With any length of time spent outside in Oklahoma, one sound is almost guaranteed to be heard. For Oklahomans, birds can be the source of a pleasurable outdoor experience or a battle cry for property damage. The idea of birds being a pest isn’t a popular idea; however, for individuals experiencing a bird infestation the problems associated with it can very costly.
Birds look for elevated areas to nest. When a home’s roof or eave becomes a sustainable home, roof and structural damage become an unwelcome reality. Bird droppings are highly corrosive and over time can deteriorate most any building material. Bird droppings also have the power to discolor paint, short-circuit electrical equipment and clog gutters.
Given the nature of gathering and travel that birds have adapted to; parasites are readily transported with them. Mites, ticks and fleas can be easily brought to the property that birds nest on. With the introduction of these parasites, the health of all residents within the home or business is being put in jeopardy.
Signs of Birds
When determining the severity of a bird infestation, or just a few birds nesting on the property, there are several signs that may help validate your findings. If experiencing any of these signs within a home, it is most likely time to contact a professional.
- Congregation - When birds flock in large groups together, more often than not, they are migrating to a new location seeking warmth or fulfilling other factors necessary for survival. However, if birds are taking root in the trees or near the home you will see an increase in the population of birds present. This could signal that infestation has already begun.
- Bird Droppings - Within large cities, the amount of bird droppings littering sidewalks and cars can be a maddening sight. When bird droppings dry they can take a powdery form that, when disturbed, can be inhaled and cause a host of problems physically. Large amounts of visible droppings can be a sign that a bird problem may be worsening.
- Property Damage - When birds are looking for a suitable nesting area, they tend to look for a sheltered and secluded place. When these criteria aren’t met birds will take matters into their own hands and modify roofs and other home components to accommodate their needs. Visible structural damage, particularly on roofs and eaves can mean birds are nesting on your property.
- Noise - When bird numbers compound the soothing chirp of morning birds can easily become a cacophony of earaches. When large groups of birds make their way into an attic a whole home will be filled with the sound of the birds.
When determining a location for a potential nest site several factors must be taken into account. The most important aspects are the availability of reliable food sources and adequate protection from other animals that may disturb the nest. Once a bird has bred, a suitable nesting location is found and the nest is built the life cycle begins.
- Embryo - When laid, an egg will contain the embryo of what will become a bird given no predatory interference and suitable conditions. To ensure normal development, birds incubate eggs to maintain temperatures suitable for development. Incubation times vary, but a larger bird can mean a longer incubation time. While in this life cycle the embryo develops an “egg tooth” to aid in breaking the shell. Within a few days of hatching, the tooth will drop off.
- Hatchling/Nestling - Once a developed bird hatches from its shell it becomes a hatchling. At this life cycle stage, the bird is confined to the nest where the parents feed it and it grows. During this time the hatchling is named a nestling due to its time stuck in the nest. While in the nestling phase, the juvenile bird grows its flight feathers and prepares to take its first flight.
- Fledgling - When a juvenile bird takes its first flight it becomes a fledgling. Birds within this stage will have a soft, fluffy feathers. While still being fed by the parents, the fledging continues to build wing strength and grow flight feathers. Once these have formed the fledgling becomes an adult bird.
- Adult Bird - Adult birds are responsible for continuing the life cycle by restarting the process. Adult birds will seek out potential mates, build nests and aid new hatchlings into adulthood.
Several species of bird can be considered pests within Oklahoma. Different species of birds may have different nesting methods, which may cause different problems to a home or business. Professional help may be necessary for controlling and eradicating a bird infestation at your home or business.
- Blackbird - Characterized by its black feathers and yellow beak, the blackbird can be found throughout North America. For farmers who produce grain, blackbirds can be detrimental to crop quality. As blackbirds feed on grain and seed, they are prone to damaging crop yields and introducing contaminates through fecal matter.
- Cowbird - Cowbirds are a common appearance throughout the United States. With a black-brown coloration, these stocky birds are frequently found near agricultural areas. Cowbirds, like the blackbird, like to feed on grains and can ruin crop yields. One of the preferred foods of this bird, however, are small fruits. This food preference makes vineyards and orchards at an increased risk of cowbird infestations.
- Sparrow - Found in most parts of the world, the sparrow is one of the more recognizable types of birds in existence. The sparrow achieves its pest title due to its nesting and feeding habits. Problems associated with sparrow nesting include nests created within man-made structures and an affinity for grains, stored or growing. Sparrows are a carrier of various viruses and can transmit these to livestock through food contamination.
- Pigeon - Pigeons are notorious for overtaking city areas like parks and buildings. The nature of this stems from the waste that humans produce. Pigeons are opportunistic eaters within cities environments and will gladly eat garbage. With a distinct coo and loud flight, the pigeon only lives 3 to 4 years in an urban setting.
- Starling - Starlings have a reputation for the incredible amount of noise a flock can make. Instances of millions of starlings congregating at once have been documented. Due to their large flock numbers, plane malfunctions have been reported as engines fail from sucking in large numbers of the bird. Though not originally native to North America, starlings feed on insects, seeds, fruit, and garbage.
