by Terra Anders
The breaking news showed a shocking story of an El Paso family who was living in a scene ripped right out of the Alfred Hitchcock thriller, “The Birds.” A gas leak was suspected in their recently purchased home. As the homeowner climbed up into the attic in search of the location of the leak, what he found was horrific. Over two feet of dead birds lined the floor of the attic, with various degrees of rotting and skeletal remains! Two feet of bones, feathers, decaying carcass and feces can contain the potential for any number of unknown diseases to be transmitted through the home’s air ducts and ventilation system. Under the layers of rotting remains, the landowner found the source of the gas leak. This discovery clearly shows the need for appropriate bird control measures to be set in place to keep birds away from home ventilation ducts.
Most birds love nooks and crannies. They often seek places that will provide warmth and protection from their natural predators. Once birds find a safe nesting place, they will nest there year after year. One can easily see how, without proper bird control products put in place, home sweet home can quickly become horror house on the hill. Preventing this kind of catastrophe can easily be avoided with just a few simple bird exclusion steps.
Check all vents and openings, and the cavities they lead to, before installing any bird control product. Making sure there are not existing lint, debris, birds, nests, or chicks inside is critical. Some experts suggest placing a small metal mesh screen inside the vents to keep birds and rodents out. However, wire screens with small mesh can be a fire hazard if used on dryer vents. They can also ice up in the winter, preventing the vents from working properly. Instead, consider using hardware cloth, found at any hardware store. This is the same material that beekeepers use to cover beehive openings. Plastic hardware cloth resists rusting when exposed to the elements and the mesh size ranges from ½-inch to 1-inch. It can be cut to size and fitted inside the vents, preventing small creatures from traveling into the venting system. Unlike metal mesh, it won’ rust, but it will need to be cleaned out regularly to remove any built up lint or debris.
Look for cracks or holes in the house siding, particularly openings in water or gas pipes enter leaving spaces for birds or rodents to fit through. Flexible copper mesh, like Stuf-fit Copper Mesh is the perfect exclusion material because it can simply be stuffed and molded into the gap and packed in tightly around odd shaped holes. It won’t rust, and the weave of the copper substrate makes it extremely difficult for birds to peek their way through.
Placing a Red-Tail Hawk decoy near the vents is another very easy bird deterrent that will discourage birds from settling in or near the exterior vents. The hawk is a natural predator for many bird species, so planting one near the roof top ducts with work on birds’ natural instinct to flee from danger. This life-like bird deterrent is easy to use. Just open up the base, fill with sand for weight, and place the decoy in the area near the vent. Moving the placement every couple weeks during breeding season is recommended when the population of birds seeking safe nesting spots increases.
Don’t wait until your home becomes a nightmare, be proactive now and protect your home before the spring nesting season sets in.