Birds generally considered “nuisance birds” include pigeons (Columba livia), house sparrows (Passer domesticus), and starlings (Sternus vulgaris).
The presence of these birds in unwanted areas can cause damage to property, and their droppings may create unpleasant odors. Bird droppings can also ruin vegetation, painted surfaces, gutters and awnings, and cause electrical equipment to malfunction. Birds may carry diseases which are capable of infecting humans, and bird droppings can promote soil conditions favoring development of such fungal diseases as histoplasmosis. House sparrows can damage rigid foam insulation, and their nests can become fire hazards.
The first step in your bird control program should be identification of the pest bird; if you cannot positively identify the bird, consult an expert before taking action. The Migratory Bird Treaty and Endangered Species Acts prohibit trapping or killing of most birds, eggs or nests without a permit. House sparrows, starlings, and pigeons are not protected under these Acts, but may be covered under local ordinances, so be sure to consult with local wildlife authorities.
Habitat modification and exclusion from structures are generally the most effective ways of controlling nuisance bird populations. Note where birds are roosting, nesting, and landing; look for nests and droppings. Eliminate potential food and water sources if possible.
If you are attempting to clean up an existing bird problem, be sure to clean up all dirt, nests, and bird droppings prior to installing any bird control devices or deterrents; this will not only give a clean surface for installation/application, but will prevent pest birds from reusing nest material or following their own scent trails back to old roosting sites.
Since bird droppings can harbor parasites, bacteria, and disease causing organisms, a thorough cleaning will also help protect those who will be installing bird control devices or deterrents. Be sure to wear protective clothing (face mask, gloves, coveralls) if cleaning up a large accumulation of wastes, and be sure to launder protective clothing separately.
Polybutylene repellents can be applied to ledges or beams to prevent roosting. These repellents are non-toxic, but feel sticky and unpleasant to birds attempting to land. Apply repellent in tight wavy closely-spaced rows. Repellents must be reapplied with some frequency as they can become coated with dust or leaves and lose their sticky feel. Apply masking tape to the surface prior to using the repellent so that it may be more easily cleaned up and reapplied. Repellents are best suited for small- or medium- sized infestations.
Ultrasonic devices have not been found to be effective at repelling birds. Noise or visual alarms are not well-suited for urban areas, but may work fairly well in agricultural settings; pigeons in particular are so used to loud noise and varied human activity that they may be nearly impossible to frighten using these methods. Noise alarms in well-populated areas may be perceived as a bigger nuisance than the birds.