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Effective Bird Management – Know the Basics

Effective Bird Management – Know the Basics

4, September 2018

Even the smallest bird can potentially cause serious complications to business with significant cost, as all UK birds, their young and nests are protected by law under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. Some birds (schedule 1) are protected further and it is an offence to even disturb them whilst they are nesting. It is a common misconception that birds such as pigeons and crows, often referred to as pest species are not protected they are however under the General Licence if an authorised person observes the conditions stated within the licence they may kill or take certain species listed. Failure to observe these conditions puts the individual at risk of up to a £5,000 fine or 6 months in prison.

Nuisance Bird Issues

Nuisance birds, especially pigeons and gulls, are known to cause a variety of issues including:

Bird fouling – deposits on buildings, solar panelling, cars, stock, rooftop plant machinery or walkways can be a significant hazard and health and safety risk.

Aggressive behaviour – very common during the nesting season (March – September).

Nesting in or on buildings – clogging drains and flues, encouraging insect infestation.

Noise – Some bird species are very loud, for example the gull calls can be disruptive to business or residential areas.

Ground nesting – ground nesting bird species can cause significant development delays and costs if not managed correctly or legally.

The legislative nuances relating to birds are highly complex, it is advisable to commission a survey from an experienced bird expert. They can put a mitigation plan in place to ensure operations are approved and legal, which will provide auditable evidence safeguarding your project / site.

Bird Management Solutions

A broad range of bird management solutions are available with measures that include deterrents such as (non-lethal) falconry and laser systems to modify behaviours and encourage birds not to settle at particular sites.

Preventative Solutions may include:

  • Bird Netting
  • Bird Spikes
  • Electric Bird Wire
  • Non-toxic Bird Gel
  • Lasers Deterrents

Bird deterrent solutions may include:­­

  • Falconry Response – these programmes are a live visual deterrent to scare birds from an area. The presence of a hawk or falcon quickly makes an area undesirable to nuisance birds and encourages them to establish a new pattern of behaviour away from your site.
  • Egg and nest removal

Occasionally lethal forms of bird control are required however it is wise to use this as a last resort as there are a wide range of highly effective non-lethal methods available.

What to do?

Although anyone is able to install bird proofing it is recommended to seek advice and ensure the person installing the solution has a good understanding of bird behaviour and be able to install the solution correctly which will increase the effectiveness of the deterrent.

In some situations a preventative measure may not be effective or practical and it may be possible to carry out bird control operations under the ‘General Licence’ which can be relied upon if the following criterion are met:

  • Good reason. Preserve Public Health or Public Safety, Prevent serious damage or disease or flight safety.
  • You are authorised to do so by the owner or occupier of the land or property.
  • The owner or occupier is satisfied that appropriate legal methods of resolving the problem such as scaring and proofing are either ineffective or impracticable.

Licence conditions vary for England, Scotland and Wales and are issued by governing bodies such as Natural England, Scottish National Heritage and Welsh Assembly. There are a variety of licences available and it is important you know which one you are operating under and the regulations attached.

A limited number of bird species are included under general license – we encourage you to consult with Natural England or the appropriate body to ensure suitable bird control methods are used to meet their guidelines.

We would always recommend you call an expert if you are unsure of the law or the most safe and effective solution to use.


As featured in PPC magazine by the BPCA

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