The Midwest’s Most Common Nuisance BirdsApr 13, 2022
Which Midwestern bird species top the list for nuisance issues?
- Canada Goose. The Canada Goose is an amazing conservation success story. In fact, they have been so successful at adapting to urban areas that they are the top nuisance bird nationwide and the bread and butter of the bird control industry. With their copious waste deposits and aggressive behavior, the Canada Goose comes in at number 1 for the most common nuisance bird!
- Gulls. Two closely related species here in the Chicago area, ring-billed and herring gulls, are common nuisance-causing birds, especially near landfills and along the Lake Michigan coastline. With aggressive colonies numbering in the tens of thousands nesting on rooftops, and blanketing people, buildings, cars and beaches with their bacteria and acid-laden white rain, these birds have little competition for number 2.
- European Starling. A small invader to our lands, the European starling causes a wide variety of damage both to humans and the local ecosystem. Flocks, sometimes numbering in the hundreds of thousands, decimate crops, eat and foul livestock feed, damage buildings by stuffing nesting material into crevices, and kill native birds to take over nesting space. A menace in every industry and environment, the European starling brazenly takes the bronze.
- Pigeon. Also known as the rock dove, the pigeon is another non-native resident to this continent. With thousands of years of living closely with humans, these birds do not shy away from people, dwellings, or cars. Able to nest year-round and sneak into small openings, pigeons quickly infest every available barn, warehouse, overpass, loading dock, and city street, leaving a mess of droppings, feathers, and egg debris everywhere they go. And they go everywhere. It’s no surprise to find this adaptable bird occupying our fourth spot.
- House Sparrow. Like our third and fourth-place nuisance birds, the house sparrow is also an invasive species from Europe. Similar to European starlings, house sparrows love to nest in building crevices, stuffing anything remotely like nesting material in every nook and cranny they can find and aggressively removing native species like bluebirds from their birdhouses. Their nesting material can create a fire hazard and their droppings make a mess. No structure is safe from encroachment by house sparrow, whether residential, commercial, or industrial. It’s easy to see how this species wedged into the final spot on our list.
Even though these birds may not make our top 5 list, we still get plenty of calls to help manage issues they cause in urban areas:
- Swallows. There are a few species of swallows here in the Chicago area that love to use human dwellings as nesting areas. Loading docks, garages, and warehouses all make excellent nesting spots. Their droppings and nest debris make a mess, but they are beneficial as well, eating tens of thousands of insects like mosquitos.
- Turkey Vultures. Fast becoming a nuisance on taller buildings, turkey vultures have extremely acidic droppings that can quickly eat through paint. They also love to pick apart weatherstripping around windows and doors. They loaf on balconies and rooftops waiting for the scent of roadkill or a good thermal draft to soar on, especially along highways and near landfills. Nature’s garbage disposal, vultures do a lot of good cleaning up dead and decaying animals, but as more and more of their habitat is converted to urban sprawl, conflicts are rising.
- Wild Turkey. With the world going quiet due to Covid, wild turkeys moved in to urban areas. These big and beautiful birds stop traffic, damage cars while pecking at their reflections, and even chase people and pets. Drawn to bird feeders, handfeeding, and ornamental fruit and nut trees, turkey calls are on the rise.
Regardless of the species of bird causing your issues, Wild Goose Chase has the experience and expertise to help! Our team can handle any nuisance bird.
Give us a call to learn about the wide array of solutions we can provide to ensure the health and safety of your property and minimize the risk of bird conflicts. Our tools and solutions are safe, humane, cost-effective and driven by biologist-led strategies and expertise.
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