Pest birds like pigeons, myna birds or English starlings can cause real problems for your home or garden. They're irritating, they damage plants and harass pets, and they leave unsightly droppings that can even cause damage to gutters. Some also carry diseases. Despite these problems, many homeowners don't like the idea of killing birds -- and indeed, killing them can often cause more problems than it solves. To rid your garden of these pests without killing them, try some of these humane pest control methods.
Remove what attracts them
Birds typically flock to areas that provide them with food and shelter. Bird feeders may be drawing undesirable birds to your garden with the promise of free food, while bird baths and other sources of drinking water should also be covered or removed to stop your unwelcome visitors from drinking. Make sure that rubbish bins are firmly covered; scavenging birds may be looking for scraps from them.
Stop them perching
Another way to deter unwelcome birds is to prevent them from perching or nesting on your property. Seek out and destroy nests, but beware: pigeons in particular build flimsy nests that are easy to rebuild. You'll need to be persistent and destroy nests repeatedly before they get the idea they're unwelcome. Additionally, consider adding bird netting or spikes to places where birds regularly perch. Netting prevents birds from flying into areas such as under eaves, while spikes prevent them from landing on a surface altogether. Of course, covering parts of your home in sharp spikes may not be appealing; if that's a problem, you can buy sticky gels to prevent birds nesting on exposed surfaces. Overhead netting or wire can also deter birds from flying into gardens or flower beds.
From traditional to high-tech, scare devices exploit birds' natural fear of humans and predators to frighten them away. Homemade scare devices such as scarecrows or hanging mirrors can be effective, although for maximum efficacy you should move them regularly; after a short time, birds learn to identify these as false threats. More sophisticated electronic scare devices play recordings of predators to frighten birds away. Several different scare methods combined are usually necessary.
Calling in an expert
If these simple methods don't work, you might have to consider other methods, such as trapping. In these cases, a bird control specialist can advise you about which methods are the most effective and humane for your particular bird infestation.