Solid Waste & Recycling

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For the Birds

Most of us do not want anything to do with our garbage once it enters the trash can. Birds, however, flock to landfills which are for them the land of opportunity, loaded with food, water and shelter.


Most of us do not want anything to do with our garbage once it enters the trash can. Birds, however, flock to landfills which are for them the land of opportunity, loaded with food, water and shelter.

But what’s good for them is bad for us. Birds carry over 60 diseases transmitted to humans through their fecal matter. Landfill operators already fight to maintain sanitary operations; adding vectors makes matters worse., and pests may spill into the neighbouring areas to find food and shelter.

Many landfills are built on government-owned land, and it’s not uncommon for airports to be nearby. According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the U. S. aviation industry spends an average $600 million annually on bird strike repairs. Since 1988, there have been over 200 worldwide deaths resulting directly from bird strikes.

Acidic bird droppings cause erosion and, possibly, slip-and-fall incidents that can lead to lawsuits. Fecal matter left unchecked can erode paint and finishes which results in rusting. The obvious damages of rusting aside, repainting or complete body overhauls due to droppings is very expensive. Feathers and nests are fire hazards and can damage machinery.

Many people have tried different bird control methods to no avail. Poisoning and shooting the birds are approaches that assure you will kill the current crop and a new batch will come around. The key to hard-hitting bird control is habitat modification, which is why killing and poisoning won’t work in the long term. Neither of these plans make your property less appealing to birds.

Here are ways that work every time.

Sound devices

Sound devices can be used in multiple places including loading docks, railroad sidings, underpasses, barns, airfields, rooftops, open lots and parks, construction zones and landfi lls. Some devices cover up to six acres. There are two types: sonic and ultrasonic.

Good sonic devices are programmable and give off bird distress calls, creating the illusion of a nearby predator. Similar to a warning, it urges birds to stay away because of danger. Some devices have up to eight recorded distress calls and can be timed to turn on and off at certain times. Calls differ in frequency, duration and intervals. Periods of silence can also be programmed.

Ultrasonic sound devices give off sounds beyond the human threshold of hearing capabilities. The sound is harsh but harmless, annoying the birds, along with other pests, to the point that they don’t want to stay. Adjustable frequencies, warble rate and speaker sequencing will keep the birds guessing so they will not become acclimated to the noise.

Roost inhibitors

Netting seals off all structural openings and other havens. It is lightweight and pliable with very little upkeep and it will not deteriorate with age or lose strength when exposed to the elements. It can be used nearly anywhere and is effective in keeping away pigeons, starlings, blackbirds, sparrows, gulls, larger birds and some smaller animals.

Spikes make surfaces uneven so birds cannot set up shop. Birds avoid spikes the way humans avoid walking barefoot on glass or a bed of nails. Though they are not lethal, they are extremely uncomfortable. They work very well on ledges, gutters, pipes, beams, trusses, support structures, and sills. Spikes are available in stainless steel and polycarbonate.

Gels and spikes are quite similar in that they can be used in the same places and have the same effect, only the gel is basically undetectable by humans. It is non-toxic and harmless to metal structures, sealed masonry and ornamental metals. Birds avoid it like humans avoid wet tar.

Visual scares, odour aversions

Visual scares run the gamut — from plastic coyotes, owls and alligators to Mylar balloons with holographic eyes to strobe lighting. If used correctly, in conjunction with other devices, they are very effective in keeping birds and other pests and critters at bay. Also try stationary lasers that can be mounted indoors or outdoors. They seek out where the birds are and scare them off using harmless laser beams.

Chemical repellants can be sprayed on anything animals like deer, squirrels and other pests like to munch on. They do not like the taste so they will stay away from the area. One chemical in particular is especially unappealing to birds. Methyl anthranilate is made from a constituent of Concord grapes and has been used for decades by the food and drug industry to flavour candy, gum, sodas and drugs. Birds who have had the taste and smell of this and will surely stay away from any area with this scent. Most of these chemicals are water resistant and all of them are harmless to the environment and the animals.

No matter what the problem, any of these methods are proven to eliminate unwanted birds. Correct bird control can save a company thousands in cleanup and labour, and possibly millions in lawsuits and legal fees. The best way to put an end to any bird problem is by addressing multiple senses. Using a combination of any of these products is a sure way to rid your property of birds for good.

Sharon Steed is a media correspondent with Bird-X, Inc. in Chicago, Illinois. Contact Sharon at Sharon@bird-x.com

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“The best way to put an end to any bird problem is by addressing multiple senses.”

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“Visual scares run the gamut – from plastic coyotes, owls and alligators to Mylar balloons with holographic eyes to strobe lighting.”


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