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When it comes to species of pest birds in the UK most people think immediately of seagulls and pigeons but Collared Doves are also known as a pest bird.

Why is the Collared Dove a pest?

Despite only arriving in the UK in the 1950s, the Collared Dove – also known as the Eurasian Collared Dove – has swiftly made its presence felt with there now being nearly one million pairs in the country.

This comprehensive establishment has seen collared doves labelled as an invasive species having originated in Asia and now being prolific in many countries including the USA.

Why are Collared Doves a problem?

The main reason Collared Doves are seen as a pest species is that they carry diseaseTrichomonas gallinae and Pigeon Paramyxovirus.

These can be passed onto other species with Trichomonas gallinae causing birds respiratory problems that can lead to death in indigenous birds.

The problem of the spread of disease is a serious concern for farmers, whose livestock can be put a risk through the risk of chickens becoming infected.

An agricultural bird pest

In addition collared doves are attracted to seeds and grains and will descend on farms and agricultural properties in large numbers to eat these. As well as decimating the drop, this is a serious concern regarding the spread of disease – particularly through droppings getting onto the crops.

For householders the constant monotonous cooing of the collared dove is seen as irritating making it a nuisance bird, particularly due to its tendency to gather in numbers.

If an agricultural property or farm is experiencing issues with collared doves there are a number of options that can be implemented to help keep the birds away.

Spikes can deter them from landing and roosting, while netting makes a good choice to keep birds out of a certain area.

Likewise for people finding Collared Doves a problem at home there are a number of solutions that can be put in place to act as a deterrent.

If you are experiencing a problem with Collared Doves – or any other pest bird species – contact Total Bird Control for a solution that will work for you.

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A major problem with pest birds is that, put bluntly, they keep people away. When it’s your business and your town that is a real problem.

Join forces to stop seagulls hitting visitor footfall

While pigeons are as a general rule – although not always – shy of humans their mess can be a major deterrent to visitors looking for a spot to enjoy a drink outside.

Seagulls on the other hand can be extremely aggressive, so much so that that can be a blight across an entire town.

Seaside towns are obviously the natural habitat of these birds and it is some of these coastal areas that have reported real problems with the seagull population.

Tourists feeding aggressive seagull behaviour

Preying on visitors for easy food, seagulls are becoming emboldened by the rich pickings of discarded food and, even worse, tourists feeding them.

One tourist’s choice to throw food to the seagulls is another tourist’s decision not to eat at a seafront cafe due to it being plagued by brazen gulls.

To protect the livelihood of the cafes, restaurants and pubs – and to ensure the continued footfall of holiday makers and day trippers – local authorities and community groups need to take action to protect the area as a whole.

While gulls are part and parcel of coastal life, they do not need to aggressively scare customers away from cafes.

Action to support the community

A decision by the council or local chamber of trade to tackle the problem by implementing strategic deterrents is all that is needed to help businesses and seagulls co-exist more peacefully.

Spikes and netting can be added to lampposts, landmarks and roofs to deter the gulls from preying on unsuspecting tourists – and making visitors consider choosing an alternative destination in future.

While one business acting alone may be able to protect their customers, traders need to consider the appeal of the town as a whole. A combined effort will really help to protect a specific area from aggressive seagulls targeting diners.

Whether you are a local authority looking for a solution to a pest bird problem or a chamber of trade being asked to take action, Total Bird Control has the expertise and solutions to help.

If you are a business owner in despair at the effect seagulls are having on your trade consider teaming up with other local traders to tackle the problem together.

Contact Total Bird Control to discuss the best solution to your bird pest problem.

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When a pest is identified it is natural that the first concern is whether the animal concerned poses a risk to human health.

Pest control concerns: Do pigeons cause asthma?Due to the nature of pest species many animals are a health concern owing to their capacity to spread germs and disease as a result of the areas they inhabit.

But what about the animals themselves? Where pigeons are concerned there is certainly the possibility of there being a risk to health.

Alarmingly pigeons can be the cause of breathing difficulties through people nearby inhaling dust from droppings.

As well as being an unpleasant idea it is also an unpleasant experience for those who happen to be unfortunate enough to be affected.

What is the link between pigeons and breathing difficulties?

The main cause of breathing difficulties relating to pigeon droppings is a disease known as Bird Fancier’s Lung.

It mainly affects people who have close contact with the birds either through their work or hobby.

