Bird Control: Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is the best way to present my particular bird problem for advice?
A: Using a photographic survey of the problem. Photo documentation is always the starting point to solving a bird problem. Take photos of the overall property and structure to begin with. Then progressively move in to close ups. Include dropping patterns on the ground, nesting sites, and photos of the actual birds and their eggs if possible. Any evidence related to bird activity is extremely helpful. Do not touch any of these items directly yourself. Be prepared to include the exact address of the problem so that technicians can use Google Earth to assess the property from all angles. The surrounding areas can relate to your problem as well. Tell us how long the problem has existed. Deterrent based solutions can then be offered after all of the information is assessed by our team of Bird Barrier Bird Control Specialists.
Q: Can I just call and have someone come do an estimate at my location?
A: Bird Barrier has a network of Certified Installers throughout the US. In major cities there are usually professional pest control companies who will be willing to come and provide an estimate to solve the problem, However, it is best to follow the guidelines listed for a photographic survey. Many times a ballpark price can be offered before coming out to the property, if a good set of photos and information relating to the bird issue is provided.
Q: Why are birds building a nest in the bird spikes I installed?
A: Probably because bird were already nesting before the spikes were installed. This is the most common mistake in bird control. Once birds have decided to nest on a structure this is what we call in the industry high pressure. High pressure occurs when birds have a vested interest in the benefits of that structure and already live there. Just placing spikes (which are mainly a landing deterrent only) allows birds to actually build a stronger nest using the solid spike structure. Another reason could relate to the species of bird. Spike should only be used for birds the size of pigeons or larger. Sparrows can come in and nest after pigeons have been deterred by spikes.
Q: Can I use something that is not visible? I don't like bird spikes.
A: Yes. Bird Barrier now offers a revolutionary new product called Optical Gel. These multi-sensory deterrent disks have been proven to actually work better than spikes in nesting situations and are usually not visible from the ground. You can replace out spikes with Optical Gel or use the disks to deter birds that has never been treated. There are also products like Bird Wire that is less visible than spike. Flex Track, an electrical shock deterrent for birds is long lasting and very low profile and very effective to deter nesting birds.
Q: Why not use Optical Gel instead of bird spikes?
A: Bird Flite spikes are long lasting and easy to install. Dura Spike is a stainless steel bird spike that can function for even many more years than any other spike in the industry. Optical Gel will last only 2 to 4 years and then need to be replaced. Optical Gel is a great solution where spikes might be used but there is already nesting or high pressure, making spikes ineffective.
Q: How can I keep pigeons from roosting on my neon sign?
A: There are two products that can help you here. First, Bird Coil can be fastened to signs with long straight ledges. If pigeons have nested, or you have individual letters to protect, you should install Bird-Flite. Bird-Flite's firm plastic base is easy to work with, and can be glued or screwed to the sign. It's also available in three different width configurations, depending on the width of the letters. It should be noted that neither of these products will protect your sign against sparrows, just pigeons and larger birds.
Q: Sparrows are nesting and roosting on beams, pipes and other hard to reach areas in our warehouse; how can we keep them out?
A: Keep your doors closed. If that is not possible, then you really have only two viable options: 1) install netting under the entire ceiling using StealthNet, making sure it firmly seals up against the four walls. This will prevent sparrows from flying up to their perches. The netting must be 3/4" mesh, otherwise the sparrows will fly through the net. 2) If your warehouse is very large and you cannot afford a program as outlined above, you can undertake a program of trapping, harassment and regular nest removal program. Sparrows are persistent birds, however, and most will simply try and try again, and you will end up contributing many man hours to this task, which may cost you more than a solid netting job in the first place.
Q: How can I get behind netting to access lights or equipment once it is installed?
A: Bird Barrier® sells three different access systems: 1) Zippers can be hog-ringed into the netting allowing panels to be removed, doors to be opened, or light bulbs to be changed. We sell high-grade marine grade zippers which can withstand years of sunlight, and remain very functional. A photographic description of this system can be found in StealthNet. 2) Bird Barrier® manufactures small "net clips" which are thin stainless steel clips, and can allow area access like the zippers. Net clips are much less visible than zippers, but require more busy work to operate. They are usually ideal for small access needs like light bulbs. 3) The last option is to install the perimeter cable with open hooks, which will actually enable you to remove the entire net system and then replace it. Contact our technical support staff for more information, or see the hardware section of StealthNet.
Q: What's the best way to keep pigeons off the upper ledge (parapet) of my building?
