Pest Birds at Home: What Are They and How to Get Rid of Them?
Pest birds damage property with their droppings and nesting habits.
They also displace native bird species, and encourage other pests such as rats, cockroaches, flies, and lice. They also spread dangerous diseases and harbour many toxic bacteria.
But, which bird pests can you find in Australia?
And how can you stop these birds from damaging your property, spreading disease, and causing a nuisance?
Keep reading to find out!
Which Birds Are Pests?
Pigeons, mynas, starlings, and sparrows are the four main types of bird pests in Australia:
Pigeons are by far the most common bird pest in all areas of human habitation throughout Australia and the world. Although, since pigeons are dependent on humans to a great extent, you’re more likely to find them in cities.
How to Identify Them: Pigeons are much larger than the other birds on this list, measuring around 300 to 350 mm in length. They tend to have plump bodies, short legs, and a smooth plumage featuring various shades of grey.
Indian or Common Myna
This South Asian bird first came to Australia in the 1860s. Mynas are now a common pest around Sydney and some country areas of Melbourne, Queensland, Tasmania, Adelaide, and NSW.
How to Identify Them: These known scavengers are around 240 mm in length. They have a yellow beak and legs, and brown feathers with a slight green sheen on the head and cinnamon touches on the body.
First introduced in 1861, the European starling used to be a protected species. Since then, it’s become commonplace in cities, towns, and open country areas throughout Victoria, NSW, Tasmania, South Australia, and some of Queensland.
How to Identify Them: Adult starlings measure up to 215 mm in length and have black feathers with hints of purple, green, and blue iridescence. For most of the year, a sparrow’s beak is dull in colour but turns bright yellow during mating season.
Sparrows are now common in both urban and countryside areas of Eastern Australia after their introduction in 1862.
How to Identify Them: Sparrows only measure up to 160 mm long at most, with both sexes featuring dark beaks, brown legs, feet, and eyes. Male sparrows have a darker underbelly than female sparrows, as well as two white streaks on their wings and a grey tale.
Main Problems Caused by These Pest Birds
There are many reasons to consider certain birds as pests. But, the two main concerns are the damage they cause and the health and safety risks they pose:
Damage and Defacement
Bird droppings deface building surfaces, ledges, windows, footpaths, and roofs.
Since bird droppings don’t dissolve easily in water, removing them can be difficult and time-consuming.
Droppings can even cause rust and corrosion to vehicles, machinery, and buildings due to their uric acid content. And, a build-up of droppings in one place can block gutters and pipes, and shorten the life of roofs by causing leaks and further damage.
As well as leaving their droppings everywhere, pest birds love nesting anywhere they can. Due to their proximity to human life, this often means in and around homes. Many people, for example, need pest control for birds in loft installations, air conditioning units, solar panels, gutters, ledges, and other common nesting locations.
Also, those of you with a vegetable garden or fruit trees in your backyard may have extra problems to contend with if you’re overrun by non-insect pest birds. In particular, these pests target soft fruits, peas, and brassica vegetables, shedding seeds, tearing leaves, and destroying a lot more than they ever eat.
Health and Safety Threat
Bird droppings, feathers, nest debris, or dead birds can soon contaminate livestock feed, soil, and food supplies.
The nests and debris of pest birds can also disrupt and spread disease through ventilation systems, while an accumulation of droppings can make footpaths and fire escapes hazardous to human traffic.
And the threat that pest birds pose to health and safety doesn’t stop there either. Certain mites, ticks, and insects live on these birds or in their nests, including bed bugs, red poultry mites, pigeon ticks, and spider beetles, while their debris and droppings can attract rats, cockroaches, flies, and other pests.
How to Remove Pest Birds
The main bird pest control methods focused on removing birds from your property include bird trapping, bird proofing and bird baiting.
Bird trapping involves trapping birds in cages maintained with water and seed. Pest birds are then euthanised as per government regulations while pest control workers release any native birds.
Bird baiting involves feeding birds untreated grain to gain their trust. They are then fed grain treated with a narcotic substance to pacify them, making removal easier.
Bird proofing is blocking their access with an aluminium mesh or installing bird spikes or bird wire to prevent them from being able to roost in these areas.
Preventing Pest Birds
It’s never too early to start bird-proofing your home, especially if you live in an area plagued with pest birds. Or, if you’ve removed birds from your home, you’ll want to ensure that they don’t come back.
Pest bird prevention methods include spikes, wire, netting, shock tracking, and perimeter roof-proofing.
Bird pest control services can place spikes or bird wire anywhere outside your home, including ledges, roofs, and pipes. These stop birds from sitting on these surfaces by making access difficult or uncomfortable.
Polyethylene netting is ideal for stopping birds from disrupting pebbled paths and pergolas. And roof-proofing helps protect your roofs and gutters from birds, droppings, and even leaves.
But, the most effective bird pest control method is a shock tracking system. This conditions birds to start avoiding areas by giving them an electric shock. Although, this method is only suitable for areas inaccessible to humans.
Your Guide to Pest Birds
Whether you’re currently facing a pest bird problem or you’re looking to prevent one from occurring, this guide should make it clear which birds to look out for and how to stop them from setting up home on your property.
And remember, if the issue is too big for you to tackle alone, a quick search of ‘bird pest control near me’ will help you find local services you can rely on.
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