Atlantic City Electric in Egg Harbor Township, NJ, was having an ongoing problem with two commonly encountered nuisance birds in New Jersey, sparrows and starlings. These small birds are attracted to warehouses and loading docks as nesting locations because of their size and easy access. They are able to perch on beams, ledges, light fixtures, and pipes high above the ground in an enclosed space protected from predators and the harsh outdoor elements. For Atlantic Electric, the birds had virtually taken over the loading areas and loading platforms of the building.
Sparrows are a particularly intrusive nuisance bird. They displace other birds from their nests and destroy their eggs to take over the nest themselves. When they build their own nests, the females accumulate grass, straw, feathers, and whatever debris they can find to construct large flimsy nests that are unsightly and, depending on their location, pose a fire hazard. Sparrows are very territorial, both as individuals and flocks, and will repeatedly return to the same nesting sites. Starlings are one of the worst nuisance birds we deal with. They have adapted well both urban and rural areas. As long as these birds have food, water, and shelter, their populations rapidly expand. Starlings are often described as loud, obnoxious, destructive, and aggressive. While a significant problem in agriculture, starlings have be a major headache for any large commercial facility. As with sparrows, starlings have outcompeted native birds and their massive flock sizes cause significant damage is a short period of time.
The acidic droppings of sparrows and starlings damage property and equipment, create sanitation problems, and pose a serious health hazard for employees and visitors. Bird droppings are a toxic stew of dangerous pathogens and parasites. Here, the birds were dispensing their droppings anywhere and everywhere — on the facility’s equipment and materials and on the workers and their uniforms. With the employees, it was only a matter of who would be next. When we arrived, we were told that even the facility’s ice machine was desecrated!
Bird control is about changing bird behavior by making whatever facility they have infested inhospitable for them to roost and nest. As with all of our bird control projects, we inspected the facility to determine what deterrents would work best and where they should be placed. Often, we’ll block rooting and nesting sites with netting or spikes depending on the location. The installation must be done right or the exclusion won’t work. Other times, we will use or supplement barriers with visual deterrents and, on rare occasions, even auditory ones.
To resolve this particular bird infestation, the Cowleys bird control team installed a network of bird netting across the entire ceiling, rafters, pipes, and any other structures. With the netting in place, they birds were now prevented them from roasting or perching inside the building. By removing their landing sites, the birds will be driven out and forced to look elsewhere for more hospitable locations. When finished with this project, the birds were given a loud and clear message that it’s time to move on!