In a garden or in a tree, birds are beautiful to watch and lovely to hear. In your building, however, birds can become annoying or even dangerous pests, especially for commercial properties.

Barriers are the best deterrents to nesting, but sometimes our winged friends can find a way around these defenses. Gable vents and attic windows can be particularly enticing for roosting birds, because they are sufficiently elevated and provide warmth throughout the winter.

Avoid poisons
Removing birds from a building isn’t always easy. Not only are poisons cruel and inhumane, they are often ineffective—only killing a small portion of the birds causing the problems. Poisons are additionally illegal in many parts of the world including the U.S. because of the negative impact that poisoned birds can have on the local ecosystem, and dead, decaying birds can attract other pests to create even worse problems.

Avoid trap-and-release
More often than not, trapping and releasing a bird doesn’t work. Birds can become injured or extremely stressed during the trapping process, which often leads to their death. Even if you are successful in relocating them, there’s a high probability they may return.

Here are five steps to humanely repel birds from your commercial building permanently:

1. Do your research. Some birds are members of a protected species, which makes their removal a legal issue. Find out what kind of bird you have first, and contact your local game commission or state wildlife agency to assist you if necessary. Learning about the type of bird you are dealing with can also inform you of its habits and give you an idea of how to best prevent it and its comrades from returning.

2. Evaluate the problem. You’ll also want to find out what is attracting the birds in the first place, and take steps to remove the enticement. This could mean removing nearby water sources such as fountains or other water collection pools, loose food sources, nearby bird feeders or even uncovered garbage bins. Some food and water sources can’t be removed (fruit trees, insects, neighboring feeders or fountains), which means the steps you take after the nest is removed are all the more important.

3. Check the nest for eggs or chicks. You won’t want to remove a nest containing eggs or chicks, especially if the bird is a protected species (many are). Don’t worry, though; all you have to do is wait. If the chicks haven’t hatched, they will soon; and after hatching, most chicks typically leave the nest in about two weeks. Once all the birds have left the nest, you can begin your removal process.

4. Remove the nest. Birds and their droppings can carry diseases and viruses that are harmful to humans, so use gloves to remove the nest and wear a respirator to protect from the many airborne diseases that can be transmittable to humans. Clean the areas with a heavy-duty disinfectant; this will remove the scents and markings birds use to identify safe nesting sites. When disposing of the nest, bag it up and tie it shut to prevent the attraction of predators.

5. Remediate. There are a variety of humane deterrents that have proven reliable at keeping birds from nesting in buildings:
  • Bird spikes and perch repellents are a great way to prevent birds from returning. Smaller birds may not be deterred, but spikes will prevent larger birds like pigeons and crows from even landing, let alone building a nest. Spikes can become cluttered with debris and consequently be rendered ineffective, so be sure to clean the spikes if they become clogged.

  • Sonic devices mimic the distress call of certain birds and/or the sounds of predators and have a high rate of deterrence. Do your homework, though: not all sonic bird system recordings are made with real, live-recorded bird distress sounds.

  • Visual deterrents also serve as effective means of keeping birds away. These include plastic predators such as owls, snakes or coyotes or simple visual scares like holographic bird tape that reflects sunlight and makes noise in the wind. Change them regularly to keep birds guessing as to whether or not they are real.

  • Install bird wire to prevent birds from nesting along ledges. Birds are naturally attracted to small open spaces that provide cover from wind, rain and predators. Building ledges, windows, and other spaces should be covered with netting or wire to prevent birds from entering.

  • Install bird netting to physically block 100% of birds from spaces such as building siding and open spaces. This method is especially useful around areas with food or many ornate building details that create small spaces for birds to nest and perch. Virtually invisible from a distance, this is a professional solution with an exceptionally high rate of customer satisfaction.

This article was submitted by Bird-X, Inc., manufacturer of professional, humane, eco-friendly bird and pest control products for 50 years. The international company is based in Chicago, IL.