Typical Pest Species: Birds

In Kansas and Missouri there are five species of birds that frequently become a problem in residential, Industrial, and recreational sites. I’m sure that farmers and gardeners could add to this list, but for pest control we’ll discuss Starlings, Sparrows, Woodpeckers, Pigeons, and Geese. With all species we try to control them, not kill them. That usually entails removal, by a variety of means, to get them away from the area in question.

Pigeons are the most common bird we are called on to control. They roost in large groups on sides of buildings and houses. They are well adopted to man made environments and are frequently raised by man. Pigeon droppings deface and accelerate deterioration of buildings, statues and equipment. Their droppings and nests can contaminate food processing when inside warehouses and manufacturing sites, and they can carry diseases and lice. They at times must be controlled.

There are a number of options for controlling pigeons. They all depend on the situation, the structure and ones budget. “Avitrol” is a chemical method that works very well but there are occasional fatalities. To use this product one pre-baits with corn. Once the pigeons are used to feeding you add Avitrol. It’s like a hallucinogenic to birds. Once they feed on it they fly sideways, and into walls in total confusion. They leave the area never to return, and warn others in the flock to do the same.

“Hotfoot” or products similar also work to remove pigeons from ledges and other roosting areas. This is spread on the ledge, and once a pigeon steps in it a burning sensation in their feet forces them to leave. “Tangle foot” is similar only it’s sticky, the results are the same.

Bird wires such as the picture displays are also very effective and a permanent solution on ledges and other areas where pigeons are roosting. Once set into place, the wires prevent the birds from landing thus eliminating the problem.

Bird netting is very effective and permanent. It is especially effective inside manufacturing areas. When installed properly it’s nearly invisible and will keep pigeons and other birds out of a given area.

Starlings are about the size of Robins. They are blackish-gray with speckles on their wings. Those of you that have bird feeders recognize them as the drab hogs that eat all of the food leaving nothing for the exotic birds you hoped to entice to your yard. Starlings are dirty birds, and they can transmit diseases such as encephalitis, ornithosis, and histoplasmosis, as well as mites.

They make obnoxious noise, and when hundreds or thousands of them roost in a tree near by, or on your property it becomes irritating. Starlings also, like pigeons create problems with their droppings on and around their roosting sites.

Another major problem we have found in residential areas is nest building inside attic. When the screens around the vents in the roof rot or decay, starlings enter and build their nests. Not only does this create problems by hearing the birds in the attic, but mites and lice breed in the nests and may infest the house.

When nests are in the attic, we can remove the birds and nest, treat for mites and lice, and re-screen. This will keep them out indefinitely. Outside treatment is much the same as pigeon control. Each property will have to be evaluated and decide which method would be the most effective.