Have you noticed that birds are drawn to specific homes and gardens whilst leaving others untouched? Your neighbours may be enjoying a beer in the backyard or tea on the terrace. Meanwhile, you’re faced with poop on the patio and feathers in your fettuccini. So, you may ask yourself, why do birds hang around my home?
To determine why birds consider your home to be a ‘prime location’, it’s necessary to consider what they are looking for in a new home. Birds choose their nesting places on very different criteria to that of humans. When looking for a ‘good location,’ we may consider the need for schools, travel links, doctor surgery and shops in the locality. Certain features can also sway our decisions, such as a swimming pool, terrace, garden, or drive. In short, our new home must meet our family’s needs so that we can enjoy the time we spend in our home. Some families spend several generations in the same home, maintaining and renovating it to meet the needs of their family. Bird nests are not homes for a lifetime but homes for a season. Even if the birds travel to the same location, they will usually build a new nest for their next brood.
Birds – Friend or Foe?
Birds tend to flock together for warmth and protection. The idea of cute tiny hatchlings snuggled in the nest sounds beautiful but, unfortunately, is often accompanied by loud and protective mothers nearby. The noise and droppings produced by a flock of nesting birds can be overpowering. Many pest birds such as Indian mynas, feral pigeons, sparrows, starlings and the European blackbird compete aggressively with native birds for space and food sources. When bird pests realise your home is a good place to nest and roost, you could find yourself with an infestation.
Birds spread diseases such as Campylobacter, Salmonella and Psittacosis (Ornithosis), which can cause serious illness in humans.
According to Safeworkaustralia.com.au, some diseases transmitted by birds through viruses, bacteria, fungi, and parasites can even be fatal.
If you can identify the points which make your property so inviting to birds, you can set about making it less hospitable.
What Makes Your Home A Good Location – A Birds Eye View
Nesting and Roosting space
One of the most important considerations would be the availability of nesting and roosting space. Many mothers don’t sleep in the nest with their hatchlings but roost nearby. Therefore there must be sufficient space to house the nest with room for roosting close by.
Beyond the reach of predators
Birds are prey to many animals, so they will try to choose somewhere out of reach. So somewhere hidden and high up, which provides protection and shelter. Safety from predators is of prime importance and especially so if they are nesting.
Guttering, ledges, nooks and crevices of a home all make excellent locations to hatch and nurture the nestlings until they are ready to fly the nest.
However, if there is no food source close by, the location would not be ideal, no matter how high or hidden.
A safe spot with a plentiful food source in sight of the roosting birds makes an ideal location. Critical if the bird is nesting. A baby chick will need to be fed 6 – 10 times per day in the first week of life. Each time the parents leave the nest, they risk their own lives and the lives of their vulnerable brood. They must avoid a lengthy or arduous flight between nest and food source.
Change The Vibe
Now that you can see what makes a good location from a bird’s eye view take a look around and ask yourself again, “why do birds hang around my home?”
Is there uninterrupted and easy access to balconies, guttering, ledges or crevices? These areas make excellent sites for nesting and roosting.
If you don’t want your home to be a drop-in centre for local birds, you may need to consider bird proofing your property. A fully licensed and certified bird pest controller can identify the areas of concern and recommend the best approach to resolve the problem.
As birds look for nesting and roosting sites beyond the reach of predators, you may not be able to reach or even see them. Specific jobs will need specialist equipment such as a boom lift or cherry picker. It’s much safer to use a licensed and certified professional to work at heights than to risk it yourself.
Trees hanging heavy with ripe fruit or pet bowls full of delicious food and water are invitations to dinner for hungry birds. Remove or cover food sources. You can also use netting, visual deterrents and sound based systems to deter pest birds or simply call in an expert in bird control.
Home Sweet Home
Before deciding on a course of action, it’s worth checking what type of bird has decided to call your home ‘home’. If it’s an ‘endangered’ bird, you might prefer to wait until after the fledglings have flown the nest rather than try to remove them immediately.
Australian law protects endangered bird species. Consider seeking advice from a bird control expert before taking any action.
If they are pest birds such as feral pigeons, Indian mynas, starlings, blackbirds and sparrows, then you may want to limit or eradicate them from your property. A few congregating birds can soon turn into an infestation.
Advice from a professional bird control expert may help you to make an informed decision in your quest to regain control of your home.
Instead of a quick dash to the car to avoid aerial birdie bombers, you can start to enjoy your home and garden again. Take control and change the vibe. Making changes will ensure that your home no longer appears on the recommended accommodation list of Bird and Home.
Just imagine sipping a pina colada on the patio, taking tea on the terrace or a beer on the balcony.
Home sweet home.