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Subject: Bird control and outdoor sculpture

Bird control and outdoor sculpture

From: Michael Trinkley <chicora1>
Date: Saturday, May 13, 1995
Birds are among the most difficult pests to control, partially
because of their biology and partially because of public sentiment.

There is no simple solution. By this, I mean that the various
ultrasonic methods so frequently advertised have been shown to be
ineffective.The most effective solutions--trimming the tree or
moving the sculpture--have been ruled out.

So, that leaves us with a relatively limited arsenal of approaches.
One individual has suggested the use of a sticky substance. Examples
are "Bird Proof," manufactured by Bird-X, Inc. or "4 the Birds" by
J.T. Eaton & Co., as well as several others. All are very similar,
consisting of a transparent, tacky repellant usually applied with a
standard caulking gun or sprayed on for complete coverage. As has
been pointed out, birds are not inclined to nest or perch where the
surface is tacky. This surface, however, also picks up leaves, dust,
and debris. The amount depends on the environment. Consequently, the
surface requires periodic cleaning with replacement of the product.
Most of the products can be removed using mineral spirits, naphtha,
or power cleaning agents. So, yes, this class of product works, but
its lifespan is hard to predict without knowing the precise
application location. The effect of frequent application and removal
must be assessed on a case by case basis. In addition, if the
sculpture is being soiled by birds in the overhanging tree, the
product will not help.

Other possible control methods include gas cannons, alarms,
revolving lights, and pyrotechnics. These tend to become virtually
useless once the birds become accustomed to the noise or lights.
Likewise, plastic owls, snakes, and so forth are effective for only
short periods of time.

Application of various spike and wire products can also deter birds
from roosting, but are likely inappropriate for sculptures since
they would detract from the presentation. However, for those
interested the range of products include Bird Barrier Birdwire by
Bird Barrier of America, Ecopic, Cat Claw, Nixalite, Birdpoint by
Birdbusters, as well as others. There are also several manufacturers
of bird netting, which draped over the sculpture will discourage
birds from roosting. Manufacturers are Bird Barrier, StealthNet, and
InterNet.

Finally, there is poisoning. Problems here include affecting
non-target species and public perception. Poisoning is usually not a
good idea. Anyone considering this approach might be interested in
Jerry Mix's article, "Public Relations Problems Erupt When Sun
Tackles Pigeon Program," September 1984 _Pest Control_.

Bottom line, outdoor bird control on sculptures is really tough.
Perhaps the tacky products will work for you, but you need to
determine that the product application/removal won't do more harm
than the birds. And you need to be sure that your budget can cover
periodic application, removal, reapplication.

Mike Trinkley, Ph.D.
Chicora Foundation, Inc.
PO Box 8664
Columbia, SC  29202-8664
803-787-6910

                                  ***
                  Conservation DistList Instance 8:91
                   Distributed: Sunday, May 14, 1995
                        Message Id: cdl-8-91-002
                                  ***
Received on Saturday, 13 May, 1995

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