Although many people enjoy watching birds, they can become a pest problem in and around structures. These pests can provide a variety of problems including:
- Public health - Birds can harbor disease organisms that can affect people, pets, and domesticated animals. Therefore, when birds infest a structure, the potential for transmission of diseases exists. These diseases include histoplasmosis, ornithosis, samonellosis, cryptococcosis, and others.
- Droppings - Birds leave their dropping around areas that they frequent. Not only is the unpleasant to the eye, but can cause permanent stains and / or cause rusting and corrosion of metal surfaces, including cars.
- Nests - Nests of pigeons and sparrow can clog gutters and rainspouts.
- Ectoparisites - Birds may introduce some ectoparisites into the home such as:
Pigeon Nest Bug
European chicken flea
Northern fowl mite
- Food Contamination - Birds can also be a source of food contamination when they are present in and around food plants, food storage facilities, restaurants, and other building which handle food
Pigeons, also known as rock doves, are found in virtually every city and in most rural communities.
- Size: Average about 13 inches
- Weight: Average about 13 oz.
- Color: Varies from white to black, but usually bluish gray with black bands, 2 narrow cross bands on each wing and a broad terminal tail band, white rump
- Head: Dark and often with greenish purplish iridescence on neck
- Feet: Reddish in color, one rear protruding and three forward protruding toes
- Sound: Soft, with guttural series of rolling coos
These birds are not true sparrows, but are members of the finch family, but are still called house sparrow or English sparrows. They are considered pests because they displace more pleasurable songbirds and their dropping deface building, statues, etc. They are found in southern Canada, throughout the United States, and down through Central and South America.
- Size: About 5 3/4 inches to 6 1/4 inches
- Weight: Average about one oz.
- Color: Males - wings and back brownish streaked in black, wing with white bar, bill black, top of head gray, chestnut stripe behind eye. large black patch under beak on throat and upper breast and underparts gray, but in winter black and chestnut marks hidden by gray feather tips and bill yellowish
- Color: Females - Dusky or dirty brownish gray above with faint black stripes on wings and back and faint chestnut stripe behind eye, beak yellowish and gray below.
- Sound: Shrill, monotones, noisy chirping, with no true song
Starlings are nuisance pests in both urban and rural areas because of the large flocks. Their noise and droppings are objectionable and they can cause large grain and feed loss.
- Size: About 7 1/2 to 8 1/2 inches
- Weight: Average about 2 1/2 to 3 oz.
- Color: In spring and summer, black with iridescent green-purple sheen and yellow bill. In winter, heavily speckled with white and gold and bill is dark
- Build: Stocky and short tailed
- Feet: Short and bearing 1 rear projecting and 3 forward projecting toes
- Sound: A simple low-pitched, chirpy chatter interspersed with whistles and clicks, and mimicked songs and calls
This is the most widespread and commonly seen goose. It was once migratory and still is to some degree, but may overwinter whereever food is abundant.
- Size: About 22 to 45 inches long
- Color: Typically brownish gray, head and neck black with white patch on cheeks and chin, bill, legs, and feet black, and rump white.
- Neck: Long, stretching several inches above rest of body
- Feet: Webbed
- Sound: Loud, resonant honking
Although sea gulls have been long associated with seacoasts, some species have extended their range far inland, attracted by landfills and agriculture. They are pests around landfills, farms, harbors, and when begging for food. They also foul residential and commercial buildings and public areas with their droppings. They also account for approximately half of the airplane-bird strikes. They are found worldwide.
- Size: From 11 to 30 inches
- Color: Mainly white with no brown plumage. Tail whitish with no dark bars
- Head: Color of head can vary from dirty white/brown to pure white/black. Slightly hooked bill
- Feet: Webbed
- Body: Long pointed wings, usually short fan shaped tail
- Sound: Produce a cawing sound
The woodpecker's constant pecking at wood (for food, shelter, and territorial establishment and mating calls) gives this bird its name. When they attack wood structures, they can cause damage, not to mention a nuisance to the residents. These birds are federally protected. Different species can be found throughout North America.
- Size: About 6 to 18 inches
- Color: Most males with some red on head and many species have black and white markings.
- Bill: Stout and sharply pointed, chisel-like
- Feet: Two sharp clawed backward pointed toes
- Tail: Tail feather still and spiney so that tail can be used as a support prop