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As the urban sprawl continues to expand and encroach more on the natural environment, we are faced with the increased likelihood of more wildlife being forced to coexist in our urban landscape and this can in some instances cause them to become a pest. At Murray Pest Control we have seen a dramatic increase in enquiries regarding bird control, mainly for feral pigeons and starlings.

The term “feral pigeon” is given to a domestic homing pigeon when it returns to the wild. Domestic pigeons were introduced to Australia in the 1700’s as a means of communication between colonies and as a food source, nowadays racing pigeons are used as a form of recreation. Our environment is perfect for feral flocks to increase in numbers and dominate the urban landscape. Our landfill sites provide an ample source of food. Our high-rise apartment living and new home design styles provide ideal artificial cliff faces for pigeons to nest upon. These factors have contributed to the successful rise of the feral pigeon.

Starlings are another introduced species that has thrived in Australian conditions. Similar to the domestic pigeons, starlings were introduced to Australia in the 1880’s by the Acclimatisation Society and other like-minded societies, in the vain hope that they might be able to control insect pests that were damaging crops. Instead they contributed to damage to horticultural industries, in particular stone fruit and vegetable crops throughout South Australia. Nowadays, starlings are increasingly opting to nest in roofs instead of trees.

Both these species pose a risk to our health and wellbeing, from bacterial infections like Salmonellosis and Chlamydiosis to fungal diseases like Histoplasmosis, Cryptococosis and Psittacosis which are associated with bird droppings and nesting material. They can also have an effect on a person’s temperamental wellbeing when living with a bird infestation. Continuous noise can impact on and interfere with regular sleep patterns. Then there are the more common issues caused by other parasites that naturally feed on birds. There are more than forty different parasites that can feed off birds. Bird mites, which if left unaddressed, can quickly escalate into a heavy infestation. Bird mites can be the cause of small red bites which are often very itchy and in some severe cases can cause skin irritation that maybe miss diagnosed as scabies.

The longer that a bird infestation remains, the more expensive it will become. By continuously spending time and resources cleaning up droppings and removing nests off buildings will create a build-up of costs that could have been avoided. The best way to resolve an infestation is to exclude birds from the area by using a variety of methods such as netting, spikes and the Avi wire system.

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