The disease is a form of hypersensitivity pneumonitis, which causes coughing, shortness of breath and sometimes a fever. The symptoms can appear to be very similar to asthma.

Once found to be suffering from Bird Fancier’s Lung a person needs to avoid all exposure to pigeons and anything related that may trigger the condition. This should usually help the symptoms to go – along with steroid treatment.

It can, however, become very serious if left to build up over a number of years and will scar the lungs causing fibrosis.

Can pigeons affect asthma?

While Bird Fancier’s Lung is the main respiratory concern connected to pigeons, birds are known to affect asthma.

Like other animals that trigger allergic asthma, pigeons can do so through their feathers and dander.

If the person affected by the allergic reaction suffers from asthma there is every chance that exposure to birds could affect it.

While many people do choose to keep pigeons as a hobby many more people come into close quarters with pigeons as a result of a pest infestation.

If pest pigeons have chosen to roost at your property or place of work them action is needed to make sure there is no risk to human health.

For help controlling a pigeon pest problem get in touch with Total Bird Control.

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Having good security in place is an essential part of protecting a business but pest birds can be a serious problem for external technology.

Keep outdoor technology safe from pest birds

Unfortunately, the areas surrounding a building that require extra security through the installation of CCTV are all too often a haven for roosting birds such as pigeons.

It comes as no surprise that security technology and birds are not an ideal mix. Pest birds will not only potentially block images but will also cause a mess and possibly damage equipment with faeces.

It’s not only security equipment that can fall foul of pest birds, the performance of outdoor information screens, public entertainment systems and broadcast equipment can all be affected by pigeons that make the area their home.

Protecting CCTV equipment from pest birds

As with security itself, when it comes to protecting outdoor technology from birds prevention is better than cure.

Adding a bird deterrent to new CCTV equipment is a good way to protect security technology from the off.

Spikes can be added to the top of equipment and surrounding areas to deter pigeons from sitting on top of CCTV or outdoor television screens. This will make the equipment itself inhospitable to birds, helping to protect it from any bird mess.

Installing bird deterrents in the surrounding area will help to keep the area in general free from birds, allowing security equipment to work properly and deliver clear images that are not blocked and disturbed by birds swooping in and out of the immediate area.

Protect your investment

When investing thousands of pounds in external technology to enhance visitor experiences or to keep premises secure, it is advisable to protect that equipment – particularly in an area that has already experienced problems with pest birds.

Onscreen advice that has been introduced to smooth the arrival of visitors for example will present entirely the wrong welcome message if the screen is covered in bird droppings.

Plan ahead and take steps to protect your investment in outdoor technology by installing bird deterrents.

For more information on installing a bird deterrent at your property contact Total Bird Control.

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How do spikes work as a bird deterrent?When seeking a solution to pest birds a humane approach should always be the first port of call.

Culling birds is always seen as the last option when all other alternatives have been exhausted and there is a real threat to health.

So how exactly do humane bird control methods work? The basic idea is that bird control solutions make an area inhospitable to birds so that they no longer return there to roost.

Deterring pest birds from nesting

Spikes are particularly effective in doing this. Importantly they are also fairly unobtrusive and can be adapted to a many different aspects of a building.

When you consider the parts of a building that birds might choose to make their homes, accessibility is important for the chosen bird control solution.

Aerials, chimneys, underneath gutters, window sills, rooftop corners and crevices are all prime targets for birds looking for a place to make their home.

Small enough to be used in these areas but prominent enough to deter birds, spikes are an essential piece of kit in deterring birds from nesting.

The metal spikes are attached to a plastic base and are either glued or screwed into place.

They work by making it difficult for birds to land in a particular area thereby deterring them from making their nest – or returning to a former roosting site.

Importantly, the spikes do not harm the birds and as such are seen as a highly efficient form of bird control.

Prevention

By being a permanent solution, spikes not only deal with a present bird control problem but will act as a bird deterrent in the future to prevent more birds from attempting to make their home at the property.

While dealing with pest birds it is important to protect your property and the health of the people who live or work there, so is doing this in the most humane way possible.

Spikes are an effective way to deal with pest birds without causing unnecessary harm. They get the humane seal of approval.

If you have a problem with pest birds at your property get in touch with Total Bird Control to talk about a suitable preventative solution.