A: When you say parapet we assume it's unprotected (no shelter overhead), and thus not a "roost" or "nesting site" for pigeons. You can use Coil, Birdwire, Bird-Flite or Bird-Shock Flex-Track systems (these should be installed by a professional, visit 800-NO-BIRDS.com for more information) depending upon considerations such as visibility, cost, and ease of installation to keep unwanted pigeons from landing. For light to medium pressure we generally recommend the Coil or the Birdwire. Both products are relatively inexpensive, the Coil is much easier to install, but the Birdwire is less visible than the Coil (both products are literally impossible to detect from 75 feet or more). Both are stainless steel and will last for many years.
Q: How can I keep gulls from landing on my roof?
A: Gulls are one of the easiest birds to control because they are large, clumsy, and can only land on flat surfaces due to their flat, webbed feet. Because of these characteristics, they can be kept off you roof using the Daddi Long Legs, which protects large circles on a roof, or Grid-Wire, which is comprised of thin wires suspended in a pattern over the roof, usually from posts mounted on the perimiter of the roof. Products like the Bird-Wailer and Squawker have also been very effective, but they are expensive and can be noisy.
Q: How can I keep gulls from flying into an open are like a garbage dump or an open-air restaurant?
A: Gulls respond well to a concept known as Gridwire. This involves running thin wire in a grid pattern over the area. The wires should be no more than two feet apart from each other, sort of like a large-mesh net. Bird Barrier® sells all the components for Gridwire. If they are not described on this site yet, please call our offices and we'll mail you a catalog which shows how it's done.
Q: Starlings absolutely invade the front of our office building, leaving behind lots of nasty droppings. There are lots of ledges and window sills for them to land on. What can be done to deter them?
A: Starlings and other small black birds are very difficult to control with conventional ledge products, with the exception of Bird-Shock. The electrical pulse teaches the birds a lesson not to come back. A more complete solution is StealthNet to exclude flocks of starlings from landing on hundreds of buildings like yours. The netting is installed vertically down the face of the building (we call it "face" netting). It is secured by a strong perimeter cable, and will usually provide at least a ten-year solution. People often ask whether this means you would have netting run in front of your windows, and the answer is yes. But, the net is very thin, and when it's installed correctly (tight as a drum) it is almost impossible to detect. And, if you need access behind the net, zippers can be installed.
Q: Do scare tactics like scary eye balloons, and plastic owls, actually work?
A: That's a good question, and the answer is "sometimes." Scare devices can be effective for short periods of time, like around harvest time at a vineyard. But to just place a plastic owl on your roof and hope for a permanent solution to your problems is a real dream that will not come true. Birds soon realize that the plastic owl does not move or threaten them in any way, and so they move in and actually land on the owls themselves. Scare devices should only be used for short periods of time, and should be reinforced with other control techniques like noise, lights and other distractions. Our Screech Owl takes plastic owls to the next level, it's mounting base rotates, and every five minutes it screeches like a hawk or barks like a dog, and can be very effective against pigeons.
Q: I've heard of people spreading sticky gels on ledges. Is this a good way to keep pigeons from making a mess on my building?
A: Sticky gels have been a part of the bird control industry for about twenty years. While they have been somewhat effective at keeping birds from landing on ledges, they have been known to cause bigger problems than they solved. First and foremost, these gels are very sticky and are hard to remove from buildings (especially when applied to a porous surface like stone or concrete). The gels generally turn black over time thanks to dust, pollution and other airborne matter, making a real mess. Gels also have a bad habit of dripping off the ledge when it gets real hot. Additionally they can entrap small birds (causing them to die slow, painful deaths), and cause all sorts of problems for workers or painters who come across gel-laden ledges. And finally, gels are generally not guaranteed for more than two years so they are, at best, a short term solution. Bird Barrier® has the option to sell a gel, but believes the a physical metal (long lasting) barrier can be installed in the same situation.
Q: I've seen ads for ultrasonic noise and bird distress call devices, do these work?
A: Like the question above regarding plastic owls and other scare devices, these products can work for a short period of time, but hardly ever solve the large-scale problems they are advertised for. They can be somewhat effective in some situations, but largely we believe they are not worth the investment. We've seen pigeons nesting right next to such devices. If you want to give them a try, please make sure you buy from a reputable company that offers a money-back guarantee if you are not completely satisfied.
Q: Is trapping a good way to get rid of birds that are doing their business on my building?
A: Trapping is definitely an effective way to remove specific birds that are causing you problems, and Bird Barrier® offers a line of traps. But, this should not be considered a long-term solution. If birds are trapped, they literally have to be euthenized, otherwise they will return (remember, pigeons are descendants of homing pigeons). If birds are trapped and euthenized, other birds will simply move in because the situations that attracted your old birds still remain. Bird Barrier® only recommends trapping as a way to remove committed birds from an area before permanent exclusion products (like the kind we sell) are installed. You may save more money in the long run by installing permanent products than paying a company to trap your pest birds on a monthly basis.
