Zach, a Monroe Township resident, started with Cowleys in 2017 and is works in our wildlife and bird control divisions. He joined us with a dozen years of experience in trapping and relocating nuisance wildlife. If there is an animal that can be trapped, Zach has trapped it!
Zach holds a NJDEP trapping license. He enjoys the problem-solving and “chess match” with these surprisingly intelligent animals and their years of highly developed instinctive behaviors that allow them to avoid capture. He is constantly working to be more efficient and add tools in her arsenal.
He especially enjoys the challenge of capturing trap-shy, trap-wise critters, especially raccoons, that are extremely wary of new items introduced into their environment. Many animals learn from experience, either from getting caught once or from a close call of just missing getting caught. Botched trapping attempts from homeowners or inexperienced trappers makes things even harder the second time around. A close call is like a graduate degree in trap avoidance for critters, and to trap a for a “once pinched, twice shy” animal, you have to be extra sly in baiting and setting traps. Those are the kinds of jobs Zach loves.
In his spare time, Zach enjoys virtually any outdoor activity including hunting, fishing, archery, and hiking. To stay in “fighting” shape to seal with these critters, he enjoys strength training.
Recently, we went on a service call to a home in Red Bank, NJ after the homeowner contacted us after hearing... Watch Video »
Pigeons and seagulls can find landing spots on ledges and other areas of rooftops, especially on the Jersey shore. For this house in Beach Haven, NJ, the homeowners were having issues with nuisance birds making their roof the birds new home.
These birds were landing and roosting on the gutters, causing a mess. We installed bird spikes to deter these birds and send them elsewhere.
A homeowner in Jackson, NJ contacted Cowleys because of a problem with burrowing groundhogs (woodchucks) digging away at his home’s foundation around the inside corners of the house. For homeowners, these ground squirrels are one of the most damaging pests that can invade your yard. They not only wreak havoc on your lawn from their burrowing activity, as this homeowner found out the hard way, they can damage your home’s foundation if their burrowing activity is adjacent to your home.
As you can see in the photo, the foundation has a brick overhang. Often, we are able to deal with groundhog infestations with “Dig Defence,” an underground fencing system made of heavy galvanized steel. We frequently recommend this product since it does not degrade underground. Also, because Dig Defence is a trenchless system, it is relatively easy to install for experienced installers. However, in the wildlife control business, we must deal with the situation we are given, and find those solutions that will work for those situations. When it comes to wildlife, it’s never one size fits all. Here, because of the overhang, we could not install this type of fencing. So, we had to do this the old-fashioned way.
For this groundhog problem, I first wanted to do a trapping set-up. I was able to trap and relocate two groundhogs. While removing these two problem animals will help, I suspected that there were others, and trying to catch all of them would have been an exercise in futility. First, with all of the increased activities, these rodents are skittish and will shift their movement to avoid the traps. Also, this neighborhood was highly conducive to groundhog activity and I could see them thriving here. The entire neighborhood had strep banks with heavy cover, which is ideal for their burrowing activity. Also, there was plenty of food. Many of the neighboring homes had bird feeders and flowers providing them with virtually unlimited food sources.
After completing the trapping, it was time to do the heavy lifting. We pulled back off the rocks around the foundation where the animals were burrowing. Next, we had to dig out the dirt. With a trench dug out, we put in hardware cloth and secured it with masonry screws. This groundhog exclusion will not only work well, it matched up with the house and was aesthetically appealing. No doubt, there was one of our tougher groundhog exclusion jobs, but the end result was well worth it.
Homeowners in Lakewood, NJ had turkey vultures roosting on the edge of their flat roof. Vultures in Jersey? Actually, we are home to two vultures species, turkey vultures and black vultures. Turkey vultures bear no relation to our "gobble gobble" turkeys, so please, don't stuff and cook one for Thanksgiving! The only reason we call them turkey vultures is their appearance. Their bald red head and dark plumage resembles wild turkeys. The turkeys are historic residents of the state while black vultures are a more recent arrival to the state.
Although vultures, as any bird, can become a nuisance bird once they start roosting on a home or other structure and depositing their droppings all over, they are very important birds in our ecosystem. Vultures are nature’s clean-up crew. By feeding on dead, decomposing animal carcasses (carrion), tase birds reduce the risk of disease and contamination from rotting animals. So, if our road maintenance crews don’t get around to removing unsightly roadkill, these birds are happy to jump in.
