We aren't the only ones celebrating the melting of the snow and the return of warmer weather. As spring marches ever onward, the wide variety of wildlife sharing our cities with us are beginning to come out of their wintertime hiding places and make themselves known.
While birds can be a pleasant reminder that spring is finally here, if you're a facility manager, they also can be a serious headache. These feathered fliers can be pesky, and they can also damage the appearance of your building or even carry harmful bacteria. Here are a few ways to keep your local bird population on the wing this spring.
Why you should give birds the boot
Some facility managers may be wondering, what's the big deal with birds anyway? These unassuming avians can actually cause serious damage to your building. For starters, they leave a very specific calling card in their wake - bird droppings and feathers can quickly have a negative impact on a facility's appearance. Urban birds such as pigeons are particularly fond of human food, which means that anybody who tries to take a nice leisurely lunch outside is going to have some unwanted guests pretty quickly.
More than aesthetic offense, however, birds can also pose a significant health risk. According to FacilitiesNet, birds have been linked to all sorts of health ailments, ranging from headaches to cardiopulmonary diseases to coma - conditions that have been tied to bacteria present in bird droppings.
Keep them away
Once a flock of birds starts roosting on your roof and builds a nest, getting rid of them can be very difficult. This is why much of the wisdom surrounding bird control tends to focus on prevention. As with many important building maintenance operations, keeping your facility bird-free begins with thorough and regular inspections. FacilitiesNet suggested beginning these audits in the late winter, when birds may first start looking for places to roost come spring.
The best way to keep birds from gathering at your building is to make your facility an environment that they won't find attractive. Keep any nearby trees closely trimmed, so that long limbs don't offer enticing shelter to potential nest-makers. Also pay close attention to eliminating the other major attraction for birds - food. Discarded food and even trash can lure hungry birds to your area. Make cleanliness an essential part of your anti-bird policy. Empty dumpsters regularly, and store them away from the building if possible. Establish a facility-wide policy that puts the responsibility of keeping the exterior food- and trash-free on every tenant.
Strengthen your defenses
Sometimes, birds can be resilient in their efforts to nest. In these instances, you may need to give your own defensive strategy a boost. You may be tempted to run to avicides - the bird equivalent of chemical pesticides - to forcibly evict your unwanted tenants. However, this strategy is discouraged, as these chemical can have harmful effects on those inside your building, and can be difficult and expensive to procure.
There are many defensive architecture fixtures you can add to your building to make your roof extra unwelcoming to birds. Spike strips and adhesive surfaces can be added to ledges, windows and gutters to discourage any winged party-crashers from roosting there. Similarly, you can use audio and visual methods as well. Speakers can be placed in these problem areas that you can then use to broadcast sounds of animals that are predatory to birds, warning them to keep away. You can also employ visual devices, from balloons to bird-repellant reflective foil, all of which can be important cues to birds that they should pass your building by.