Bird Control Solutions for a Safe & Clean Beach Experience

Jul 11, 2023
Birds at a beach

The dog days of summer are here and legions of people looking to beat the sweltering heat are flocking to beaches.

Unfortunately, humans aren’t the only ones who regularly flock to the beach – shorebirds, seabirds and waterfowl all feel at home on sandy shores.

But, when it comes to the beach, humans and birds aren’t as winning of a combination as, say, surf and sand. Gulls, geese and other birds can pose health and safety risks to beachgoers, deteriorate water quality and even force beaches to close if their populations get out of hand.

The Risks: Bacteria & Aggression

Bird droppings contain high levels of bacteria. When those bacteria-laden droppings are deposited in sand and nearshore water, the quality of water can decline – and pose a health risk to swimmers.

Elevated bacteria level warning sign

The bacteria in bird droppings can harbor diseases that can be transmitted to humans, including salmonella, E. coli, campylobacter, enterococcus, avian flu and botulism. When high enough concentrations of disease-causing bacteria accumulate in the sand and shoreline water, swimming and beachside recreation are unsafe.

To protect beachgoers, most municipalities test their beach water regularly. When levels of bacteria – and the subsequent risk of disease – are too high, beaches can be forced to temporarily close. Beach closures are inconvenient and disappointing for recreationists looking to cool off, and can also have a negative economic impact on municipalities.

Birds attacking beachgoers

Beyond leaving behind harmful waste, birds like gulls and geese can also be very aggressive, especially around picnickers. Aggressive birds have been known to attack, peck at, or harass humans in an effort to steal their food.

If food can’t be stolen from humans, some birds will scavenge from trashcans. Scavenging can leave garbage strewn across sand and create messes municipalities must clean up and beachgoers must endure.

Solving Problems with Biology-Based Bird Control

Moving birds to non-recreational shorelines during swim season is an effective and humane way to keep beaches clean and safe. Depending on a beach’s morphology – and a municipality’s budget – a number of approaches may effectively control birds. These include:

Border Collie patrolling beach

Border Collie Patrol

Border collies are fantastic herding dogs that appear predatory to birds.

Border collies – who have intuitive herding instincts – stalk birds without actually attacking or harming them. Trained dogs are content to target, stalk and chase birds all day. The consistency of their stalking makes birds feel like they are being hunted by a predator. Most birds learn the perceived risk to their safety isn’t worth the trouble of sticking around – and eventually leave the targeted area of the beach altogether.

Handheld Lasers

Handheld bird abatement lasers elicit a strong startle response in birds but cause no actual harm.

Persistent laser harassment makes birds feel uncomfortable and on edge. Once birds come to associate a patch of beach with feelings of discomfort, they will seek out a more peaceful place to rest. Lasers work on all species but perform best in low light conditions.

Eagle Eye Deterrents

Eagle Eye deterrents are spinning pyramids with reflective facets that can be staked in the sand or affixed to structures. When installed properly and hit by sunlight, they create pops and flashes of bright light that disorients gulls and similar species. The light confuses gulls as they try to land on a beach and often forces them to veer off and look for a better landing space.

Eagle Eyes have a fairly good range, but require proper conditions to be effective and don’t deter all bird species.

Community Engagement

Community engagement is an essential ingredient in any beach’s bird control strategy.

Don't feed birds sign

Beachgoers should be educated about the risks associated with swimming in contaminated water, and the disadvantages of feeding birds and leaving trash out. This education helps to foster a sense of stewardship for the beach among the community and keeps birds away.

Keep Beaches Bird-Free with Wild Goose Chase Indy

If your beach struggles with consistently poor water quality due to birds, strategic control solutions can help.

The Wild Goose Chase Indy team has extensive experience managing birds on beaches with a variety of humane and effective solutions.

Schedule a site evaluation or contact us today to see how Wild Goose Chase Indy can help keep your beach bird-free this summer.

Contact us to learn about bird control solutions