What they are, why you need them
By Alex A. Kecskes
Birds love to perch in covered areas, and once they’ve targeted your property as “home,” they’ll come back time and again to create quite a mess. It’s a problem that goes beyond appearance. The damage pest birds and bird droppings cause can cost you big money. The high concentration of uric acid found in bird waste can discolor paint, stain wood and eventually erode metal. There’s also the health risk of bacteria and parasites that live and grow in bird droppings. These can carry and transmit any of over 60 known diseases. All the more reason to birdproof your home or business. Taking steps to rid your property of birds is an investment that will save you time, money and lot of aggravation.
There are a number of humane bird-deterrent products that can keep pest birds off your property. They require no maintenance and are easy to install. Bird deterrent spikes are ideal for pigeons and other large birds. Some have spikes made of strong, rigid unbreakable polycarbonate. Others have flexible stainless steel spikes. Bird deterrent spiders are particularly useful for light fixtures, and patio covers. The spider arms move with the breeze, keeping birds from landing. They are sturdy and stable, come in a variety of sizes, are easy to install and maintenance free. The products won’t harm birds, large or small.
Another effective deterrent is bird netting. Ideal for courtyards, canopies, signs, warehouses, airplane hangars and rooftops, bird deterrent netting can keep away all species of pest birds. Bird-B-Gone’s heavy-duty bird net 2000 is most often prescribed by architects. Its polyethylene fabric is U.V. stabilized, flame resistant and rot and waterproof. The stable, non-conductive webbing comes in 3/4", 1-1/8" and 2" mesh sizes to deter sparrows, starlings, pigeons, seagulls and larger birds.
To discourage pest birds from landing and nesting, there is a product known as bird slope. These angled slippery-slope panels are easy to install and ideal for ledges, eaves, beams and other 90-degree areas where pest birds tend to nest & roost.
There are also electric-track bird deterrents available. Ideal for deterring all bird species, these can be easily mounted on ledges, signs, rooftops, and flat or curved surfaces. The mild electric shock won’t harm birds, yet it discourages birds from landing and alters a bird’s habits to nest or feed. The systems are low-profile and almost invisible. Be sure to get a flow-through design to prevent water from damming up on rooftops and other surfaces. Bird-B-Gone’s Bird Jolt FlatTrack system uses copper knitted wire mesh, resistant to corrosion and highly resistant to alkali and acidic environments. The knitted design features a single strand of higher gauge wire and a tube-within-a-tube design for greater conductivity, strength and reliability.
Birds do react to bright things that move, sway in the wind, or resemble eyes. These visual bird deterrents can discourage birds from landing on trees, overhangs, gazebos, patios, vineyards, house eaves, pool areas, boats and other areas. Among the most basic and affordable visual deterrent products is the iridescent reflective foil or flash tape. The strips drive bird pests away by creating an “Optical Distraction Zone.” Inflatable balloons are another low cost visual bird deterrent scare device. They confuse birds with life like reflective predator eyes and markings. Bird repellers or scare-eye diverters are easy to hang in problem areas. Ideally, you should opt for bird repellers that have iridescent foil eyes to scare pests by day and glow-in-the-dark backsides to keep them away at night. Another type of economical bird discourager is the bird gel, which creates a sticky surface that birds hate. Gels are ideal for ledges, I-beams, parapet walls, conduit, pipes, and flat or curved surfaces.
Finally, there are audio bird deterrents, devices that play recorded predator and distress calls to scare away birds. These devices are ideal for enclosed areas like parking garages, sheds, and overhangs—places where sparrows, starlings, pigeons, seagulls and larger pest birds congregate and do the most damage. The devices emit predator and bird distress calls to scare pest birds away. Combined with other permanent bird control devices, audio devices are the perfect bird chaser for vineyards, orchards and other open areas.