Birds of Prey as a pest control solution across Great Britain

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Can birds of prey be an effective deterrent for pest control?When it comes to the bird population there is a clear pecking order and hawks certainly seem to rule the roost.

So defined is this battle between the smaller and larger bird species that some birds are actually introduced to an area to act as a pest deterrent.

Some species of birds are classed as a pest due to the risk they pose to human health, particularly when they gather in large numbers in a public place or at an industrial property. The main problem is the risk of disease from droppings, particularly when they make their home near to a food source.

The birds most commonly considered to be a pest are pigeons, seagulls, sparrows and starlings.

Are birds of prey a pest solution?

Some birds of prey, however, are seen as a solution to help solve a problem with pest birds. Harris hawks and falcons are both seen as a deterrent against smaller birds that have become a pest.

The basic premise is that as birds of prey they scare away the smaller birds by flying over the affected area. The hawks are intended to act as a deterrent only and by making unpredictable flights over the pest birds the hope is the pest birds will move on and roost elsewhere.

Hawks are particularly seen as useful in deterring birds from airport runways where birds can pose a serious danger to planes taking off and landing.

Deterrent

While some people see the method as a natural way to deter birds, it certainly is not without its critics.  There are arguments that the method alone is not effective without a bird cull, and also that the hawks used are not natural predators for the pest birds – and as such it is not ‘nature at work’.

The main objective is for the hawks to act as deterrents only – not to kill the birds. However, while the birds are apparently trained to do this it is impossible to prevent them attacking a bird while in flight. Critics of the method attack the savage spectacle of seeing a bird destroyed by a hawk – particularly if this is in a public place.

There are many humane ways that pest birds can be controlled and encouraged to leave an area that they have inhabited, such as the use of netting etc.

For more advice on how to control pest birds at your property get in touch with Total Bird Control today.

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Seagull: that sounds like a bird that would enjoy life on the coast, right? Despite their name seagulls do seem to be quite partial to life inland and can be spotted in great numbers pretty much everywhere.

Why are there so many seagulls inland?

City squares, high rise buildings, fields and even school yards are places where it is not unlikely to spot a seagull – and in towns and cities that are nowhere near to the sea.

Why have seagulls moved inland?

Of course there are people who suggest the birds are different sorts of gulls that have acquired the ‘sea’ moniker due to their habitat.

Either way, herring gulls and lesser black-backed gulls are traditionally known as coast-dwelling birds that feed on the fruits of the sea.

It is a disruption in the ready supply fish, particularly waste, due to changes in the fishing industry that some experts suggest could be a contributing factor in the gulls heading inland.

This is matched by a ready supply of waste food in cities and towns for the gulls to feast on – in particular at rubbish dumps.

Safer surroundings

Moving inland also means fewer predators, particularly on the rooftops of city buildings where the ‘urban’ seagulls tend to make their home.

The combination of a plentiful food supply and a safe nesting habitat has seen the numbers of urban seagulls rapidly increase.

In turn ‘rural’ seagulls that remain on the coast are in decline.

Wherever they live, however, seagulls are scavengers, whether that is stealing chips from seaside tourists or pestering workers enjoying a lunchtime sandwich.

With their numbers continuing to rise in heavily populated cities there is a growing chance that urban seagulls could become a more common pest, particularly for the food industry.

If you are experiencing a problem with seagulls that is affecting your business or home, get in touch with Total Bird Control.

 

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As The RSPB undertakes the annual task of working out what species are enjoying visiting our gardens following the Big Garden Birdwatch it is worth remembering that birds are a wonderful part of nature.

How to attract birds to your garden – but deter pests

While some species may be known more for being pests, there are many others that need protecting and need our help to survive.

In fact protection from ‘pest birds’ is something that will help these other species to thrive.

How to attract birds to your garden

The best approach is to think of your garden as a mini eco-culture that will attract all sorts of wildlife.

  • Put out bird food – this is the most obvious suggestions but the conditions need to be right. Make sure the table is well positioned to keep birds safe from predators and away from any areas where predatory birds could be hiding.
  • Protect lawn areas and allow them to thrive but also consider leaving an area uncultivated to attract insects.
  • Choose bird-friendly plants – trees can offer both accommodation and food to birds so think about making these accessible or adding them to your garden. Fruit trees and berry trees will provide welcome sources of food. Climbing plants on the walls will give birds a place to hide as well as brighten up the garden, while insect-friendly plants will also encourage the garden eco-system to flourish.
  • A bird bath will give birds another reason to visit your garden by offering them a place to have a bath and access clean drinking water.

