Why should we care about pest birds?
It seems the latest issue concerning property management and building maintenance companies is pest birds.
Every year, millions of dollars are spent cleaning up after and repairing the damage caused by pest birds such as pigeons, seagulls, crows and other urban birds.
Not only are these problems unsightly, but pest birds and their feces can spread 60 plus transmittable diseases.
Safety, sanitation and health hazards caused by bird droppings can pose serious liability risks, and if left untreated, can lead to accidents and lawsuits.
Bird feces, bird nests and debris can also create a bad public image with tenants and patrons.
Pest birds, such as pigeons, gulls, starlings, sparrows and swallows, can cause thousands of dollars in damage a year to buildings, industrial facilities, equipment and machinery.
Building owners and managers are tired of spending thousands of dollars a year cleaning up bird feces or repairing the damage that is caused by the birds and their droppings.
Bird droppings are acidic and can eat away at paint and erode building materials, making cleanup, painting and repairs necessary.
Pest birds will roost and nest on building roofs, causing damage and possible health hazards.
Pest pigeons like to build their nests on flat surfaces that are elevated, such as ledges, windowsills and under HVAC units.
Left unchecked, pest pigeons will take over a rooftop, making it a potential health hazard.
Finding a solution to a pest bird infestation can be a daunting task.
There may not be one product that can solve the entire issue.
In these cases, an Integrated Bird Control Solution may be required.
Integrated Bird Control Solutions are being used to keep pest birds off of buildings.
An Integrated Bird Control Solution is one that may use several types of bird control products to eliminate the problem birds and their messes.
Keeping pest birds off of flat surfaces, such as parapet walls, ledges and windowsills, requires a physical bird deterrent such as bird spikes, electric track or a spring wire system.
Keeping the pest birds from the HVAC systems on the roof may require bird netting over the units to exclude the birds from the area.
It is sometimes necessary to use several products to keep a rooftop or building clear of unwanted pest birds.
A Case Study
A recent project at United Regional Health Care in Wichita Falls, Texas, used an Integrated Bird Control System to get rid of pest pigeons from a 14-story, one-million-square-foot building.
For buildings of this size, one product will not always work.
Some of the solutions that were incorporated included:
On window ledges and parapet walls that were nesting and roosting areas, they installed an electric track system to get rid of the pest pigeons. These systems give the birds a mild jolt when they come into contact with the track. The birds will leave the area for a more suitable one.
Bird netting was used to exclude the pest pigeons from entering large balconies. It would have been impossible to use a physical bird deterrent on all of the places that the pigeons were landing on, so the bird netting was chosen to exclude them completely from the balconies.
On the building ledges, a bird slope system was installed to keep the pest birds from landing. This type of system creates a slope on the ledge that makes it impossible for the birds to land. When the slope is installed, it creates a 45-degree angle that the birds "slide" off of.
The maintenance staff at United Regional Health Care had been struggling with pigeons for years, and now pest birds are nowhere to be found.
A Cost-savings Investment
The money saved in cleanup costs and damage repairs is well worth the investment in bird control products.
Most building managers find that they make up the cost within the first year of installation.
Once installed, most pest bird control systems are easy to maintain.
Visual inspections of netting and physical deterrents, as well as voltage tests to electric tracks, should be done routinely.
Urban bird control is becoming big business in the United States.
Companies across the country are specializing in bird exclusion installations.
Other companies such as pest control, maintenance, window cleaning and roofing companies are adding bird control to their offerings.
A custom integrated bird control program, once installed, can save companies millions of dollars in cleanup and maintenance costs each year.
It will also enhance their public image since clean buildings make a much better impression on customers and patrons than buildings with pest birds and feces.
Fran Prisco has been in the bird control industry for over eight years. Her work with Bird-B-Gone has included product development, web and ad design and public relations. She lives in southern California and enjoys numerous outdoor activities, including running, golfing, biking and more. Fran also volunteers for many community services and plays an active role in her church. To reach Fran Prisco or Bird-B-Gone, you can e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-800-392-6915