Many pigeons flying through a Chicago street

A recent death at a hospital is Scotland is just one example — admittedly extreme — of how serious an issue birds can be for a building's facility staff. Two patients died after contracting a fungal infection caused by pigeon droppings at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow, according to an article on the BBC website.

A non-public room on the top floor of the hospital that contained machinery was identified as a likely source of the infection. The hospital ultimately took steps to keep the pigeons out of the room — and the ventilation system.

Even after the deaths, cleaning staff at the hospital said they had not been briefed on infection control measures, according to an article on The Scotsman website.

Jan/san distributors say facilities with a bird population should not take the associated health issues lightly. Not only do birds carry more than 60 transmittable diseases, their droppings are corrosive and can cause extensive and expensive damage to buildings. Birds can also be a potential liability, as people have sued for millions of dollars as a result of falling and slipping in bird waste.

How to evict the birds is a sensitive issue because facilities can’t simply eliminate birds like they do rodents or insects inside a facility. Instead, birds need to be relocated using nets or spikes, for example, to keep them from roosting. Other options include a sticky gel or ultrasonic sounds.

But before bird control products can be installed on a building, a facility has to clean up the affected area. Distributors recommend calling in experts to properly clean and dispose of bird droppings before bird control products can be installed.

At the same time, architects are taking steps to make buildings less hazardous — and more welcoming — for birds, according to an article on the Architectural Digest website.

The recent renovation of New York’s Javits Center — a 760,000-square-foot exhibition hall located along the Hudson River — replaced the building facade, removing dark-mirrored glass and installing a more transparent surface. The changed reduced bird collisions by 95 percent. A new green roof added vegetated nesting and feeding space on the building's waterfront site.