by Alex A. Kecskes
Several years ago, thousands of birds swarmed into South Pasadena, a small enclave near St. Petersburg, Florida. The horde of mostly crows filled shopping centers, dumped on cars and SUVs, and filled the air with their incessant screeches, cackles and caws. One observer noted crows in clusters of as many as 500 with a total of about 6,000. Other local residents said the crows had destroyed fruit trees, and cluttered sidewalks, benches and power poles with their droppings. Had South Pasadena taken steps to bird proof its streets and buildings, it might have been able to discourage the avian onslaught.
While most towns aren't normally invaded by birds reminiscent in an Alfred Hitchcok film, there are instances where birds seem to have taken over a park, building, boat dock or other facility. Although this may not strike fear in the hearts of most people, it can be quite a nuisance. For even hundreds of pest birds can create a huge mess and destroy property. An outdoor eatery, for example, could lose considerable business were it invaded by pest pigeons pooping on tables and chairs. Mothers would be loath to allow their children to play in a park covered with large black crows. Vintners and growers have lost thousands of dollars worth of grapes and other crops, no thanks to bird swarms. And many a building owner has spent hefty sums sandblasting bird poop from building facades. All this points to the need to bird proof an area or building. Fortunately, there are many humane and effective ways deter pest birds.
They Can't Land on Bird Slopes
Bird Slopes prevent pest birds from landing on many structures. The slippery PVC panels fit just about anywhere--on eaves, ledges, beams and other similar niches--and they just don't allow pest birds to get a solid footing. After several tries, birds give up and head for better landing areas. The angled bird proof panels are easy to install on almost any surface and will discourage a wide range of pest birds.
Bird Gel Works Well
Birds get the message real quick with this bird proof goop. Bird Gel presents pest birds with an icky, sticky landing zone that they can't stand. The gel will discourage all manner of pest birds. It's easy to apply on virtually any surface and is ideal for use on conduit, pipes, ledges, I-beams and parapet walls. The goop hardens after about six months, so you'll need to reapply it for best results.
Pest Birds Spurn Spikes
Humane and highly effective, Bird Spikes have gained widespread popularity in cities and towns across the country. While they may look like they could impale anything that comes near them, the blunted spikes are actually quite harmless to birds, pets and people. Spikes rely on a simple principle: birds simply can't navigate their wings and feet around them, so they move on to better landing zones. Bird spikes come in long-lasting stainless steel or rigid unbreakable polycarbonate. Installation is fast and easy on any flat surface or ledge. Some spikes come in two-foot long strips for easier installation. Spikes are an ideal way to bird proof most structures and the best spikes are virtually maintenance free.
To address varying bird problems, you can get a Mega Spike, which has long 7-inch spikes--ideal for most seagulls, cormorants, turkey vultures, raptors and other large birds. Mega spikes are usually made of marine-grade stainless steel to endure harsh outdoor weather. If you can, opt for crush proof spikes with a non-reflective metal finish. And choose spikes with a U.V.-protected polycarbonate base that you can angle to fit around curved surfaces.
Finally, there's the Gutter Spike. It's designed to keep large pest birds like seagulls, crows, and pigeons from nesting in gutters. Look for gutter bird spikes that have adjustable clamps at the base for easy installation to the lip of a gutter.
Bird Spiders For Stubborn Pest Birds
Resembling a giant Spider, Bird Spiders do a nice job of discouraging pest birds to stay away from restaurant tables, canvas boat covers, awnings, patios and other flat surfaces. The spider's spindly arms wave and flagellate in the breeze to bird proof an area. Bird spiders come in several arm lengths to scare away a wide variety of bird species.
Deter them with Foggers and Misters
Pest birds get all misty eyed after flying through an area protected by Bird Foggers and Misters. These systems effectively bird proof an area by releasing a fine mist of food-grade methyl anthranilate. This grape extract is harmless to birds and humans, yet pest birds hate the stuff. Simple foggers/misters basically consist of a sprayer and a canister of chemicals. More sophisticated systems use timers and multiple nozzles that allow you to direct the mist to specific sites and varying times and durations.
Bird Proof with Better Net Results
Bird Netting is an ideal way to bird proof groves, vineyards, enclosed courtyards, patios and other large areas. The nets come in various mesh sizes to keep out pigeons, sparrows, starlings and seagulls. For lasting durability, choose bird netting that has been U.V. stabilized, and is rot- and water-proof.
Bird Scare Devices
No bird likes to feel threatened. And Bird Scare deterrents are quite effective as a bird proof solution. These are the reflective foils, shiny tape banners and balloons you see around buildings, parks, boat docks and other outdoor areas. Some balloons have a giant predator eye in the center to convince birds a huge predator is about to attack them. The basic principle here is to create an “Optical Distraction Zone” to scare pest birds away. Balloons can also be filled partially with water to skim the surface of swimming pools, spas and Koi ponds to frighten pest birds away.