The problem of the presence of birds in too many urban areas, due to the absence of natural enemies, tends to become a real scourge. Urban areas of our country as well as large cities in Europe face severe problems that push them to take action. In related literature, pigeons are usually classified as “urban pests”, along with rats and cockroaches, and as a result they have acquired the nickname “winged rats”. They nest in any place that can offer them shelter and access to water and food, and their removal, once established, is particularly difficult.
The problems they create with their presence are mainly related to their large concentrations and are:
- Degradation of their settlement areas, since their excrement creates a negative image (dirt, abandonment and stench).
- Also, the noise they make is particularly annoying for many people.
- Destruction of buildings, monuments, etc., due to the highly corrosive acid action of their excrement. Window sills, balconies, roofs and car chassis are the most common “victims”.
- Increased maintenance, repair and cleaning costs for private and public properties amounting to thousands of euros per year.
- n this we should take into account the increased use of chemical detergents as well as the waste of water caused by the effort to clean them.
- Transmission of serious diseases to humans. Pathogenic micro-organisms which are endemic in bird droppings and the dust produced from them, there is a risk of causing serious diseases in humans, and in particular in sensitive population groups such as young children, the elderly and people with fragile immune systems (e.g. histoplasmosis, chicken pox, allergies, encephalitis, etc.). The presence of birds in ventilation systems allows through them the dispersion of pathogenic microorganisms also inside buildings.
- Vectors of harmful arthropods. Birds harbor a multitude of parasites in their bodies, such as bed bugs, fleas, lice, mites, etc., which are transferred to the buildings and the places where they rest and nest.
- Bird droppings create slippery surfaces on sidewalks and squares that are dangerous for passers-by.
- Also, in recent years there have been many cases of airplanes colliding with birds or birds being sucked into airplane engines.
Modes of Management
Repellent Measures: Must be taken in areas where birds frequent or nest (window sills, chimneys, downspouts, canopies, etc.). The most common are nets, pulsed wire systems, plastic or metal spikes, metal spirals, low-voltage electrical rails, and repellent gels.
Removal Measures: Must be taken against birds that have already settled in an area. For this purpose, devices with ultrasound, screams of birds of prey, models of birds of prey or scarecrows are used. Also, the physical presence of hawks is an environmentally friendly way of removing them that has been successfully tested in specific areas such as airports or archaeological sites.
Sanitation Measures: These measures are related to limiting the birds’ ability to find food, water and shelter and are better collection of garbage, stricter adherence to cleanliness rules (not throwing food in open areas), cleaning/sealing of abandoned buildings, destruction nests, removal of eggs, prohibition of feeding, etc.
The management methods that will finally be chosen for a space must meet certain conditions:
To be harmless to birds. Using poisons or shooting them is illegal in most areas and is not recommended as non-harmful species can also be affected.
To offer discretion and not interfere with the aesthetics of the premises.
Be effective depending on the size of the infestation.
To require as little maintenance as possible.
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