While most people don’t consider birds a pest, they are capable of spreading disease and their droppings can be more than just an eyesore – in fact, bird droppings can cause structural damage to your building. The four most common species of problem birds are: pigeons, starlings, house sparrow and Canadian geese.

Rock pigeon roosting on a ledge

Pigeons are a common sight in urban environments. Often referred to as “rats with wings,” pigeons can carry a number of diseases. Some are serious enough to cause fatalities if left untreated. They often perch on the edges of balconies and ledges around buildings. You may not always see them, but you and any visitors will certainly notice their unsightly droppings.

Starlings are an invasive species and one of the most common birds in North America, with a population exceeding 200 million. While small in stature, they travel in flocks of up to 20,000 and the combined weight of these birds can break branches and disfigure trees. Their droppings are phytotoxic, which in large quantities, can kill mature trees.

House sparrows have adapted particularly well to the urban and suburban environments created by humans. This provides them with some security from natural predators. They are surprisingly aggressive and have been known to oust native species from their nests. They can also transmit diseases which can affect humans, cats, dogs and livestock.

Canadian geese are extremely successful at living in human-altered areas and have proven able to establish breeding colonies in urban and cultivated areas, including parks. This has led them to be considered a pest species because of their destruction of crops, and issues with their noise, droppings, aggressive territorial behavior, and habit of begging for food.

Common exclusion methods include:

  • Eliminating sources of food, including bird feeders intended for other species.
  • Repairing and sealing any damage to the exterior of buildings where they can build nests.
  • Covering vents and other openings which cannot be sealed with wire mesh.
  • Placing fake/statuettes of predatory birds near ledges, as well as placing bird spikes, wires and slides around your property to eliminate perch points and nesting sites.

Pigeons feeding in a city square

There are numerous other specifies of birds in Canada, many of which are protected by national or local regulations. If you’re experiencing issues with pest birds or have any questions regarding bird control methods, contact your local Orkin Canada branch.