Bird control can be difficult and dangerous to do because of the nature of the job. To evade predators and protect themselves from the elements, birds tend to nest in high, secluded areas that are sometimes difficult to access. Since birds are using these nests to raise their young, you are dealing with both adult and baby birds. These type of infestations are not just a nuisance. Birds also bring insects and could potentially carry and transmit disease, making this a significant, more serious issue. Proper education on birds and safety is necessary to fully protect yourself and your customer.

Nesting, roosting and feeding are the primary reasons that a bird will choose a specific structure. The most common parts of a structure for a bird to use as a nesting area are ledges, signage and exposed beams.

Because specific species of birds may be protected, consult your local conservation agency before completing any bird removal work. While most birds do not require a permit to remove, an endangered bird may have specific regulations by which you must abide.

After the problem has been identified, you must figure out the best way to safely remove the birds without harming them. To do this, watch the habits of the birds as they fly in and out of the area, paying attention to adjoining areas. This can help map out their patterns and identify other areas that may have issues.

Once you have recognized the specific area that needs to be treated, there are several questions you need to ask yourself:

  • What equipment do I need to access the treatment area?
  • What are the safety issues on this job?
  • Will a harness, safety line or safety zone be needed?

No matter what equipment you use, proper preparation is needed. Certain equipment requires additional training or special certification. When using large equipment like a lift, the surrounding area needs to be examined to determine if they can take the additional weight. Grassy areas are easily destroyed by heavy lifts and residential concrete can often be too thin to support a bucket lift. Power lines also can cause problems for lifts and ladders. Proper safety zones in and around work areas may be needed to prevent falling tools or material causing injury to people near the area. By using safety cones and/or caution tape to create a designated work area, many of these problems can be avoided. Make sure your people are protected with the proper PPE, including gloves, respirators with proper filters, eye protection, etc.

Moving the birds.

Once the job is set up, birds in the area need to be removed. Remove birds in a humane manner consistent with local and state laws. After they are removed, nesting areas must be cleaned, sanitized and may need to be treated for bird parasites.

The next step may be to identify and choose the best way to prevent this infestation from happening again. Identify the proper exclusion methods or deterrents — there are several options available, including but not limited to, bird spikes, electric shock tracks and netting. Selecting the proper exclusion method requires understanding the birds in the area as well as the construction of the building.

Birds that are not only roosting, but also nesting and breeding, can cause more issues because of their instinctive need to return to where they were born. Consider what options you have to alter the behavior of the birds. The best exclusion will make the bird want to choose an area other than the customer’s building to nest, roost or feed.

Remember, your resources are not limited to equipment. You may need to consult the person responsible for the upkeep of the building as well as bird control product manufacturers to lay out the best plan. You can take pictures of the problem areas and review them with the manufacturer to come up with the best solution. Bird exclusion, depending on the method, can be expensive; however, cheaper alternatives may not be the best option to solve the problem. You can achieve the best results by properly informing your client of the options and explaining your recommendations.

Creating a proposal for bird management can be challenging. The process takes time and an understanding of bird behavior and biology. Due to the variety of products available and differences between every bird management job, there are many things to consider. Bird jobs come in all sizes, from a single bird trapped in a dryer vent to complete bird management of a large food plant.

Bird management is important and necessary to business owners for several reasons. These include:

  • Company image
  • Inventory damage
  • Work stoppage
  • Safety problems
  • Clogged drains
  • Property and equipment damage
  • Cost of clean-up/ongoing maintenance
  • Health code violations

Do your homework and properly evaluate the situation. Make the best, informed product selection based on the areas and bird behavior. While it may take one product or several products to effectively manage the bird problem, it is extremely important to address all of the issues before the job has begun. By doing this, you can safely correct the problem and protect yourself and the customer.

The author is owner of Rottler Pest Control, St. Louis, Gary Rottler.

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