by Alex A. Kecskes
One of the best values in bird proofing today is the Plastic Bird Spike. These clever devices deny birds a suitable landing zone. After a few unsuccessful attempts to negotiate around the intimidating spikes, birds wise up and just move on. The spikes are ideal for deterring larger birds--like pigeons, crows, gulls, vultures and raptors. And they can be used virtually anywhere with little or no maintenance. The blunted spikes are safe for birds and maintenance crews, which is why they have earned the approval of humane groups around the world--including the U.S. Humane Society and PICAS (Pigeon Control Advisory Service). They are also GSA approved. This might be one reason why plastic bird spikes have been widely recommended by building contractors, architects, and municipalities.
Spikes for Many Species
Let's say you're being inundated by pigeons. Plastic bird spikes have proven to be highly effective in keeping these filthy birds from landing and roosting on ledges, parapets, rooftops and other structures. As most property owners may have noticed, pigeons can be very aggressive and often feed in flocks, devouring seeds, bread, vegetables, meat and almost any food discarded by humans. They roost together on rooftops, on walls, or any nook or cranny they can find. And they create quite a mess in droppings, which often carry any of 60 known diseases, some of which can be quite serious and life-threatening to humans.
If you have a problem with seagulls--and many property owners do, since these birds have begun to migrate inland--you'll need an effective bird proofing measure. Gulls are attracted to food scraps in cities, suburbs and municipal dumps. Recently the large birds have begun to nest in shopping centers, near fast food eateries, and on supermarket roofs. Gulls are clever birds that have increasingly been born and bred in cities, scavenging for food and becoming very aggressive, especially during breeding season. What's most alarming is that gulls have begun to dive-bomb and strike construction crews and roof maintenance and repair workers. In one instance, they even grabbed an ice cream cone right out of a little girl's hand. Installing plastic bird spikes is economical and effective way to deter these pest birds.
Another pesky bird is the crow. These smart birds set up close-knit communities to keep an eye out for predators or other threats. In the winter, crows roost in large flocks reaching up to 1,000 birds. Plastic bird spikes will discourage these birds from landing, forcing them to move on. Crows will invade school grounds, commercial property, healthcare facilities and fast-food eateries. They are not very particular about their diet and will eat anything from seeds, grains, and fruits to scavenged carcasses and small animals--imagine the diseases they can transmit on their beaks and feet as they hop from table to table at an outdoor restaurant.
Plastic bird spikes also do a nice job in deterring turkey vultures. These big birds have wide 6-foot wingspans and a short, hooked bill, which they use to rip apart carrion. Turkey vultures inhabit the southern United States, Mexico, and South America, as well as subtropical forests, shrublands, deserts, foothills, pastures, grasslands, and wetlands. The big birds will feast on lifeless animals, forage for food individually during the day, and return to a roost after dark. They mostly nest in the nooks and crannies of buildings, and as much as you might be tempted to shoot them, they are protected under the Federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act.
Advantages of Plastic Bird Spikes
One of the major benefits of using plastic bird spikes is that, unlike steel bird spikes, they are non-conductive. Which means they can safely be used near electrical equipment and any kind of antenna radiating RF energy. Since they won't interfere with EM transmissions, you can use them near cell phone towers, airport towers, relay stations and other areas where high-frequency transmissions are being generated.
Another advantage of plastic bird spikes is that they are highly durable. They can stand up to tough weather conditions. The best spikes in this category are made of 100% post-industrial plastic materials. The material is tough, strong, and eco-friendly. Better plastic spikes are also U.V. protected to endure long periods in sunlight and bad weather. One popular brand of plastic spike can stand temperature swings form +310 degrees F to -200 degrees. F.
Many architects and builders like plastic bird spikes because they blend into a structure's design and color scheme. Which means, the spikes are not as visually intrusive as other bird deterrents. One company even offers plastic bird spikes in a wide range of colors--including white, tan, gray, black, brown, brick red and even crystal clear.
Plastic bird spikes are also surprisingly easy to install. They come in 3-, 5- and 7-inch widths and they need no assembly. A single row of plastic bird spikes will typically cover an area of 7 inches wide. The spiked strips come in two-foot sections. The best plastic spikes feature a flexible base that easily conforms to any flat or curved surface. Installation is a snap since each spike strip comes already pre-drilled with holes along the base, allowing the strip to be screwed onto any surface. You can also glue the strip down in areas where screws are either impractical or prohibited. A glue trough on the base of each spike strip allows for fast and easy application and facilitates rapid installs.
Finally, plastic bird spikes are more economical than their steel counterparts. This can be a factor in large installations or for companies that have an extremely tight bird control budget. Keep in mind that some manufacturers offer a full 5-year guarantee on their plastic bird spikes. So you are covered against breakdown of the product and UV degradation of the plastic.