There's something both cheerful and calming about the presence of birds and their song. People even dedicate their free hours and passion to seeking, watching, and photographing birds in their natural habitats. The keywords here, however, are natural habitats. Though birds are delightful in the wild, it's best to keep them at bay when it comes to your home or commercial property. Birds and their droppings can actually cause a variety of different health risks, some with the potential to become deadly. They can also cause substantial property damage and liability issues for commercial facilities. This article explores the property damage and health risks of bird droppings.
Health Risks of Bird Droppings
Birds may seem harmless enough, but a deeper dive into the health risks associated with their droppings is rather alarming. Birds have been associated with over 60 different diseases, and that's not even accounting for the avian flu. These different diseases are most concerning in residential areas, where birds gather in large flocks and can be difficult to deter. The diseases spread by their waste can become airborne, transferring to humans just by being in the same vicinity as the droppings. The main transmittable bird diseases are:
This is a respiratory disease that can become fatal. If you are immunocompromised, your risk is much higher. This derives from a fungus that grows in old bird droppings, as well as through airborne fungus spores from the soil. This is especially concerning if a bird roosts at your property, as the soil under their roost can become enriched by the disease organism. The National Institute of Health has also linked a potentially blinding eye condition to this fungus.
This is a yeast or fungal infection that is spread through pigeons specifically. This disease can affect many areas of the body, including the respiratory system, intestines, and reproductive system. Candidiasis has been linked to death on more than one occasion. Your health risk from bird droppings if you're immunocompromised is much greater.
It is caused by a yeast found in the intestinal tracts of common birds. This is acquired by inhaling the cells of the organism, which is again more common in areas where a bird is roosting.
This is caused by a bacterium inhaled from bird droppings. Though it usually only leads to minor flu-like symptoms, it can develop into pneumonia and require hospitalization. OSHA has actually released a bulletin due to concerns from this health risk due to bird droppings.
St. Louis Encephalitis
This causes an inflammation of your nervous system that often leads to drowsiness and fever, but sometimes paralysis or even a coma can occur. This actually spreads from mosquitoes that have fed on infected birds. This is yet another reason why keeping birds away from your property is a good idea.
This bacteria can exist in cow manure and spreads when birds peck at the manure. It is released from their droppings, which can become a problem if they land in a food or water supply.
You've likely heard of this occurring and causing food poisoning. But it can actually link back to bird droppings. It presents a serious health risk.
Bird Droppings and Ectoparasites
As was mentioned with St. Louis encephalitis, the direct health risks of bird droppings are not the only problem. When another pest feeds on a bird with a disease, the pest can then spread the disease to humans. This commonly happens with:
- • Bed bugs
- • Chicken mites
- • Mosquitos
- • Yellow mealworms
Birds Droppings and Residential Property Damage
The health risks of bird droppings are not the only concerns, either. Birds and bird droppings can actually cause extensive damage to your property. Much of this damage is due to the fact that bird droppings contain uric acid, which has a pH level of around 3.5 to 4. This can eat through a surprising number of building materials. The list includes tar-based roofing, creating leaks. This also includes stone, metal, and siding.
Additionally, their nests are a huge problem. The materials they use can quickly become a fire hazard, clog up gutters or drainage pipes and cause water damage, and even block up ventilation systems and create further health hazards. You want to keep birds from nesting within your home, and you can do this with the proper deterrents.
It's also worth mentioning the damage birds can do to your car. Americans already spend hundreds of dollars a year on car maintenance. This can quickly be undone, at least aesthetically, due to bird droppings, as they can actually warp the surface of your car's clear coat. This happens when the bird droppings dry, leaving an imprint that distorts the texture of the underlying finish. This damage can be permanent. The fewer bird droppings that end up on your car, the better.
Bird Droppings and Damage to Commercial Properties
Commercial properties are obviously larger, and birds are like other animals in the sense that they are drawn to the scent of their droppings. This can create a big problem, as more and more birds flock to the same general area. Bird droppings cause millions of dollars of damage every year to machinery, roofs, and ventilation systems. This puts your air conditioning and heating units, rooftops, and most other building materials at risk. Bird droppings cause the same damage to commercial properties as they do to residential, just at an even larger scale.
In buildings with automatic doors, they are also prone to getting inside. This creates damage to the internal structure and anything inside. It also becomes a huge nuisance to remove them. Another concern with commercial properties is the potential liabilities from slips and falls, which we cover next.
Bird Droppings and OSHA
Birds and their droppings can truly create unsafe work environments. First, the droppings can be slippery, and employees or customers could fall. The droppings do not just create a messy and dirty environment; they can be a real hazard. In a worst-case scenario, a fall at your property could create a lawsuit and a subsequent expensive settlement. The health hazards of bird droppings previously discussed can also cause a significant issue for commercial properties. For instance, a teacher in Florida won a $1.2 million settlement when he contracted a disease from bird droppings when working at a school.
Birds are treasured and protected creatures. But that doesn't mean you have to put up with them invading your residential or commercial properties. Considering their droppings are linked to over 60 different diseases and potentially serious health risks, along with causing substantial property damage, keeping them at bay is truly your best option. Contact us today for long-term solutions to invading birds and the associated health risks of bird droppings.
About Bird Barrier
Bird Barrier is a leader in innovative technology designed to prevent birds from landing, roosting or nesting. We specialize in urban bird control to remove birds humanely and effectively. Our website, birdbarrier.com, hosts a wealth of content to help people understand and identify bird control solutions for various problems with pest birds. Please contact us if you need help with a bird related problem. You may also benefit from our free guide, Bird Deterrents: The Complete Guide.