Known by many as rats of the bird world, pigeons may be one of the most unloved birds around. Pigeons are a very common sighting, especially in cities and suburbs. They can usually be seen on roofs, dumps and city parks, where they are often fed by visitors. They are terribly annoying and often leave their mark on your roof by leaving you gifts of their unsightly pigeon droppings. Pigeons flutter and peck and flop on every available human living and working space they can find. In fact, pigeons are better adapted to urban streets and windowsills than gardens. It has been reported that pigeons cause tens of millions of dollars of damage every year to machinery, automobiles, roofs and ventilation systems. In fact, pigeon is supposed to be the single, most serious pest bird in the United States. Pigeon damages reported to Wildlife Services ranged from $198,209 to $6,412,725 per year!
Evidently, these pesky creatures can cause significant damage to structures in urban areas. Pigeon activity in and around a building may directly damage the structure by lifting roof coverings to force an entry. More seriously, they are known to block rainwater drainage systems with their faeces and feathers. This could result in massive water leakage and severe decay problems. Warehouses, in particular, may experience great damage, even collapsed roofs, when drainage systems are blocked and standing water is forced to rise. This is because bird droppings contain uric acid, which, at a pH of 3 to 4.5, can eat through most of the building materials. A collapsed roof could put a company out of business, cause serious physical damage or even result in death. Also, these birds may build nests in chimneys and ventilation systems which could effectively block airflow to the building. People can be killed by carbon monoxide poisoning when bird nests block the exhaust system. Besides, the nests are usually flammable as they are made up of twigs, straw and dried droppings. Nests constructed on or near electric machinery pose a severe risk of fire hazards. Thus bird droppings and nesting materials may be a huge cause of concern if they are not corrected immediately and allowed to accumulate.
The presence of feral pigeons and most importantly their faeces represents a potential health hazard to the general public. These annoying birds are known to be carriers of a number of life-threatening diseases including salmonellosis, psittacosis and pseudo-tuberculosis. The faeces of pigeons provide an ideal environment for the growth of the organisms causing several such diseases. Pigeon droppings are thus a huge problem in places where large accumulations have been allowed to build-up. Dealing with such accumulations can be expensive and time consuming because of the protective equipment and procedures that may be required for its maintenance. The presence of faeces on walkways and ledges leads to slippery roads which may pose a serious risk of accidents if not taken care of at once. An apprentice elevator mechanic obtained a $2.7 million settlement from a property owner after bird droppings caused him to slip and fall down an elevator shaft!
Let us look at this article published in the Southern Courier.
Pigeons collapse ceiling on sleeping residents
The ceiling was home to a flock of pigeons that caused the damage as they forced their way inside the roof.
By James Mahlokwane and Lucky Thusi | 8 May 2014
SOUTH HILLS – Five family members and one pregnant lady from South Hills were woken by a shocking sound of a ceiling falling in on the morning of Monday May 05 at around 03:00.
The ceiling fell inches away from the pregnant lady and two young men who were sleeping on the bed and sofas in the room.
The ceiling was home to a flock of pigeons that caused the damage even after repairs as they forced their way inside the roof.
“My son did not go to school today because of what happened. The furniture is ruined and I do not see us using them again, because they are infested by pigeon lice.
“The whole Tornaka Court building needs to be fixed, especially the top block. Our next door neighbours also have ceilings breaking and falling,” said DeVilliers.
ANC councilor Bev Turk said she has advised Housing about the state of the flats and they are now aware of it and would try to eradicate the problem.
The De Villiers family said they would appreciate it if people could donate a ceiling, TV, beds and sofas to them at 27 Tornaka Court, Outspan Road, South Hills.
“We would be happy if we could get an electrician to come help us with the wiring. Anyone who could help fumigate the flat to kill the pigeon lice would also be appreciated,” said Rene de Villiers.
It has been reported that the management costs associated with pigeon control are $9 per bird per year! This highlights the importance of control of these birds to avoid significant problems related to building management and maintenance and health hazards. However, the control techniques used today are often inappropriate or misapplied with the result that they are ineffective. This is not a grave issue as tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars can be spent on techniques of pigeon control which eventually fail. This is because these creatures are able to adapt over time to circumvent most measures. Pigeons are graceful creatures and an integral part of our eco-system. Hence, killing of such birds would have a profound impact on the environment. This calls for a safe and environment-friendly modus operandi to deal with the damage caused by pigeons.
C Tech Corporation offers a non-toxic, non-hazardous means of averting these birds. Combirepel™ is a non-toxic, non-hazardous, eco-friendly rodent and bird aversive. This product works by repelling the birds; it causes no harm to the bird or the surroundings. It is available in lacquer form which can be used to coat wood and other polymeric surfaces. Thus it can be applied on pipes, roof panels, heritage structures and statues to inhibit any bird activity near it. It is also available in the form of masterbatch and liquid solutions which can be incorporated in a wide range of applications. This eco-friendly product would surely clear the way for absolute harmony between mankind and birds!