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Pest birds: the complete guide

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Understanding the different bird species and their behaviors will help in identifying the right control method. Knowing which species you are dealing with can also give you insight into the potential problems you may experience. Many species of birds do not pose a threat, however, pest birds can cause property damage and can also spread diseases.

Each bird control method is unique to the species, location, and surrounding conditions. Working with a pest control company eliminates the questions and provides you with the best method to get rid of the birds on your property.

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Bird control services

Find out how Western Exterminator can control birds at your home or business.

What are pest birds?

Pest birds are invasive and are often considered a nuisance. They have become accustomed to living in close proximity to humans and overpopulate many areas. There are many different types of birds, but only pigeonsstarlings, and sparrows are labeled as pest birds. These birds are not native to the United States, are not federally protected, and are not typically considered to be beneficial to the environment.
Pest birds can also cause a serious amount of damage to different property types from both their nesting materials and droppings. There are also several diseases that these birds and their droppings can carry, which can negatively affect the health and well-being of people.



Pigeons are one of the most common pest birds in North America. They group together in large numbers and have grown accustomed to living around humans. Pigeons’ droppings often dry out and turn to dust, which can get sucked into air vents and cause several health issues.





Starlings are common nesters around homes and are notorious for flocking in huge numbers. They leave a copious amount of droppings all over your property and cause problems for both structures and livestock, resulting in a lot of expensive repairs.



Sparrows are very used to living around humans. They can be a huge nuisance, as they usually return to the same nesting place each year, which can cause recurring damage to your home. Sparrows can also become very aggressive when defending their nest.



What you need to know about pest birds


The lifecycle of a bird has multiple stages, including eggs, nestlings, juveniles, and adults. Pigeons can live an average of six years, though some pigeon species can live up to 10 years. Starlings have an average lifespan of 2-3 years, and sparrows usually live about 3 years.


Pest birds’ nests can cause damage to a property. Their nests and nesting materials can clog pipes and cause electrical outages. Some pest bird species will nest in roof vents, which can block airflow. These species are also very protective of their nests and can become aggressive if they feel threatened.


The majority of pest birds will feed on anything from human food to trash. All pest birds will feed on trash, but some species prefer grains like pigeons and sparrows. In addition to grains, sparrows will eat fruits, vegetables, and flowers, and starlings will feed on fruit, seeds, and grubs.


  • Birds are known to carry a range of diseases from the bacteria in their droppings. Some diseases associated with pest birds are: 

    • E. coli - Sometimes birds eat material from cow manure, creating the risk of an E. coli transmission through bird droppings that can end up in water supplies or food.

    • Salmonella - This bacteria is found in bird droppings. It can dry and become dusty, and can then get sucked into air vents, ending up on food or in water.

    • Fungal infections - Such as histoplasmosis and cryptococcosis. These infections can affect the lungs or the heart of those infected and are primarily transmitted by seagulls.

    • St. Louis Encephalitis - This disease is an inflammation of the nervous system that can actually lead to coma and death.

Frequently asked questions

How do you get rid of birds?

The best way to get rid of birds on your property is to make your property less appealing to them. Using different repellents and deterrents, including products such as bird spikes, bird nets, Avian Block™, and Bird-Out™, will force the birds to relocate and nest in a different location.

How do you get rid of seagulls?

The best way to protect your property from the noise and smell of a seagull infestation is with professional seagull control. Western Exterminator Technicians use a variety of humane and effective bird control methods to keep seagulls off of your property. These include exclusion, netting, grid systems, deterrents, or UV repellents.

How do you get rid of pigeons?

Soliciting the help of a professional pigeon control expert is the best way to get rid of pigeons on your property. The Western Exterminator Technicians know how to control pigeons and will choose the right control method based on the circumstances. Some pigeon control methods include exclusion, netting, trapping, UV repellents, or sensory perch modifications.

How do you get rid of starlings?

There are various methods to get rid of starlings on your property. The method chosen will depend on a few factors, such as property type, area of application, and location. Some methods include exclusion, netting, single bird traps, UV repellents, and misting.

How do you avoid birds at your business?

To get rid of birds around your business, use deterrent products that encourage the bird to land and/or nest somewhere else. If you own a restaurant, make sure you keep the outdoor trash area clean and as far away from the business as possible. Also, bus tables quickly if you have outdoor seating.


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