Vultures are a protected migratory bird species, as are most birds. With bird control, we never "get rid" of birds. Rather, it is all about making your property inhospitable to birds. We install various types of deterrents, the choice of which depends on type of bird infestation and the specifics of the property. We change their behavior so they relocate elsewhere to a place that is more welcoming. Also, bird control is customized. There is never a one-size-fits-all single solution.
Here, the homeowners were pretty distressed with the activity of these birds. Their highly acidity droppings had caused some terrible staining on their home, and they were concerned that the droppings could damage their shingles, and rightly so. Birds excrete their liquid and solid waste together in one sticky "bomb." Their droppings contain uric acid, which is corrosive enough to dissolve paint, concrete, and metal.
Why did the birds choose this house? The likely reason is that this this house has the tallest roof in the general vicinity. Also, since the roof was flat, it made for easy landing.
Because of the roof structure, we decided that the best solution would be to take away their roosting areas by installing shock track on outside edges of the roof. Shock tracks send a clear message to the birds that they are no longer welcome by emitting a low-voltage shock when a bird attempts to land. the shock does not harm them in any way, but it isn't pleasant either. Even for a bird, which aren’t the brightest (being labelled a "bird brain" isn't exactly a compliment), it does not take too many negative reinforcements to change their behavior. All we want them to do is relocate to a new location (anywhere but this house) that doesn't deliver shocks every time they land.
This homeowner in East Brunswick, NJ had a bat infestation a while back. Our wildlife team had taken care of the issue and he had a bat warranty with us should there be a later re-infestation. This year, he decided it was time for a new roof. Given his bat issues in the past, he wanted us to come out to the home to make sure that there were no new entries into the home before replacing the roof. We were happy to help out.
During my roof inspection, based on the earlier infestation and how the bats had gained attic access, I recommended that he consider installing Ridge-Guards over the ridge vents. Ridge vents are an important, necessary part of a home’s roofing system. These vents allow damp, warm air to escape from the attic, which increases the home’s energy efficiency and helps protect asphalt shingles from overheating and warping in the summer. Unfortunately, these vents come with a downside. They are often exploited by small wildlife, especially flying squirrels, bats, and sometimes mice, to gain attic entry.
This homeowner did not even want to think about another bat infestation after what he had gone through. I recommended that he consider Cowleys for installing a Ridge-Guard system. A Ridge-Guard is a breathable protective cover that we install over the ridge vents. This covering guards against animal entry through the ridge vents. We’ve used this product for homeowners looking for an effective way to prevent bats and other wildlife from gaining access through the ridge vent instead of having to deal with the messy, and often expensive to fix, aftermath of a wildlife infestation.
As a wildlife technician, I must admit that I enjoy the challenge of capturing and outsmarting wildlife. However, for homeowners, preventing potential wildlife issues from happening in the first place is a far better alternative to dealing with an actual infestation. Cowleys has a separate contractor division with an experienced construction crew that handles various homeowner services including repairs caused by wildlife.
This homeowner from Spring Lake, NJ had starlings roosting in her dryer vent. Starlings are one of the more common nuisance birds that we regularly deal with, right up there with pigeons, sparrows, seagulls, and Canada geese. While all of these birds are a nuisance, sparrows are one of the most destructive. They can form exceptionally large flocks that can number in the thousands, ravishing crops and spreading disease with their toxic droppings containing many dangerous pathogens. They also compete for nesting cavities, ousting and killing our original native birds, and destroying their eggs and young.
For homeowners, it is quite common to find birds building nests inside dryer vents because of the heat. Unfortunately, with the nesting materials building up inside the vent, it is a serious fire hazard. Before these birds could get established in the spring, we wanted to nip the problem in the bud by excluding them and making sure that they would be sealed out for good.
We opted to go with The Defender vent cover for the dryer vent. Constructed of thick-gauge zinc-coated powder-coated steel, these USA-made covers are built to last. Also, its vertical bars are tailor-made for dryers because they minimize lint buildup (another major dryer fire hazard) while, at the same time, keeping out critters, especially birds and squirrels. From our experience, these dryer vents require cleaning far less often than with other vent covers that tend to accumulate lint because of their design. we also cleaned and sanitized the dryer duct before sealing.
