Posts Tagged ‘advice from an ornithologist’

Birds on Buildings

Tuesday, July 26th, 2011

Written By: Dr. Rob Fergus

Many people are surprised to find birds causing problems on buildings in urban areas, but birds are actually very common in cities and many species may potentially create problems on buildings.  Fortunately, by understanding the birds that most often cause problems, as well as the architectural features that attract them to buildings, nuisance bird problems can usually be addressed by making the building less attractive to the birds.

Problem birds

While any bird can potentially cause a problem on buildings, most problems in American cities are caused by three bird species introduced from Europe—pigeons, starlings, and house sparrows.  These birds adapted to living in European settlements and cities for thousands of years, and found an easy life living in and around our buildings when first brought to America in past centuries.  Early colonists first brought pigeons to America as a food source, while 19th Century enthusiasts brought over starlings and house sparrows in a misguided effort to control caterpillars (house sparrows) or introduce to America all the birds mentioned in the works of Shakespeare (starlings).  All three of these species readily eat discarded human food and nest on buildings—making them the perfect urban invaders.  In addition to these non-native birds, a few native birds may cause problems, especially when large numbers congregate on rooftops (crows, gulls, and occasionally vultures) or nest on exterior walls (swallows).  In fact, birds that are urban invaders do so well that there are usually more individual birds per square mile in cities than in the countryside!

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How Birds See the World

Monday, June 21st, 2010

How Birds See the World

By: Dr Rob Fergus

Whether you have a problem with a bird, or just enjoy birds and want to know more about them, it can be useful and enlightening to explore the world form their point of view.  The way different birds actually see the world makes a big difference in how they interact with people and our world.  Knowing how birds see and interact with the world around them can help us avoid conflicts with birds and better direct our efforts to create a world that is acceptable and beneficial for both birds and people.

Bird Vision

First of all, when we’re talking about how birds see the world, we really are interested in how birds see.  Birds are very visual creatures.  What they see helps determine how they interact with the world around them—including us!  In some ways, birds see the world very differently than humans do.  It isn’t a stretch to say that they are living in a completely different world when it comes to how much of the world they see and how it looks to them.

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