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Top Ten Ways to Deter Pest Birds

If birds have been dive-bombing your house, boat or building, what they leave behind isn’t pretty or sanitary. If they’ve been nesting near your solar panels or air conditioning units, you no doubt have some expensive repair receipts to show for their years of accumulated “homesteading.” If they’ve left little “appetizers” on your outdoor restaurant tables, you know how much that has affected business. And if you’re a pilot, you really don’t want to compete for runway space with a flock of birds headed straight for your engines.

Pest birds can be a problem. And there are all sorts of ways to deter pest birds. Some not so kind. Some only marginally effective. And some, well, outlawed in most states.

So what to do? Fortunately, there are some pretty smart people who have combined science and bird psychology to solve your problem. And the solutions they have come up with are not only effective but humane and surprisingly affordable. Without further fanfare, here are the top ten ways (products and systems) the experts have devised to deter pest birds:

1. Reflective Foil/Flash Tape and Balloons. . These highly visible banners wave and crinkle in the wind to intimidate pest birds, making them believe that an ominous creature has laid claim to the area and will attack them if they try to land. They are inexpensive and mount easily on boat masts, poles, patios and trees. A cousin to the flash tape, the blow-up balloon, works just as effectively. These usually come with big predator eyes that scare birds. Whether you use balloons or flash tape, remember to change them around every so often so birds don’t get used to them and no longer regard them as a threat.

2. Bird Spiders. Ideal for parking-lot lights,  signs, streetlights, rooftops, AC units and other areas, spiders have thin, flagellating stainless steel arms that move with the breeze. You can get them in various sizes–usually 2’, 4’ and 8’ diameters to cover large areas and deal with various bird types. Spiders are easy to install and have no moving parts to wear out or maintain. They are effective against pigeons, seagulls, and larger birds. Better spiders have a U.V.-protected polycarbonate base.

3.Bird Spikes. Recommended by architects, contractors and government agencies, these spiked strips have proven highly effective in deterring birds from peaking on roofs, window ledges, I-beams parapet walls, awnings, canopies, signs and gutters. They can be ordered with rigid U.V.-resistant unbreakable polycarbonate spikes or high strength, durable stainless steel spikes. The spikes look intimidating, but they’re harmless to birds, installers and maintenance crews. They typically come in 3”, 5” and 8” widths and their non-reflective metal finish makes them practically invisible when installed. One manufacturer offers no-gap spikes that are easily installed on curved surfaces.

4.Bird Slopes. These ingenious devices deter pest birds by denying them the ability to land. The angled PVC panels are slippery to birds’ feet, so they just flail about trying, but never succeeding, in getting a grip. After a few tries, they give up and move on.  Known as an anti-perching, anti-roosting, pest bird deterrent slopes are quite effective against all types of birds, including swallows, starlings, pigeons, seagulls. Ideal for ledges, eaves, beams and other 90-degree areas where pest birds often nest and roost. You can install the panels on practically any surface using glue or screws. They even come in several colors, so they won’t stand out, but blend in with your building’s overall color scheme. Better panels are made of U.V. protected PVC for lasting sun and weather resistance.

5. Bird Netting. Pretty simple concept. Deter pest birds with a physical barrier. Netting can usually be ordered in 3/4″, 1-1/8″ and 2″ mesh sizes to deter a wide range of birds and bird sizes. Ideal for fruit trees, crops, and vineyards, you can also get heavy duty netting to keep pest birds out of air hangars, garages, factories, warehouses, eaves, and canopies. The best netting is U.V. stabilized, flame resistant and rot and waterproof. Opt for ISO 1806 protocol mesh tested netting. And choose non-conductive netting in and around any electrical areas.

6. Bird Gel. Economical and highly effective in keeping pest birds off horizontal surfaces, gels work because birds just can’t stand to land on this stuff when it skins over. It’s really sticky and tacky, and if they try to land, they can’t wait to get off.  It’s easy to apply with a caulking gun and the chemical is non-toxic to people and birds. Ideal for pipes, conduit, ledges, I-beams, and parapet walls, the best gels are invisible when they dry and effective through wide temperature extremes–from 15F to 200F. One application lasts up to six months outdoors.

7. Electric-Tracks. These devices deter birds with a ZAP! Birds set foot on these tracks and they get a harmless jolt of juice that convinces them to move on. The shock is something akin to the irritating jolt one gets touching a doorknob after walking on the carpet. Tracks are easily installed on flat or curved surfaces. The best have a flow-thru design to prevent water from collecting on rooftops.
8. Misters. These systems rely on a bird’s aversion to certain natural chemicals.  They release a super fine mist of methyl anthranilate into the air. This chemical is a harmless grape extract that naturally occurs in concord grapes. Misting systems have been especially effective in discouraging pest birds from landing and roosting in large areas. Birds fly through the mist and they won’t come back for a second dose. The systems can be ordered with a wide range of nozzles and timers to deter pigeons, starlings, sparrows, crows, geese and blackbirds.
9. Sonic Repellers. Like humans, birds fear hearing distress and predator calls. Sonic systems deter birds by exploiting these fears. They emit distress and predator calls of many common birds–one system produces calls for 22 types of birds. The sounds are repeated every few minutes to alert birds that there’s danger in the area. The systems provide a low cost, long-term solution for deterring pigeons, crows, starlings, swallows, gulls, woodpeckers, sparrows, grackles, cormorants and many other birds.
10. Solar Powered Bird Repellers. These whip around a set of helicopter-like blades to deter seagulls, pigeons, and crows from landing. Ideal for signs, streetlights, balconies, boats, AC units, chimney caps, swim platforms and skylights. Some repellers have adjustable “arms” that cover up to 5 feet in diameter and turn continuously at 30 RPM. Better systems are able to store sunlight energy to keep them turning throughout the night.
These highly visible banners wave and crinkle in the wind to intimidate pest birds, making them believe that an ominous creature has laid claim to the area and will attack them if they try to land. They are inexpensive and mount easily on boat masts, poles, patios and trees. A cousin to the flash tape, the blow-up balloon, works just as effectively. These usually come with big predator eyes that scare birds. Whether you use balloons or flash tape, remember to change them around every so often so birds don’t get used to them and no longer regard them as a threat.

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