Say good-bye to bird pest problems

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Courtesy of Bird-B-Gone, Inc.

Before we say good-bye to bird pests, we should probably say hello to the problems they create. For example, birds can quickly become pests when they eat your fruit, drill holes in your birch trees or eat the fish in your pond. When starlings, grackles, blackbirds and crows roost by the hundreds in trees, they create a serious problem--their droppings can carry any of 60 diseases. Moreover, bird pests can create quite a mess when they nest in your hanging baskets, under patio umbrellas or anywhere on your boat. House sparrows and starlings will often roost in gutters, clothes driers or kitchen fan vents. Barn swallows like to nest above door entryways. Wrens take easily to infrequently used buckets and other abandoned containers. House finches love to nest in hanging baskets and other elevated plants. Doves take naturally to window sills. And mockingbirds like to settle in shrubs next to doors and entryways.

If you allow your household pets to roam at night, you'll have to control the hawks and owls that may attack them. Ducks, geese, swans and cranes can be a nuisance near rivers, ponds and lakes, since they like to feed on crops, grass and other vegetation. During their summer molt, birds unable to fly can add to your woes by trampling plants and leaving a mess in droppings.

Say Hello to the New Breed of Bird Pest Deterrents

Thanks to modern science and the application of a little ornithological psychology, there are some pretty effective bird pest deterrents out there. Deterrents you can use to discourage a wide range of birds from landing, nesting and roosting on your property. Some use sights or sounds to scare birds away, others simply prevent birds from landing. All are harmless to birds, pets and animals. And each is easy to install and maintain.

If you're on a budget and you need a quick simple way to discourage pest birds from landing on your property, you could try any number of visual distraction devices currently on the market. These reflective foils, tape banners and balloons frighten pest birds by waving and crackling in the breeze. The best balloons have large predator eyes that add to the fright factor. And if you have a pool or pond, you can fill the balloon partly with water and let it skim the surface to scare away birds.

Combining advanced sensing technology with common sense is the Scarecrow. This bird pest deterrent uses a motion-activated sprinkler that blasts pest birds with water the second it senses a bird within its active radius. Scarecrows are the ideal solution for gardens, backyards, pools/spas and other outdoor areas.

Next up is the surprisingly simple and very effective Bird Spike. The menacing looking spikes present pest birds with a real problem--they can't land on or near them. The spikes are blunted and harmless to birds, pets and people. Choose the durable stainless steel or the unbreakable polycarbonate spikes. Crush proof spikes are best. As are U.V.-protected spikes with a polycarbonate base. Some spikes even come with a non-reflective metal finish. Different colored spikes are also available, so they'll blend in aesthetically with their surroundings. For big pest birds--like seagulls, cormorants, turkey vultures and raptors--opt for the 7-inch Mega Spike. To keep seagulls, crows, and pigeons from nesting in your gutters, go with the Gutter Spike.

Another popular device to keep bird pests away is the Bird Spider. Its spider-like arms flagellating in the breeze keep birds from landing. These simple devices are great for restaurants that have outdoor seating. They can also keep bird pests from landing on awnings, boat covers, and flat patio roofs.

Many architects know about this next bird pest deterrent. Called the Bird Slope, these angled PVC panels are so slippery, birds slip off as they try again and again to land. Perfect for keeping bird pests off eaves, ledges, beams and other similar niches.

Know how you hate to step in gum on the sidewalk? Well, birds don't like getting their little footsies stuck in Bird Gel. You easily apply this goop using a standard caulking gun and when it skins over, it leaves a sticky surface birds hate. Ideal for use on ledges, conduit, pipes, I-beams and parapet walls. The stuff lasts for about six months before you need to reapply it to the surface you want birds to stay away from.

Birds don't much care for this next bird pest deterrent--Bird Foggers/Misters. These spray an irritating mist of methyl anthranilate--basically a grape extract that won't hurt birds or people. Some fog/mist systems have multiple nozzles and timing controls so you can control the direction and time of each chemical application. These deterrents are ideal for use in vineyards, orchards and other large areas--indoor or out.

Growers and vintners also like--Bird Netting. It comes in different mesh sizes to deter pigeons, sparrows, starlings and seagulls. Depending on your application, you can get flame resistant, U.V. stabilized, and rot- and water-proof netting. For large netting installations, it's best to use a professional company to ensure the netting is installed properly.

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