Everything you need to know about bird pests
Types of bird
These birds tend to affect homes and businesses throughout the UK most significantly. The more prevalent species should be easily identifiable for most people, but smaller birds like starlings and sparrows are commonly confused.
Pigeons are predominantly grey with blue and purple highlights, and one of the most common pests of any type in most UK cities. Scavengers by nature, they congregate in large groups where there is heavy footfall and a likely opportunity to feed on discarded food and scraps.
Seagulls are large and white with yellow beaks. They are well-known throughout seaside towns for their increasing boldness (and sometimes aggression), so it’s important for home and business owners to ensure they don’t begin to gather in intimidating groups. They have also been known to fly inland to cities with reliable sources of food.
Black with short tails and yellow beaks, starlings are small and not usually considered one of the traditional avian pests, but they have the ability to cause a range of problems. They nest anywhere they want, not limiting themselves to trees or homes, are noisy and aggressive towards other birds and feed on various crops. Many companies specialise in bird control at airports because flocks of starlings can hit planes and damage them as they take off and land.
House sparrows are generally pale brown and grey in colour, though males have brighter markings in brown, black and white. They enjoy nesting in roof spaces, dislodging tiles and causing significant damage with their comings and goings. They can also be aggressive towards other birds and feed on crops in the area.
Parakeets are easily identifiable as the most colourful bird pests. Their numbers have increased significantly in the past few years, particularly across London and the South-East, but unfortunately they have a tendency to nest in houses and eat food grown in gardens. As they are protected by the Wildlife and Countryside Act, they have to be dealt with non-fatally.
What do they do?
While some birds have been known to physically attack humans, this is a very rare occurrence made more likely by the presence of food in the area. However, they can damage property with their nesting and roosting habits, in addition to spreading diseases such as E.coli and salmonella. Additionally, if they target certain gardens they can eat fruit and vegetables, and herons can even take fish straight out of ponds. It’s therefore important to discourage birds from gathering in one spot.
What time of year?
Birds nest throughout the year – the species that are most likely to set up home in your property are starlings and house sparrows, which nest as follows:
Starlings build a nest and lay eggs in it around mid-April
The breeding and nesting season for house sparrows runs from April to August
Methods of bird control
What do they do?
Although birds can cause problems for residential properties, commercial properties can also come under siege. Pigeons and seagulls in particular are notorious for nesting in large groups, causing hygiene and disruption problems and giving building owners and managers more headaches than usual. There are various pieces of equipment, detailed below, that can help restore order to any commercial building that birds have taken a liking to.