Q: How can we keep birds out of a large commercial roof-top air conditioning area on our office building?
A: There's really only one way, total exclusion using netting. Our StealthNet can be installed over any a.c. system to permanently exclude birds from the area. If the system in installed in a recessed area, the netting can simply be installed over the pit. If the system is raised above the roof, then support cables can be stretched between poles (installed for this purpose), which support a structure made of net. And remember (from question asked above), you can get into these areas by installing zippers or net clips into the netting.
Q: How can I keep black birds out of trees? They seem to come every year in the fall and make a horrible mess on the benches and ground under the trees.
A: Trees are very hard to protect from birds that migrate, or "attack" at certain times of the year. The only 100 percent solution is netting. StealthNet can be installed over a tree and removed after the threat has gone, and re-used for years to come, assuming the tree is trimmed to nearly the same size every year. In agrucultural settings, there has been tremendous success with the Helikite, a helium balloon/nylon kite combo that hovers above a trouble area and mimicks a large bird of prey. These have been known to eliminate birds from up to 26 acres per kite.
Q: I've got a large airplane hangar with lots of beams and pipes which seem to attract lots of pigeons. They're making a mess on our customer's airplanes, and that's causing all sorts of health problems and damaging the paint on the planes. I hung one of those scary eyes balloons from one of the beams and it made no difference. What can we do?
A: You can either spend lots of money and install ledge products (like Bird Barrier's Bird-Flite on every ledge where the birds perch, or you can install StealthNet under the entire ceiling, excluding birds from flying up to their old familiar perches. Several companies actually specialize in large commercial netting applications like yours, so please contact us and we'll get you hooked up with reputable companies that can help you.
Q: Pigeons land on the peaks of our roof and make a horrible mess on the ridge line. What can we do? Our roof is not very steep, so I'm worried that if we spend money protecting the ridge that they might just move on to other parts of the roof.
A: Your concern is valid. Very often birds will move over a little bit and still be on the building. You might want to consider altering other conditions that the birds find attractive. Are they nesting elsewhere on your house? Are you feeding them? If you cannot make the area inhospitable by changing conditions you really have two other hopes: 1) Install a Screech Owl at a high point on your roof. This plastic owl rotates on a base, and actually screeches like a hawk, and barks like a dog (not too loud, don't worry), every five minutes. These have been very effective against pigeons. 2) You can have Bird-Shock Flex-Track installed (by a professional, visit 800-NO-BIRDS.com for more information) on the peak. This will shock the birds that land on it, and will give you the results you're seeking. Bird-Shock can be tricky to install, and expensive as compared to the Screech Owl.
Q: How can I keep birds from stealing fish from our ponds? The pond are large, about 100 by 500 feet, so I don't believe they can be netted off. Please help!
A: Actually, they can be netted. StealthNet is available in very large sizes, and will last for a very long time out in the elements (we guarantee it for five years). The real trick is building a strong, affordable cable support system. It all starts with strong posts at regular intervals on either side of the pond, and then strong cables suspended between them. Lastly, the netting is installed, and can be installed in such a way as they can be opened to allow access. This would be considered a very sophisticated job, so please give us a call and we'll help you any way we can.
Q: I've seen sparrows, or some small bird, flying into cracks in our building. Should I be worried, and what can I do about it?
A: You probably have a family of sparrows living somewhere in your building, probably above a false ceiling. Yes, you should be concerned; the birds need to be removed, and the cracks where they are entering must be repaired. You should contact your contractor as this is more of a building repair job than a bird control job.
Q: How can I keep gulls from landing on large pipes and tops of tanks at a power plant near the ocean?
A: The Daddi Long Legs is a very unique product which will stop gulls from landing on most flat surfaces.
Q: Every spring swallows build mud nests on our house under the eaves. They leave a mess on the walls and on the ground. What can we do?
A: First of all, those cute little swallows are protected; it is illegal to remove their nest once they are able to enter it and stay. As you have noticed, they like to nest in 90 degree angles, usually where a wall meets an overhang or ceiling. After the birds leave in the fall you need to remove the nests and install StealthNet in a 45 degree angle to eliminate the 90 degree angle they love so much. You must use the smallest mesh (3/4") and make sure that you seal off every entry point. Please be sure you do it right after they leave, and not as they are attempting to reclaim their home next spring. If the net is in place when they first arrive they will get the message that they should move on. But, if they are allowed to start rebuilding before you hose down their nest and install netting, they will be more inclined to fight like hell to stay, possibly on a vertical 90 degree angle, which is rare but does happen.