A pest is simply an animal or plant in the wrong place at the wrong time. Even birds, second only to our pets as the animals we love most, sometimes become serious pests. They contaminate food, carry disease, attack crops, damage buildings, leave messy droppings behind and otherwise annoy and frustrate us.

With very few exceptions, all birds are protected by laws and regulations.

The most frequent bird pests we are asked to address are Woodpeckers and Pigeons.

Pigeons, starlings and house-sparrows, all purposely introduced, non-native species, are by far the most common pest birds in North America. This comes as no surprise to any ecologist because away from their natural enemies and natural limits, non-native species often become dominant in their new location. In most areas woodpeckers are considered to be an unusual pest, but at the Bug Runner we get more calls regarding this bird than all the others.

Note: portions edited from “Not Such Fine Feathered Friends” by Larry Pinto in the 3/00 issue of Pest Control Magazine

Pigeons

The domestic pigeon was introduced to the U.S. as food source (squab) in the early 1700’s. They quickly adapted and thrived in their new environment, using window ledges, roofs, eaves, bridges, church steeples and other urban structures as substitutes for their natural habitat of cliffs and crags. Today most people associate pigeons with normal city life.

Pigeons become pests due to their propensity to group together in large flocks. (although even one pigeon in an inconvenient spot can be a pest) They create a mess with their nesting materials and droppings. Most common as an esthetic problem it can also be a health issue when roosting in food warehouses, grain facilities and processing plants where they can contaminate food. Also the accumulation of droppings under longstanding roosts creates the potential for two respiratory diseases that can effect humans. Both are spread when the droppings are dry and airborne particles are inhaled.
Pigeon Management

The Bug Runner utilizes both mechanical exclusion techniques and chemical approaches to pigeon management. Based on an inspection the most efficient method is chosen for the individual customer’s needs. CALL the office for an appointment.

Woodpeckers

Most woodpecker problems are temporary or solvable with non-lethal controls.

Woodpeckers all have a strong bill designed for chipping and digging into tree trunks and branches for wood-boring insects. They become a pest in the spring when “drumming” to attract mates and mark out their territories. Rat-a-tat-tatting on siding, flashing and even TV antennas, usually around dawn, the noise can drive you mad. Softwood siding and trim, especially cedar, rough pine and redwood can entice woodpeckers to your house. They use their bills to drill out “cavities” for nesting and look for food. Carpenter bees, carpenter ants, wood-boring beetles and termites are all potential meals for woodpeckers.

NASA experienced a problem with woodpeckers (yellow shafted flickers). Launch was delayed when the flickers drilled more than 70 holes in the foam insulation of the shuttle Discovery’s external fuel tanks! While the Discovery was inside for repairs, the birds targeted the shuttle Atlantis! Why did they choose the shuttles? were they drumming? trying to nest? no-one knows for sure. Ultimately they were discouraged with plastic owls and loud horns. They did not have to resort to killing the woodpeckers.

Woodpecker Management

The Bug Runner evaluates each customer’s situation to see if an insect infestation is involved, treating as needed, and uses visual repellants when appropriate. Cost is based on individual needs determined with a visit to the house. Call for appointments and estimates.

Starlings and Sparrows

These birds are known for congregating in very large groups thereby creating a problem with droppings, noise and/or feeding patterns. These birds have not been presented to us as a problem in this area, but should they become an issue for you, exclusion techniques and/or chemical intervention are appropriate control methods. Just give us a call.