Understanding Bird Control

Understanding Bird Control

Understanding Bird Control

The Lowdown on Bird Control

Bird control is a must. Pest birds like gulls will fly more than 30 miles per day in their search for food, especially in breeding season when they need to feed their young, and sites with a large public presence are an attractive proposition.

The increasing amount of food waste on sites, such as open bins, litter, and commercial waste bins can lead to a pest bird problem that can very soon get out of hand.

Why would you consider bird control at your site?

Once a handful of birds have discovered that your site is a feeding free-for-all, more birds will soon catch on. Before you know it, there can be flocks of thousands of birds on and around your site which can cause some serious problems.

  • Noise, property, machinery, vehicle damage, and health and safety risks both for you and for the businesses, and any residential properties in the vicinity.
  • Guano contains high levels of uric acid which can corrode buildings and machinery, and it also contains bacteria and other pathogens that can cause serious illness. Imagine if these pathogens made their way into groundwater and caused contamination, or your employees were exposed to them on the job?
  • Not only that, pest birds like gulls can become aggressive when they are feeding or nesting during the breeding season, and your employees might be at risk of being attacked.

Bird control: The legal side

You need to remember that ALL birds in the UK are protected by The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, which makes it an offence to kill or capture wild birds or damage their eggs or nests unless you have an appropriate licence from Natural England.

Getting a licence from Natural England can be difficult as you have to prove that all non-lethal control methods have been exhausted. So evidence, evidence, evidence is the key.

Bird control for your site: What works?

There are a variety of bird control techniques that can be used, though depending on the site and the extent of the problem, one standalone technique is not often enough to succeed in keeping pest birds away from your site for good.

Your best bet is an integrated bird control plan that uses techniques that best suit your needs and your site.

Bird control methods that are often successful include:

  • The use of falconry to deter pest birds
  • Bird netting
  • Smart Bird control systems like Bird Alert broadcasts specific sounds like species-specific distress calls and allows you to add on bird scarers like gas cannons and other visual deterrents.
  • The use of lasers to deter pest birds
  • Proofing to prevent further ingress from pest birds

Where success is limited

The thing that often defeats a bird control technique is habituation. This is where an initial deterrent like a distress call or flashing light is seen as a threat, but over time, birds learn that there is no immediate threat and get used to the stimulus. Where techniques like falconry are a clear and reinforced deterrent, the use of distress calls is not, and birds can get used to them and come back to your site.

Bird control: The Pros

Bird control techniques like falconry can be very effective when it comes to deterring pest birds from your site and can solve the habituation problem. Pest birds don’t want to nest or feed in an area where there’s an active predator and it’s a natural, humane solution.

Bird control: The Cons

Many bird control solutions will seem to have done the job initially, but most birds adapt eventually and are intelligent enough to realise what is and isn’t an actual threat.


There is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution to bird control. What works at one site might not work at another, and ultimately, keeping birds away from your site requires time, money, and constant vigilance.

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