Collage of small birds sitting in trees

What birds might be pests during winter months?


Birds collage

During the winter months, birds are the last thing most people worry about. While it’s enjoyable to see birds during the cold winter months, there are a few cold-weather birds that can become pests.

Most of the time, birds are beneficial. However, birds like pigeons can congregate in large numbers, or start using properties for their nests. Also, when numerous birds populate an area they can leave droppings which can also be hazardous to people.

If you think you have a problem with too many birds, contact your local Ehrlich Pest Control office to talk about our bird control and bird management solutions.

When birds become pests

Birds can become pests due to the damage they do to man-made structures. For example, woodpeckers, sparrows and starlings have been known to peck away at the sides of houses. Birds do this for a number of reasons, such as storing food for winter and for mating purposes. Birds need to peck away just a little space in the exterior of a building to get inside and start building a nest.

As for Ehrlich, we have sparrows and starlings on our list of pest birds that we can help businesses manage and control so that they do not damage buildings or create health issues. Of course, pigeons are also a problem, particularly in urban areas, and we can help with those, too.

Pest birds also tend to flock in large numbers and return again and again. This means a property owner can repair damage to rooftops and other structures only to have to deal with the birds returning the following year.

Birds can carry parasites such as ticks and fleas, which can end up inside the house and jump to humans. These parasites carry potential health risks all their own.

A bird infestation also creates a lot of mess due to bird droppings. Droppings can dry and become dust, which can then get inside air vents and cause asthma and other allergic reactions. Bird droppings on the pavement also become slippery and can even be risky for those walking.

The best way to get rid of birds is to use deterrents such as bird spikes and noisemakers which make birds seek other areas in which to nest.

Which birds come out during the winter?

While not all winter birds are pests, there are many birds which have learned to live and thrive in the colder months and they might come out during January and February. These include:

  • European starlings – these are the blackish birds you see a lot during winter and they are famous for creating these massive, undulating, shape-changing flocks which perform amazing shapes in the air. This is known as murmuration.

European Starling

  • Finches – including Goldfinches and, in particular, various species of siskins. These are small birds and the siskin is a black-headed member of the finch family. They are colorful birds and prefers to eat seeds. Siskins, every so often, suddenly gather in large groups and head south during the winter.

The Eurasian siskin

  • Thrushes – a type of passerine bird who are small to medium in size and are usually found feeding on the ground. Some of the most common species found in winter include Redwings, Fieldfares and Mistle Thrushes.

Redwing on the branch

  • Sparrows – most people think sparrows fly south for the winter, but not all of them do. White-throated sparrows and American tree sparrows are common in the Northeast during winter months.

american tree sparrow perched on a tree in spring

  • Chickadees – these black and white birds are infamous for their ability to hide seeds and food in trees by pecking hiding spots for them. These birds have dark-colored feathers on their heads as well as on their throats and a unique bird-call.

Winter Chickadee on Berries

  • Cardinals – these red and orange-ish birds are very common in the Midwest, but are found across North America. They also have adapted well to cold weather and thrive even in February.

cardinals in nature

  • Tufted titmouse – a small songbird with a pointy-looking head. They have what looks like a tuft of hair (actually feathers) on top of their heads. They are grayish in color with white feathers on their chest. They like to hole up inside trees for the winter and will line their nests with fur from dogs and other animals for warmth.

Tufted Titmouse

  • Pigeons – if you live in the city, you’ve seen pigeons. They are relatively small birds, gray in color, and they are found in downtown areas in great numbers. Pigeons stay in urban areas (even in winter) and their droppings can bring with them a series of health risks. These urban birds will look for food dropped from people walking by. Pigeons stay warm in wherever they can find space to roost and will even huddle together for warmth.

The Pigeon Kiss

Winter bird deterrents

Make sure your home and property are free of holes and downed trees where these birds can nest. Sparrows and starlings will nest in virtually any space, including those in the side of your home.

You can also call in the professionals at Ehrlich Pest Control to discuss the use of bird spikes, bird netting and electronic bird deterrents to prevent birds from nesting on your property.

Ashley Smith

Ashley is a Digital Content Manager with Rentokil. She loves drinking coffee and spending time with her dogs.

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