by Alex A. Kecskes
Alnwick and Amble, two small market towns in north Northumberland, England, had a real pest bird problem a few years ago. Both towns have historically suffered from pigeon infestations and messy droppings along its streets and market areas.
The pigeon droppings had defaced pavements, walls and rooftops, and had even blocked gullies and drains in the two towns. Pigeons had become a serious problem in Alnwick, particularly in the Market Place, along Fenkle Street and Narrowgate. In Amble, the pigeons had begun to roost on several buildings along Queen Street and on Lawrence's DIY store on Bridge Street.
The townsfolk had a number of meetings, and suggestions for solving the pigeon problem included the creation of a pigeon loft where the birds would be attracted to nest. The plan was to remove the eggs and replace them with dummy eggs. This, it was hoped, would reduce the exploding pigeon population. At one time, the Amble city council had even allowed firearm culling, but those methods were soon abandoned because citizens felt it was cruel to simply shoot the pigeons.
If only the townsfolk of Alnwick and Amble had consulted some professional bird control experts, their pest pigeon problems could have been solved efficiently and humanely, for among the many tools in a pro bird controller’s arsenal is the Plastic Bird Spike
Unlike firearms and birth control measures, plastic bird spikes are perfect for deterring pigeons, crows, gulls, vultures and raptors. These versatile bird-proofing devices are widely used on rooftops, ledges, signs and other elevated areas. The blunted spikes are harmless to birds, pets and installation or cleaning crews. The devices have been approved by the U.S. Humane Society and PICAS (Pigeon Control Advisory Service). In addition, plastic spikes are also GSA approved (U.S. General Services Administration).
Plastic bird spikes are made of a polycarbonate material that can be used around electrical and RF transmission equipment. They can be installed around cellphone antenna arrays and other radiating devices. The best plastic spikes are U.V. protected to withstand years in the sun and punishing weather. One popular plastic bird spike can withstand temperature extremes form +310 degrees F to -200 degrees F. It comes with a full 5-year guarantee.
To blend in better with their surroundings, plastic bird spikes now come in a full range of colors--including white, tan, gray, black, brown, brick red and crystal clear. Even custom colors are now available. It’s small wonder architects and builders so often recommend plastic bird spikes as a bird control measure. Plastic spikes are also less expensive that steel bird spikes. This makes them ideal for large installations or for those on a very tight bird control budget.
Another advantage of plastic bird spikes is that they are virtually maintenance free and require no assembly. The spikes come in a variety of sizes--typically 3-, 5- and 7-inch widths and two-foot sections. A single row of plastic bird spikes usually covers a 7-inch wide area. For easy installation, look for plastic spikes that have a flexible base that you can bend and turn to fit onto any flat or curved surface. In some cases, the spike strips have been pre-drilled with holes along the base for fast, easy installation. You can also glue the strip by using the glue trough (a feature found in better spikes) on the base of each spike strip. Use outdoor polyurethane construction adhesive to firmly secure the spikes. Remember to close up any gaps between spike strips to less than two inches. For extra wide ledges, use three or more rows of spikes and be sure to limit the gap between rows to less than two inches.
Finally, before installing plastic bird spikes, make sure the surface is clean and dry. Clean out any loose rust, peeling paint, bird droppings, feathers and nesting materials. Use commercial disinfecting cleaning agents to prevent exposure to any of the 60 known airborne diseases carried by birds. If the area is heavily contaminated with bird droppings (wet or dry), use proper eye and respiratory protection.