead to flooding and water damage. In addition, the damp caused by such blockages can encourage insect infestations – posing yet more pest control issues.
Aggressive behaviour: Birds can be extremely territorial, especially during nesting season. They have been known to attack other animals and humans, deeming them to be a threat to their eggs.
Disease: Birds can carry many communicable diseases – fungal, viral and bacterial – some of which can be deadly. Bird droppings also contain several diseases and infections, such as salmonella. When dry, droppings can become airborne in very small particles, leading to respiratory complaints once inhaled. Contaminated food and discarded feathers can also be a source of infection.
Fouling: Bird droppings are acidic so can cause permanent damage to wood, stone, metal, vehicles and clothing. Heavily fouled areas can also present a significant slipping hazard.
All these issues can cause a serious problem for businesses – especially those dealing with food – and can lead to loss of customer and revenue, staff absence due to sickness, litigation should customers be injured or fall ill, or even closure by environmental health.
Therefore, it is crucial to be able to identify a bird control issue before it gets out of hand. Not everybody is aware of the four clear signs to look out for however.
#1 Large Numbers of Gathering Birds
This one may seem obvious, but look out for large numbers of similar birds gathering around your property. If they seem to be hanging around for a prolonged period, and/or growing in population, it could be an indication they’ve identified your property as a desirable nesting location.
#2 Bird Droppings
Birds leave a lot of droppings which, as already discussed, can cause serious problems for property and people. If you notice a sudden increase in the number of bird droppings around your property, it can be sign of infestation. If you find droppings inside your property however, then you need to take immediate action.
#3 Damage to Rooftops and Eaves
The goal of a bird infestation, is to find somewhere warm and out of the way to nest, and this means gaining access to the property. Birds will tend to try and gain access high up – they will tear holes in the roof or widen cracks in joints, corners and eaves to do so. Ensure you carry out regular inspections during nesting seasons to identify any damage.
Some people enjoy the sound of birdsong in the morning, but an increase in bird-related noise around your property could be a sign of infestation. Be especially attentive to cooing or chirping which doesn’t have a discernible origin, as it may indicate birds which have secreted themselves away within your property.
Once a potential infestation has been identified, the next step is to get it taken care of before any significant damage is caused. However, since the introduction of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, wild birds, as well as their nests and eggs, have been protected by law. Intentionally killing or causing injury to wild birds, or destroying their nests and/or eggs is illegal in the UK.
Failure to comply with the legislation can result in prosecution and, if found guilty, a hefty fine.
The Safeguard Difference
It is crucial to employ bird control experts who know how to deal with an avian infestation, while remaining on the right side of the law. Safeguard Pest Control has over 30 years’ experience in the field and specialises in commercial pest control.
One of the methods Safeguard employs which separates them from the competition is the use of birds of prey to humanely dissuade nesting birds from taking up, or continuing, their residence. Rather than hunting and killing the invading birds, the mere presence of a predator in the environment will cause nesting birds to depart for a safer location.