by Alex A. Kecskes
If you’re fortunate enough to live in a waterfront home, you’ve no doubt had to deal with gulls, cormorants or pelicans on your property. Without effective bird control measures to deter them, these birds can create a number of costly problems. Not the least of which is the build-up of bird droppings everywhere.
Gull droppings on your roof, for example, are so acidic they can permanently damage roofing tiles. Cormorants like to build nests in lofty places, like chimneys, which can be dangerous to both bird and resident. Sometimes, gulls will bring muscles on your deck or rooftop and break them apart before eating. This can create a smelly mess, damage your roof and mar your deck.
Seaside pest birds can wreak havoc with your outdoor furniture. Canvas awnings and umbrellas can become so covered with droppings that they will degrade the material to the point of tearing. Droppings on the sides of your home, deck or boathouse can require expensive removal and re-painting.
So what can you do to protect your home from pest birds? Install some effective, humane bird deterrents. Here are few of the most popular for seaside homes:
Marine Grade Bird Spikes
These won’t allow birds to land or perch. The best bird spikes are made of flexible, marine-grade stainless steel and feature a U.V.-protected polycarbonate base. The spikes are easy to install on rooftops, decks, light posts or other lofty areas birds often choose to land. The spikes come in 3-, 5- and 8-inch widths to cover areas up to 8 inches wide. For larger birds—like cormorants—you’ll need the Mega Spike, which protects landing areas with 7-inch long spikes. To keep pest birds out of your rain gutters, Gutter Spikes feature adjustable clamps at the base. Bird spikes are blunted at the tips and are approved safe by the U.S. Humane Society and PICAS (Pigeon Control Advisory Service).
Visual Bird Deterrents
Often called Bird Scare Deterrents, these include Flash Tape and Reflective Banners than can be easily hung on decks, patio covers, and landing areas. They “spook” birds by crackling in the breeze and reflecting sunlight. Working on the same principle are Scare Eye Diverters, which sway and bob in the breeze. These teardrop shaped plastic panels feature large predator eyes to frighten birds. Finally, there are the Bird Scare Balloons, which also feature large predator eyes to keep pest birds thinking twice about landing. These visual bird deterrents can be effective, but you must move them around from time to time to convince birds they are a real threat.
Sonic Bird Control
These devices emit bird distress and predator calls that resemble normal bird sounds to humans. They make birds far too uncomfortable to stay. One popular sonic bird control unit can emit distress and predator calls for 22 different species of birds. Its built-in speaker covers up to one acre. The unit can be programmed to turn on or off at night, and you can even adjust the volume.