Many people spend a ton of time and money trying to attract birds for the sheer enjoyment of watching and listening to them. Nonetheless, there are times when, for one reason or another, someone is looking for a way to get rid of birds. Round up the usual suspects—European starlings, house sparrows, crows, chimney swifts, and pigeons—not because they are “bad birds” but simply because there are circumstances that sometimes place us in conflict. This article will give you some basics that will help with a range of conflicts that you may encounter with birds.
Get rid of birds…
Some of the main conflicts that arise between birds and people are a result of where birds choose to nest or roost. If you’re a bird, vents, chimneys, eaves, and other parts of a home can seem like handy places to get extra protection from weather and predators. As a homeowner, can you remove such nests? With native birds there are both legal and ethical considerations. It is always best to check with your local animal control agency or state wildlife agency to determine what is permissible in your particular circumstances. There are simply too many variables to cover in a single article.
For issues that arise with birds in your yard, the solutions are a bit easier. Here are a few things you can do to make your yard less attractive to birds that you don’t want around:
- Birds getting into trash? Put trash out at the curb in a metal trashcan with a lid, rather than just in a plastic bag.
- Do you put food scraps in an open compost pile? Either put only yard waste in the pile or obtain a closed bin for composting.
- Excessive numbers of birds roosting in your yard? Thin and prune your trees.
- Birds munching things in your veggie garden? Add bird netting or row covers, or try making them wary of the area by adding Mylar streamers or pie tins that flutter in the wind. Be sure to monitor netted areas on a daily basis to be sure no animal becomes entangled. A motion-detecting oscillating sprinkler may also help.
- Non-native birds using nest boxes? Opt for boxes with smaller entrance holes (species-specific nest boxes)—bluebird boxes have openings small enough to keep out starlings, and chickadee boxes have openings small enough to keep out house sparrows.
- Non-native birds scarfing up all your birdseed? Buy feeders designed for smaller birds—or smaller beaks. Offer thistle, preferred only by smaller native birds.
- Wondering whether to try using poison to get rid of birds? Definitely not. It’s a slow, excruciating death that destroys the heart and kidneys, and it happens to any bird who eats it, or possibly even to a neighbor’s pet. Poison is always a mistake.
Whatever the conflict with birds may be, there are ways you can change things up to make your home or yard less attractive to them. Once they move on, continue the new practices that worked, and you’ll keep others from moving in.