- Woodpecker - Though popularized by cartoons, the woodpecker has the potential to cause enormous damage. When looking for food, the woodpecker uses its beak to drill into wood sources looking for insects. The woodpecker creates large holes within trees and other wooden structures to create suitable nests.
Over time, birds' migratory behaviors have made them excellent conduits of viruses and disease. When birds ingest viruses, they are still contained within the droppings they release. When these droppings dry and are disturbed, the dust inhaled can still contain the viruses. Nest removal procedures without the proper safety equipment can also lead to detrimental health problems.
- Histoplasmosis - Caused by breathing the spores of a fungus found within bird and bat droppings, histoplasmosis is commonly transmitted during cleanup projects or demolitions. Farmers and landscapers are also at risk of histoplasmosis as contaminated soil can also be a transmitter. Symptoms include fever, cough and fatigue. Unless severe, medication is generally not required.
- Salmonella - Transmission of salmonella from bird sources can originate from droppings, feather dust, nasal secretions or oral secretions. Once the originating source is shed, it can be accidentally inhaled by a new host. Symptoms of Salmonella infection include fever, chills, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. Most individuals will recover from Salmonella within a week with adequate fluids and recovery time. In some severe cases, IV fluids and antibiotics may aid recovery.
- Meningitis - Fungal meningitis can develop after the bloodstream transports a fungus to the brain or spinal cord. The fungus can be inhaled from disturbed bird droppings or contaminated soil. Though a rare condition, fungal meningitis targets the spinal cord and can cause photophobia, altered mental states, nausea, fever and headache. Hospitalization with high-dose antifungal medication IVs are required to aid the body in healing.
- Toxoplasmosis - Primarily spread through cat feces, toxoplasmosis can be transmitted by avian sources through food contamination. It is estimated that more than 60 million people within the United States are already infected by the Toxoplasma parasite, but exhibit no symptoms due to a healthy immune system. The parasite creates thick welled structures that cannot be penetrated by conventional medicines, so it remains in the body for life. When symptoms are shown they can include muscle pain, headache and fever. Medications can reduce the severity of the infection but once contracted it cannot be removed.
- Paratyphoid - Paratyphoid can be caused by the bacteria Salmonella paratyphi. After one to two weeks of incubation, hosts exhibit a cough, rash, enlarged spleen, uneasiness, and high fever. Antibiotics and vaccines are required for complete recovery in most cases.
- Avian Influenza - In recent times the news made H5N1, or the bird flu, a hot topic. Though this type of flu normally does not affect humans, there is still an extremely rare chance of contracting this disease. With fewer than 1,000 cases within the United States annually, H5N1 is contracted through contact with infected birds. Symptoms mimic the common influenza virus with fever, coughing, headaches, shortness of breath, and a sore throat. The disease has a high mortality rate in humans; however, antiviral drugs taken within two days of symptoms can increase survivability.
When dealing with a bird infestation professional assistance is almost always required. Depending on the structural damage already committed and nesting locations, it can be a dangerous process. There are several steps you can take to try and minimize a bird problem and help prevent them from targeting your home or business as a potential residence.
- If experiencing an influx of birds due to feeding and housing, removing bird feeders will help encourage birds to move to a new location and seek out alternative food sources.
- Bird spikes can be used as a deterrent for birds that tend to land and roost on the edges of buildings. Bird spike kits are made to require no maintenance or upkeep. Bird repellant gel can also deter birds from landing on ledges, beams, and rafters with no visible changes to the structures.
- Scarecrows, reflective tapes, and motion controlled deterrents are an effective method of deterring birds from coming to a property or getting too close to crops.
Ask the Entomologist
Did you know that birds can spread diseases to you, your pets, and your livestock? More than just being a nuisance, birds spread bacterial, viral, parasitic, and other diseases. By implementing bird control methods, you are exercising good property management and disease control. Many scientists believe that birds evolved from small non-flying theropod dinosaurs. Over time they began growing the first feathers and slowly began resembling the birds we see today.
- Bird control = disease control.
- Bird control = good property management
- Bird control = Arrow Exterminators
Why Arrow Exterminators?
Contact Arrow Exterminators and our bird control experts will make your bird problems fly away. Whether it's a private residence, hotel, restaurant, or more.
We hope this information helps you prevent bird infestations and keeps your home free from damage all year long. If you are struggling with a bird problem at your home or business, give us a call to start a no obligation bird evaluation. The talented technicians at Arrow Exterminators can identify any type of pest and identify the best course of treatment to get rid of it. We’ll create a custom pest control plan to make sure we eliminate every last one from your home and keep them away for good! You can call our trained pest control experts at any time with questions about pest control methods or pest prevention techniques. You can also find us on Twitter, Facebook and Google+ for more pest prevention tips and tricks. Contact Arrow Exterminators and our bird control experts will get you the help you need right away. Whether it's a private residence, dormitory, hotel or any other type of property, Arrow Exterminators has been eliminating pest birds all over Oklahoma since 1952. We know bird control.