Shoo! Handling Nuisance Birds

 It’s end of a sunny day in June, and the sun is setting over the Windy City. A  gentle breeze is coming off Lake Michigan, and a gorgeous evening beckons. You  pour a glass of wine and throw open the door to your condo's balcony to take in  the magnificent view of Lakeshore Drive and the sparkling water beyond. Leaning  on the railing, you're about to take a sip—and out of nowhere swoops an angry seagull, buffeting the air with its wings and  squawking with menace. There is suddenly no lingering over the view as more  gulls appear, clearly unhappy with you, and determined to defend what they  apparently consider their territory. Your lovely evening on the balcony has  taken a nightmarish turn, and you have no choice but to retreat indoors or risk  being pecked to death.  

 Think that scenario sounds too Hitchcockian to be true? Think again. Here in  Chicago and the surrounding suburbs, it's not just seagulls that make property  owners and managers crazy—according to Chrissy Hansen, marketing manager for Chicago-based avian control  company Bird-X, "Pigeons are probably the number-one pest bird everywhere in the U.S. but we  also have starlings, as well as geese and gulls." Regardless of whether your  property is an urban high-rise or a sprawling suburban HOA, you're not immune  to the hassle of pest birds.  

 Ruling the Roost

 When birds aren't on the wing, they're feeding and/or roosting – and most birds are experts when it comes to identifying cozy-looking places to  congregate, feed, and build nests. As it happens, many of those cozy-looking  spots are man-made.  

 If you're at a loss as to why your condo is overrun with flocks of birds like  pigeons or grackles, take a look upward. According to bird control experts, the  problem often begins with architecture. "If your building has large, commercial  HVAC equipment raised on legs above the roof surface, it creates virtual bird  condos," says one bird pro.  

 “Geese bother people a lot in condos," says Rebecca Fyffe, a wildlife educator  with ABC Wildlife and the Wildlife Control Policy Institute in Chicago and of  Chicago Wildlife Management and Consulting. "If a goose could make us do what  it wanted us to do in terms of landscaping for its pleasure, it would look like  exactly what we do at condo developments. The grass would be cut short, there  would be a pond, and there would be no tall plants around the pond. We’re landscaping to attract geese."  


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  • Where I live the swans and geese - for the most - part tolerate each other ratehr well, but then there are dozens of them in the bay. Have you ever been to Stratford? They have quite the swan release parade there in the spring - and those swans do not like the geese on the river, at all!