Urban Wildlife Conflicts

Other Birds

Flickers, which are commonly mistaken for woodpeckers, "drum" on wood sided houses and other good sounding structures during territorial establishment and nesting. These large brownish birds with an orange tint under the wings and tail appear to be drilling for insects when they do their territorial drumming. But, drumming is actually analogous to the male territorial song of other species during the nesting season. The males will usually use up to several drumming sites around their territories and can cause localized damage in wood siding. Occasionally, they will attempt to create nesting cavities in the side of a house. Territorial drumming usually lasts only a couple of weeks, and if birds can be discouraged from using the drumming sites they have selected during this period, the problem will go away once the adults have started rearing their nestlings.

• Some common ways to deal with this problem are to hang Mylar ribbons, pinwheels, aluminum pie plates or any brightly colored object at the site of the drumming. This works because the fluttering frightens the birds away.

• Owl decoys can be used a deterrent as well. They can be obtained from a feed store, sporting goods store catalog, or on the Internet.

• Heavy mesh screen (hardware cloth) can be hung temporarily with a few staples or nails over the area where a flicker is drumming to discourage it and preclude further damage. Cover a large enough area so the bird doesn't just move over to an adjacent area that is not protected by the mesh screen.

Bird Nests

Nest construction in undesirable places can be discouraged earl y in the nest-building period by removing the nesting materials at the nest site. The birds may be persistent once they’ve decided that location is desirable, which means nesting material may have to be removed as often as daily until they are discouraged. Swallow, robin and other nests constructed wholly or partially of mud can be removed with a hose, a broom or a shovel. Exclusion is often the best method. This entails placing something at the site that makes it unusable. Swallows often nest under the eves of houses and outbuildings. Hardware cloth or chicken wire hung loosely down from the soffit just out from the corner of the wall and the soffit during the nest building period precludes the birds from building their nests.

Nestlings on the Ground

Sometimes nestlings fall from the nest prematurely, however this is rare. More commonly, as they are ready to fledge and begin to learn to fly, they will leave the nest and can be found on the ground or in low shrubbery. This period is part of the fledging process. The adults are usually close by continuing to tend them by bringing them food and protecting them from disturbance as they learn to fly and build the strength to do it. Placing them back in the nest, if it can be found, will just result in them leaving it again. The best approach is to leave them alone, or to place them someplace secure nearby where the adults can find them by the young's calls. Pets, especially cats, should be kept away or inside for a few days until the young bird is capable of strong flight.


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