When this job was completed, there was no indication that there once was a bird infestation. This homeowner was left with an aesthetically pleasing vent cover that's will last indefinitely, but is still a snap to remove for periodic vent cleaning.
As any roofer will tell you, terracotta clay-based ceramic roofing tiles can be challenging to work with. Although they are heavy and durable, if accidentally dropped or stepped on, these types of tiles can easily be broken. Terracotta tiles are installed by placing overlapping and interlocking rows of them on the roof. Although clay roofs are built to last and have been around long before asphalt shingles, repairing them can be a big hassle.
In order to access any tiles that are further up the roof from the eaves, you have to get to them without breaking any. Because the weight of a person walking on the roof is more than enough to break these clay tiles, roofers often use boom trucks. When pieces have to be replaced, if the tiles are hooked over fasteners, you have to go under the piece and cut the fasteners since the overlapping tiles cover the fasteners. If the tiles are glued down, you may need a hammer and chisel. When I think of what roofers who work with terracotta tiles have to do, it makes me glad that I’m just a wildlife technician who only risks getting bitten or scratched by a nasty raccoon or sprayed by a skunk!
I was sent to a home in Belford, NJ to perform a wildlife exclusion along with one of our home improvement specialists. A wildlife exclusion is any project where we seal wildlife entry points (often on or around the roof) to prevent a re-infestation. With this home, raccoons were gaining access through a small area of a terracotta roof that had been damaged. According to the homeowner, this area had been previously patched, but the person doing the repairs failed to secure it properly leaving the gap vulnerable to wildlife.
We were asked by the homeowner to perform an exclusion to this area to ensure that any raccoons in the neighborhood stayed out. For this project, we measured and fit a piece of “trim cool,” aluminum fascia trim, in place that fit together like a puzzle piece. This trim blended into the roof, and just as important, was able to be secured correctly in order to prevent any wildlife access.
We often use trim cool to do repairs because of its flexibility. More and more, we are seeing fascia boards are covered with this product because of its resiliency to the outdoor elements. Homeowners don’t have to worry about peeling paint, wood rot, or wildlife gaining access to your attic by clawing their way through weakened wood.
A homeowner in Monmouth Beach, NJ, a small beach community at the Jersey Shore contacted Bird Solutions By Cowleys because of a serious nuisance bird problem. This homeowner, who lived right on the water, had seagulls anding on his roof, depositing their prodigious waste everywhere. Because of the location of the home, the roof was a perfect spot for the birds to roost and nest, and these high structures help them stay on the lookout for food and predators. Gulls are attracted to human habitats because they are opportunistic scavengers that will consume virtually anything.
Seagulls are protected migratory birds. Should these birds become a nuisance on your property, it’s all about setting up deterrents on your property to create a hostile environment for them. The objective is simple: You want the birds to “voluntarily” abandon your property and move on elsewhere. Because gulls nest in coastal regions, they are quite common along the Jersey Shore, and they often become one of the biggest bird nuisances for homeowners who live in Monmouth Beach and our other coastal towns. These birds eat far more than aquatic life. They are In their search for food, when not in parking lots or garbage dumps, they are often attracted to roofs and other high structures. These are safe sites for them to roost and nest, and it gives them a great vantage point to stay on the lookout for food and predators.
Their droppings can cause significant property damage. Their thick white paste contains acidic uric acid, which is strong enough to dissolve shingles and sheathing. It can easily disintegrate roofing materials enough to cause roof leaks. Also, birds nesting in drains and gutters can block water drainage and lead to dangerous standing water on the roof.
Because bird droppings contain parasites and other pathogens, they are also a serious health hazard. They are attracted to waste sites, eating garbage containing sewage or medical waste. They can transmit these pathogens in their droppings. That alone is a good reason to not have gulls hanging around your home.
A two-crew team from Bird Solutions carefully installed approximately 1700 bird spikes on the peaks of his roof. The photos show the “before and after” of the spike installation. Without a place to land, the birds soon give up and look for a more hospitable place to land. For these birds, there is no shortage of places to “hang out.” Effective bird control lets them know that your home is off-limits.
The Monmouth Beach homeowner was pleased to finally have these gulls vacate his property. Sea gulls are a potential nuisance in any coastal community. However, it is not something that homeowners have to tolerate.