Protection from pests

It is also important to remember to protect smaller garden birds from larger birds that are commonly seen as pests, such as pigeons. Blackbirds, squirrels and seagulls can also be problematic for garden birds – and your attempts to attract them.

To deter pests, such as pigeons and rats, keep food off the floor and on a food table and remember to clear up the area around it regularly. Also use a bird feeder that has a protective mesh to deter pigeons and squirrels.

Should you experience a problem with pest birds contact Total Bird Control.

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Cleaning up – how to get rid of the mess left by pest birdsThe start of a new year is a time for new beginnings and your attention may turn to improving your property.

The first place to start is usually by clearing out any waste and having a good clean up.

If you have had a problem with pest birds – or still do – there is every possibility that they have left an unsightly mess behind.

Bird droppings are incredibly messy and can cover a large area. More than that they are also difficult to remove and can harbour germs and disease.

Left for long enough they can also damage surfaces so swift action is ideal.

How big is the problem?

How do you begin to start clearing up bird droppings? A lot of it depends on the extent of the problem. In a domestic setting where the owner is dealing with a small amount of bird droppings it can be more easily dealt with.

However, if the house has seen a lengthy problem with pigeons, for example, this could be a much bigger job – particularly in hard to reach areas such as the roof.

Likewise in a commercial setting where birds have been roosting for some time it is very likely there is a large scale problem that will be difficult to get rid of – and could present a health risk if not cleaned up carefully.

Airborne dust from bird droppings if inhaled can lead to serious illness including Psittacosis and salmonella.

What to do to get rid of bird droppings?

Clearing up bird droppings following a problem with pest birds will more than likely need to be done by experts.

Professional decontamination of the area will ensure a high standard of cleaning that will remove tough stains – and will be carried out in accordance with health and safety guidelines to minimise the risk to workers.

For one-off incidents you can usually tackle the mess yourself, but remember to take care over contamination.

  • Protect yourself by using gloves and, if you have one, a mask;
  • Soak the area with warm water to loosen the droppings;
  • If possible use a hose to blast away the remainder or use a spray cleaner and a cloth or brush;
  • Disinfect brushes to remove bacteria or throw away cloths to cut the risk of bacteria spreading when finished.

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Feed the birds without attracting pests this winterFeeding the birds through the cold winter months is something we are often encouraged to do – and with good reason.

Seeing wild birds in the garden is one of life’s pleasures and, of course, by feeding them we are helping to protect the natural world.

At Christmas in particular bird feeding gifts become popular, with festive designs available and even bird food ‘wreaths’.

However, when feeding the birds it pays to consider how to avoid attracting pests into your garden, such as rats or infestations of pigeons.

The right food

Investing in the right food is important. Fat balls are a good winter option, along with mixed bird seed, meal worm and peanuts.

Many household leftovers can also be eaten by birds including bread, cheese, fruit, rice and potatoes. However, mouldy food should be kept away from birds as it can make them ill, while salt can also be toxic to them.

It’s all about presentation

The major factor in avoiding attracting pests to the garden by feeding birds is where the food is put and how much is left out. The RSPB recommends just leaving enough out for one day as any leftover food on the floor could possibly attracts rats.

In the same vein it is wise to avoid throwing food for birds on the floor as this attracts pests. Seed trays at the bottom of feeders help to stop waste being spilt on the floor while hulled seeds also cut down the possibility of food reaching the floor.

Pigeons can be problematic when it comes to feeding birds as they not only take the lion’s share of food, they also dominate the area and deter other birds. The worst scenario is that larger groups of pigeons flock to the garden causing a nuisance.

As pigeons are so much bigger than most wild birds, smaller feeders can prevent them accessing food. Hanging feeders with smaller mesh should work to prevent pigeons – just be aware of what falls on the floor and, if necessary, put a secondary measure in place.

While it is harder to keep pigeons off bird tables, using pieces of string or garden cane as a deterrent works as they do not like to feel as though they are being touched. Spacing the string/ canes out to allow smaller birds in but so that they cause an obstacle for pigeons should help to keep them away.

Don’t let the prospect of attracting pests put you off feeding the birds this winter, a bit of planning should be all it takes.

For advice on dealing with pest birds contact Total Bird Control.