There are many types of bird that are considered to the close companions of the human species. People take great pleasure in observing, feeding and even domesticating our avian friends. However, when certain types of birds gather around buildings, they can become a big problem.
For starters, their droppings are not only unattractive, but can also harbor bacteria or damage roofs. Their nests can also block air vents or even pose a fire hazard. A professional pest control service can provide products that will discourage birds from congregating where they’re not wanted. Or, if necessary, they can be trapped and relocated to a more suitable area.
Health Canada, Canadian wildlife, National Pest Management, and Canadian Pest Management regulate the control of Edmonton’s feral rock pigeon. Pest management will evaluate the best approach on a site-by-site basis. The pigeon control program selected is chosen by the least impact to environment, non-target species, and public interest. There must be a balance between the harm caused by feces and insects excreted by feral pigeons, structural damage and nuisance.
One of the more typical problems is with pigeons roosting or nesting on building ledges, apartment balconies, rafters, roofs, etc. This can be prevented by simply blocking access to these areas or by making them inhospitable.
The following is a list of suggestions from the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies for building owners, municipalities and homeowners:
- Block access to interior roosting and nesting sites within eaves, steeples, vents, rafters and lofts by using wood, metal, 1/4-inch (0.6cm) rust-proofed wire mesh or plastic or nylon netting.
- Netting can be used to keep birds from roosting or nesting in many different areas. One-inch mesh polypropylene UV-stabilized netting is the best as it is resistant to corrosion, rusting or rotting. However, where netting is used, it should be checked regularly to ensure birds are not caught in the mesh.
- Access to ornamental architecture can be prevented with netting. To make it less visible, the mesh can be spray painted to match the colour of the building.
- To discourage roosting, alter the angle of ledges to 45° or more. This can be done using sheet metal, wood, styrofoam blocks, stone or other materials fastened to the ledges to achieve the desired angle.
- To keep birds off cables, narrow ledges and other similar areas, install two or three tightly stretched parallel strands of 16- to 18-gauge steel wire at varying heights just above the surface.
- Garbage should be stored indoors or in tight fitting containers to prevent birds or other animals from gaining access to it.
- Apartment dwellers may consider installing fine netting across the front of the balcony if pigeons cannot be convinced to move elsewhere.
Poisons and Other Undesirable Methods
It is important to note that it is illegal under the Criminal Code to place poison where it can be accessed by domestic animals. Poisons generally cause a lingering, inhumane death with great suffering and, therefore, should not be used at all. Effects of poison on pigeons include general disorientation, trembling, vomiting, severe convulsions, internal hemorrhaging, acute respiratory distress and inability to fly, walk or stand. Since pigeons are part of the natural food chain, poisoning them frequently results in poisoning of prey species such as cats, foxes, owls, hawks, and peregrine falcons (which are endangered). Another serious concern is that poisons are hazardous to the environment.
The most effective approach to pigeon control problems is generally a mixture of reducing food availability and eliminating or reducing access to nesting and roosting sites. Since a major source of food in urban areas is from people feeding birds, the first step is to inform and educate the public regarding the concerns about pigeon overpopulation and how they can help. Remember, the goal should be to reduce the number of pigeons and prevent excessive concentrations of birds, rather than to eliminate them.
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Braden Equities Inc. has been successfully managing apartment buildings in Edmonton since the 1970s. A lot has changed since then, but our commitment to the residents living in each building we manage has not. Contact us today.