million years ago the air was full of flying reptiles, some of which were
called Pterodactyls, but there were no birds. But today, through
extensive research, it is now virtually proven that birds evolved from dinosaurs.
This was established by the discovery of fossils such as Archaeopteryx,
which was the size of a crow and was found in Germany and dated
150 million years old (The Jurassic). Since the discovery of Archaeopteryx
there have been other finds which have filled in the missing link between
Archaeopteryx and dinosaurs which have shown evolving birds with both scales
and feathers, it also seems that birds evolved from the species of dinosaur
which led to the development of the ones called Raptors, you
know the ones in the film "Jurassic Park" which kept eating everybody,
and not from the Pterodactyls as was first thought. If anyone has any thoughts
on this subject why don't you drop me a line just click on the PiedPiper
button at the bottom of the page.
So why do we have to give birds a hard
time? Well, the majority of birds are fine and in any case are covered
by the Wildlife and Countryside Act (schedules I & II) and let's
be honest who, in their right mind, would want to arrange the demise
of a little old Robin?
Seriously, pest birds can cause problems
in a lot of ways:
buildings, blocking of down pipes and gutters thus causing buildings
to become damp. One case I know was a bank which had let the bird
problem get very bad (because they didn't use the upper floors)
that in turn did so much damage to the building that it cost about
£100,000 to rectify the problem, this included proofing
the building to stop a recurrence as well as the structural replacement
and repair that had to be carried out.
bakeries where there is a problem with sparrows getting in to
eat the crumbs and at the same time fouling various products.
where birds have gained entrance to the sales floor where they
have everything that they need, food, green plants, heating, nesting
in the beams etc. But at the same time they also foul the products
which you go in and buy.
where birds in large quantities get into the feed areas to feed
themselves but whilst they are feeding they are fouling the product,
when this is fed to cattle or pigs it gives them diarrhoea and
consequently it takes longer to bring them up to body weight before
they can be sold, which costs more money.
the pavements in cities when birds (mostly starlings) roost in
trees at night and people have slipped on the fouling and have
been injured, and later claim against the council involved.
strike at airports, where flocks of birds can hit the cockpit
glass or be sucked into the jet intakes.
nesting in roof spaces and thus bringing in the accompanying insects,
which when the birds have flown, can infest the house involved,
things like bird mite, bird flea, Dermestes beetles, Spider beetles
list goes on, so you can see that although it is a sensitive subject,
it is one which has to be addressed otherwise there would be a lot
more disease and food taint that we have at the present.
are various ways in which birds can be prevented from encroaching
into our environment and a good site to go to, who specialise in this
subject is Network Pest Control
Systems, mind you they also deal with a lot of other problems
list just a few control methods:
a thin stainless steel cable covered in a polymer, which is strung
along ledges and window sills, in fact anywhere that you can drill
a hole. Stainless steel posts are put in and the cable is attached
on springs, the idea being that the bird can't perch on the wire
because of it being sprung.
this is a type of polymer or sealant which doesn't set, this is
extruded along ledges in various ways, a skinning fluid painted
on so that the birds don't get stuck into the repellent, when
the birds land on the compound it feels insecure under foot and
they fly off again. The down side to this treatment is eventually
it goes off and also it is very vulnerable to window cleaners.
of thin wire spikes:
(which don't hurt the birds) and are set into a plastic base,
these are glued onto various surfaces and again it dissuades the
birds from landing. Some of the trade names are E-Coppic and Avipoint,
they come in various shapes and sizes and are quite efficient.
which comes in various colours and can be used to net off the
whole front of buildings if necessary, if carefully done and the
colour matched correctly, it is not as visible as you might think.
This method is also used under bridges, loading bays, dead spaces
etc. The main points in this method are making sure that there
are no gaps so that birds don't get trapped behind the net and
die under stress. Also the net should be tensioned correctly.
If access is required to areas behind the netting then large zips
can be fitted.
sometimes has to be carried out when there is no other alternative,
for example where sparrows may have gained entrance into a supermarket
and have decided to live on the sales floor and warehouse areas,
let's face it they have everything that they want. Believe me
it is not a job I relish, apart from the fact that I don't like
shooting birds, I have been called murderer and all sorts that
I wouldn't repeat. Usually from people who let the birds into
the store in the first place by leaving doors open or pinning
the strip curtain back because they couldn't be bothered to push
carried out when there is a presence of pest birds mixed in with
song birds or protected birds. Narcotising has to be carried out
with the permission of the Ministry of Agriculture Fisheries and
Food (MAFF), and sometimes they might even want a representative
there when you do the job. Alphachlorolose is mixed with crumbed
Madeira cake or some similar substrate, it is then put down in
piles which are numbered on a plan, for retrieval purposes. As
the birds eat the cake they fall asleep the pest birds are put
down with CO2 gas and the remaining
birds are put into heated recovery boxes and then let go. They
feel no pain I must add.
again is a labour intensive job and hence can be expensive. It
involves pre-baiting trapping cages for at least a week both morning
and evening. Once the (usually) pigeons are confident and moving
in and out of the cages eating the bait, the traps are then set.
Again birds are disposed of by gassing with CO2
which is painless. Once having caught a few birds,
pre-baiting may have to be carried out again to gain any remaining
birds confidence, as I said labour intensive.
is not used very much these days by pest controllers, though it
is by ornithologists. This is a very fine type of net, so fine
that the birds can't see it, it is set up on frames and the birds
fly into it and are caught. The problems arise when trying to
get the birds out of the net. Because it is so fine the net tangles
in the feathers in barbs and barbules thus making it difficult
to free (a close up of a feather is shown below), this also causes
the bird a lot of stress due to too much handling.
click on the links above if you want any biology of pest birds, e-mail
me by clicking on the Piedpiper or you can click on one of the buttons
below to go to a different subject...!