Anyone with a bird problem knows all too well about the nuisance it leaves behind – bird poop. As a customer service rep here at Bird-X, I hear countless stories about birds being a problem and the chief complaint is that they leave their droppings everywhere. From pool decks, to cars, to commercial buildings, customers are plagued with the costly issue of having to clean up this disgusting problem. Aesthetically speaking, no one likes to see a large pile of bird poop, but the droppings can cause damage and create a health risk. A bird control program that keeps pest birds away is ideal – but if the damage is already done, here’s what you need to know about dealing with pest bird poop.
Health and Aesthetic Damage
Bird poop contains uric acid which, if left, can easily stain fabrics and eat through paints (mainly seen on cars). The droppings also contain various organisms and insects that can be a problem for those that come in direct contact. People with preexisting lung or other health conditions should avoid dried bird droppings as much as possible. When large quantities of dried bird poop are disrupted, the particles become airborne and cause irritation in the bronchial passage. Worse, this can transmit fungal diseases such as Histoplasmosis or Cryptococcosis. These diseases are caused by fungal spores within the poop and can even contaminate soil that is overexposed. If a large quantity of bird poop is disturbed by excavation, construction, or demolition, it can become aerosolized and travel with dust particles to infect others nearby.
Steps for Safe Removal
Birds are attracted back to familiar places where they have left their scent, so removing the droppings creates a ‘clean slate’ in more ways than one. Proper cleanup of the bird poop is essential – not only to protect those in that area – but also to increase the effectiveness of any bird deterrent items in use. Also, installation of physical barriers, such as bird spikes or Bird Proof Gel, can be less effective with the presence of bird poop. The layer of droppings interferes with the barrier adhering to the surface properly.
As explained, bird droppings are hazardous. First, it is imperative to have the proper protective attire when removing the droppings, so you should evaluate the severity of the issue. For small amounts of poop, like one or two spots on your car, make sure that you thoroughly wash your hands and any other areas that come in direct contact with the droppings. It’s a good idea to wear plastic gloves. A protective mask is essential in protecting yourself and others when dealing with any significant quantity of bird poop. Plastic gloves and protective eyewear are also highly recommended. For extra precaution, cover or seal any heating/cooling vents to ensure any dried dust particles do not spread. With severe cases, it is best to call in trained, fully-equipped decontamination professionals so as to avoid all risk. In such hazardous settings, full protective clothing and a respirator mask are imperative in ensuring safety. Above all, never send children, untrained amateurs or anyone in poor health to clean up affected areas.
Use a disinfectant cleaning agent to remove residues. Most over the counter products will work for small amounts of bird poop. For more severe cases there are cleaners specifically made to kill the various bacteria and other organisms in bird droppings. Adding water to dried deposits helps to loosen them. Strongly scented disinfectants such as Pine Sol help to replace any remaining, familiar scent from the droppings with an alien sensory stimulus.
To ensure that this is not an ongoing issue, you will want to have any bird deterrent materials on hand so that when the task of cleaning is done, installation can begin right away. Accurate assessment of the area is imperative in choosing proper bird deterrents. For a free evaluation call 1-800-662-5021 or click here.
Now, What to Do with the Droppings?
Bird poop is actually a great additive to any fertilizer or compost. The phosphorus in the droppings and other nutrients makes it highly beneficial to your garden, especially for green vegetables. Make sure it is covered with compost to avoid risk of airborne contamination. If you don’t plan to recycle the droppings for fertilizer, the droppings must be double bagged, secured, and left in the trash disposal bin to be taken to the landfill.
Did you know?
Bird poop is actually a mixture of all the bird’s waste products, both digestive and urinary. Birds poop whenever they take flight, to avoid the energy cost of carrying any waste material with them. Parent birds will fly off the nest carrying gel-coated sacs of droppings from their offspring, to conceal their whereabouts and deposit them far from the nest. They are specially attracted to bodies of water on these missions, since water hides droppings better than land, which is why parent birds keep dropping poop in your swimming pool.
Bird poop – Pigeon in particular – was highly prized in the 16th, 17th, and 18th century. This was due to a chemical property in the droppings that was used to make gunpowder. Armed guards were stationed outside of coops to ensure that the prized bird poop was not stolen for a profit.
-Elizabeth Price, Bird-X Blogger