When Birds Become a Nuisance Rather than a Welcome Presence in Your Yard: Protecting Your Garden and Keeping them out of Your Home
Southeastern Wisconsin is rich in wildlife, with a stunning variety of birds present throughout the year. Residents do not need an extensive yard to enjoy these mostly welcome visitors and provide roosts and baths for their enjoyment. However, homeowners with larger properties have more opportunities to attract a wide variety of birds, with gardens and trees and perhaps inopportune nesting areas away from heavily trafficked areas.
Aside from the pleasure of our viewing and the beauty of their songs, birds are quite beneficial to our yards and gardens for pest and insect control. They naturally feast on slugs, mosquitoes, worms and other insects harmful to our gardens and annoying to us; a single swallow can devour a hundred bugs in a single day. Small birds in particular need food year-round to keep them present, and they also need ideal places to hide and nest to offer protection from predators. Finding the balance between attracting these beautiful creatures and preventing them from devouring the fruits of our garden and not just the pests can be tricky, along with providing them with natural habitats versus invading our own homes.
Custom-built homes may avoid invasions of their garages, boat houses and other outhouses (in terms of nesting and resulting “dive-bombing” once eggs are present) if the property boasts bird-friendly trees such as densely needled conifers. Other native trees to Southeastern Wisconsin such as oak, cedar, birch and maple provide insects, seeds and nest sites, while ornamental plantings such as crabapples, cherries and mulberry will attract flocks of birds to their blossoms and berries. In some cases, birds such as blue jays can rob us of our garden’s harvest, and there are some simple tricks to deter these robbers and have them search elsewhere for food:
- Mylar balloons or bright strings around garden posts are effective deterrents
- High tech birdbusters that emit the screech of an owl are as effective on piers to deter geese and ducks as in the garden
- Netting constructed above seedlings in the garden before roots are resistant to birds
Many luxury custom homes may boast lush gardens and properties replete with bird friendly trees to provide the necessary habitat for birds and their nesting requirements, yet still struggle with birds nesting in the home or outhouses instead. Aside from a physical nuisance, bird droppings can carry transmittable diseases and contain acidic matter that can erode building materials. Experts advise tactics to deter their nesting in homes and outdoor living spaces that are physical, auditory and visual:
- Bird spikes are effective to prevent roosting along window sills, ledges, fences and eaves
- “Lifelike” plastic falcons and owls can be perched on rooftops, piers and in gardens
- Visual bird deterrents also include simple reflective tapes and flashing objects commonly used in backyard and patio settings
- Transparent gels and netting to prevent sparrows in particular from entering eaves
- Bird netting and beak guard applied to the home’s siding will protect from woodpeckers and other birds attempting to create a nest
- Termite control and other inspections to ensure your home is free from insect infestation that attract birds to your home
A few careful measures can ensure the enjoyment of nature and bird habitats in the surrounds of a luxury custom built home, keeping the boundaries and home safe for the residents and our beautiful friends.