Bird control for building managers

Methods used to eliminate, deter pest birds must be tailored to the specific situation
Monday, July 15, 2013
By Ashley Johnson

A bird on a roof is risky business. Building managers can lose thousands of dollars and clients due to birds roosting and nesting on their buildings.

A property is a valuable marketing tool – an opportunity to attract potential tenants or clients. When potential tenants come to view a property, they want to be assured it is well-maintained and managed. If birds are landing and nesting on the property, they are likely leaving behind a mess of droppings that is visually unappealing. This instantly sends a negative message about the management and owners of the property.

Pest birds will inevitably find their way to buildings if the conditions are right: high areas for sitting, nooks, overhangs, eaves, food and shelter. It is the responsibility of building management and the owners to maintain the value of the building and keep tenants safe and happy. For these reasons, it is important for them to be aware of the problems associated with birds landing, perching and nesting on buildings.

Damage and risk
Bird problems are dangerous to occupants and customers. They should, however, be an even bigger concern for building managers and owners who are responsible for the probable consequences of not addressing bird issues.

Birds create a very messy and unsanitary environment. Health issues can arise because birds carry more than 60 known transmittable diseases. This puts building managers, staff and tenants at risk of contracting diseases through physical contamination or inhalation. Legal issues often follow “slip and fall” incidents when slippery bird feces cause people to fall and injure themselves on the premises. For example, in New York City, a man was awarded $8 million after he slipped and fell on pigeon poop on a staircase of an elevated subway station.

Financially, owners are at risk of losing thousands of dollars in revenue over lost and unsatisfied tenants. Constant cleanup costs and repairs to damage caused by pest birds can also add up to thousands of dollars. Bird droppings are acidic and can damage and stain building structures, breaking down the exterior and ruining a property’s visual appeal. Bird nesting materials can also clog drains, causing damage during heavy rains.

Bird control solutions
Before determining a solution, it is important to ask the following questions about the bird problem:

  • What species of birds are the problem?
  • Are the birds large or small?
  • Where are the birds located on the property?
  • How many birds are there?
  • What are the birds doing – landing, roosting or nesting?

Answering these questions will help determine if the bird control solution is relatively straightforward or if it should involve an integrated solution that requires the installation of several bird control products.

If birds are roosting on ledges, ridges or parapet walls on the property, they are either looking for food or watching for predators. For smaller birds like sparrows or black birds, a flat track electric bird abatement system should be installed. If larger birds (pigeons, seagulls or crows) are roosting, bird spikes or an electrical track system is the best solution.

Bird spikes are a physical bird deterrent that prevents larger birds from landing on the treated area. The spikes will not harm the birds; they simply create an uneven surface making it impossible for birds to land. Bird spikes are easily installed with either screws or adhesive.

A flat track electric bird abatement system is a low profile product that produces a mild electrical shock when birds land on the surface. It works for small and large birds, and will not harm them. The shock alters their behaviour pattern causing them to remember the unpleasant association with the treated area. Flat track systems can run off of solar energy through a solar powered charger or plug directly into a building.

If birds are nesting, however, full exclusion may be required to get rid of them. Bird netting is the best option to ensure birds are excluded from the target area; it produces a physical barrier to prevent birds from landing, roosting or nesting in unwanted areas.

For best results, be sure to consult an industry professional to assist in choosing the right solution.

Ashley Johnson is the marketing specialist at Bird-B-Gone, the world’s largest manufacturer and distributor of bird control products, providing effective and humane solutions to a bird-free environment.

2 thoughts on “Bird control for building managers

  1. As a building maintenance professional I have seen first hand the damage done on roof tops as well as exterior walls by bird feces. I strongly agree that any time a building can budget the installation of a bird repellent system it should be done. The difficulty is proper placement so as not to interfere with exterior maintenance contractors work routine. I have seen many times where permanently placed spikes have to be climbed over to access the ropes and windows on the exterior walls. This can severely endanger an employee as he must access the ropes and his chair by risking spikes in his hands, legs, arms and eyes as he attempts to climb over and lower himself into his chair. It quickly becomes a safety issue. These bird spike should always be installed in removable sections which would enable contractors easy removal while working in that area and replacement once they are done. The same could be done with the electrical wire system. A little foresight by the installation company can go a long way in ensuring safe working conditions for other contractors.

  2. I like how you say that bird netting will be the best option for excluding them from a target area. Some buildings have problems with birds running into their windows besides just them roosting, and it’s not a good thing for either the animals, the building, or the people inside. Finding someone who’ll be able to put up netting or something would really help to keep everyone safe and there to be no unwanted visitors.

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