Pest Identification – Birds/Bats
There’s a place in nature for birds and bats, but those that have adapted to take advantage and cause damage to our businesses and buildings aren’t worth pulling out the binoculars for. Even if you haven’t experienced the damage of one of these flying pests firsthand, you’ve probably seen them in action. Bird species like pigeons, sparrows, starlings, and swallows are common in Northern California and Nevada and cause mayhem wherever they go.
When Is a Bird Identified as a Pest?
If you don’t think of birds as pests, they probably haven’t ruffled your feathers. In reality, nuisance birds threaten many homes and businesses where they set up shop, leave droppings, and feast on food products. You may have heard the term “flying rats” in reference to certain bird species before, and for good reason: Nuisance birds carry and disseminate diseases and parasites, including some airborne pathogens.
Many of these species rely on humans for food, water, and shelter, and take full advantage of us to get what they need. Bulky nests on – and in – buildings can block gutters, impede machinery, and cause fire hazards if they’re built near electrical equipment. Additionally, bird feces is extremely acidic and has a corrosive effect, potentially leading to structural damage. There are three common bird species considered pests in our area:
Pigeons are the gray-colored birds that never seem to be scared of you. They have orange feet and black stripes on their wings, and they usually get their food from crumbs or spills in parks and parking lots. If you notice one following you, it’s probably looking for food. Because they can reproduce year-round with a relatively short gestation period, there are a lot of pigeons – and without a clear aversion to humans, it’s easy to feel a bit outnumbered.
As short birds with light brown coloring, you may not give much thought to sparrows. But you should. Despite a stocky frame, they build bulky nests, preferring to put them near food sources or man-made habitats like buildings. Sparrows are also social birds, traveling, nesting, and feeding in large numbers. While one sparrow may not cause much structural damage, or eat an entire field of crops, a large group of them certainly can.
As a non-native species, starlings are extremely predatory and put native bird species at risk. They compete for resources like shelter and food without fear of aggression. The shiny black coat covered in white speckles is what gives them their name; however, they are no dream to have around. They’re known for loud vocalizations and a large accumulation of droppings, resulting in strong unpleasant odors.
Swallows are slender birds, six to seven inches in length, with steel-blue coats and reddish-brown faces. Unlike most other bird species, swallows prefer to return to the same nest each year after migration. These nests are made of hard-packed mud and typically found under bridges, ledges, and eaves of buildings. Their nests can damage and deface the outer surfaces of homes and businesses, and their droppings contain parasites that can spread serious diseases. Unfortunately, swallows are protected by law, and their nests cannot be disturbed until the birds have migrated for the winter.
While bats do a lot of good for the environment – like preying on many of the insects we consider pests – there is a stigma that surrounds them, and their appearance can cause irrational fear in people. Only a handful of species are known to enter structures: the big brown bat, little brown bat, and Mexican free-tailed bat. All bats are nocturnal and most active during warmer months. They tend to avoid humans as much as possible, but their droppings (known as guano) can make people sick, and a small percentage of bats do carry rabies. Because bats are protected by law in California and Nevada, you should always check with a local pest control professional before trying to remove them yourself.
Professional-Grade Bird and Bat Control from Advanced IPM
When you must deal with birds on your property, it’s best to call in a professional. Because some species – like the woodpecker – are protected, we do not advise taking on the challenge alone. Our experienced technicians are highly adept at bird exclusion processes used to make your home or business less attractive to nuisance birds.
While exterminating birds or bats is not a practical option due to their sheer numbers and legal protections, bird and bat exclusion services will protect you from these enigmatic pests. An Advanced IPM technician will identify your most at-risk areas, providing specific treatments to prevent flying pests from causing damage or disease. If you’re struggling with nuisance birds or bats, get your free quote for an inspection by contacting us today.