Bird deterrent vs. bird exclusion


May 17, 2021


This sparrow is one of three non-protected bird species, the other two being the starling and pigeon. PHOTO: PCHOUI/ISTOCK/GETTY IMAGES PLUS/GETTY IMAGES

Time after time, I go on site inspections, and I find bird spikes being used to control a sparrow problem with severe nesting or pigeons nesting within bird spikes.

When conducting an initial site inspection, you must understand that certain bird species and bird pressure levels will require different bird control methods. Not every bird problem can be resolved by installing bird spikes.

Let’s review.

Bird deterrents can include spikes, electrified tracks, wires, gels, sound units, lasers and visual devices. These products are intended to make it difficult for birds to land on the treated areas.

By comparison, bird exclusion products include netting, steel mesh, ledge exclusion products and structural modifications. With bird exclusion methods, you make a physical alteration to the impacted area that permanently excludes pest birds from gaining access to the treated areas.

To determine which of the two methods is a better fit to remedy your bird problem, ask yourself the following:

  1. What is the target pest bird species you are trying to control?
  2. Have the pest birds nested?

If the birds have nested, I recommend using a bird exclusion method, regardless of the pest bird species. Once pest birds have nested, in most cases, bird deterrent devices will not deter them!

If the pest birds have not nested, the pest bird species is important because, for larger birds such as pigeons and seagulls, bird deterrent devices may be appropriate methods. If the target pest bird is sparrows, these devices may not be as effective (see the photo above, for example — although in many cases this can also be chalked up to letting too much time elapse between follow-up visits at the account).

When evaluating a pest bird problem, nesting and the target pest bird species should always be your starting points in selecting the most appropriate bird control solution to resolve your client’s specific pest bird problem.

MADDEN is president of Tinton Falls, N.J.-based AviAway Bird Control Services, which provides bird control services and consulting throughout the United States and Internationally. He may be reached at


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