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Identify Your Pest Birds

It's important to know what species of pest bird is causing your bird problem. Listed below are the most common species that cause bird problems. You can click on the bird below that resembles your problem bird for more detailed information on the bird itself.


Crows are large, long-legged, thick-necked birds with heavy, straight bills. American Crows are all black, even the legs and bill. They are common sights in treetops, fields, and roadsides, and in habitats ranging from open woods and empty beaches to town centers. These birds can overwhelm trees, creating a lot of noise, and harassing people in the vicinity which can be a nuisance to the suburban resident. Like any pest bird, dropping buildup can lead to structural damage from the uric acid while also posing health risks.


Canada Geese are most easily identified by their long black neck, with a black head, crown and bill. They have a contrasting white cheek and throat area. The body is usually brownish gray. Canada Geese live around ponds, river and lakes. They've become a common sight in city parks. Some cities are having trouble with overpopulation of the geese. The large bird droppings from Canada geese foul reservoirs and ponds. A larger threat is air safety. Geese are one of the main birds involved in airline bird strikes worldwide.


Grackles are large, lanky blackbirds with long legs and long tails. Common Grackles appear black from a distance, but up close their glossy purple heads contrast with bronzy-iridescent bodies. Grackles can cause several types of damage. Large numbers can be found at dumpsites, food courts and other human areas where food is present. The resulting amount of fecal matter creates unsanitary conditions. They are also an agricultural pest bird because they will eat small seedlings and damage crops.


Pigeons can vary in body color, from gray to white, tan, and black. They typically have a gray body with a whitish rump, two black bars on each wing, a broad black band on the tail, and red feet. Pigeons have become the most common urban nuisance bird. Pigeons are found around feeding areas, parks, schools, buildings, homes, and many other structures. They will inhabit any place with openings that allow for roosting, and nesting. Feral pigeons create a mess and cause damage where they roost.


Seagulls are generally medium to large birds, typically gray or white, often with black markings on the head or wings. They have stout, longish bills and webbed feet. Gulls enjoy protection at the federal, state and local levels, mandating humane control practices. They are involved in more collisions with aircraft than any other bird group. The presence of gull roosts near reservoirs increases their potential for transmitting diseases to human populations. Gulls occasionally cause a nuisance when they nest on rooftops and seek food from people eating out-of-doors.


Sparrows tend to be small, plump brown-gray birds with short tails and stubby, powerful beaks. The House sparrow is the number two urban pest bird. They can be an extreme nuisance for homeowners, especially when they congregate in large flocks. Sparrows are often found in manufacturing and food processing plants. They have learned to eat scrap food. They build large nests, and prefer small enclosed places such as house shutters, drainage piping, building rafters and corrugated metal siding.


The starling is a dark chunky, muscular bird about eight inches long with long wings and a short squared tail. The adult starling has dark feathers with speckles. Starlings rank just behind pigeons and sparrows as an urban bird pest. Starlings can be a nuisance in both urban and rural areas due to their nesting, eating and living habits. Typical starling problems are large scale buildup of their sprayed feces (a whitewash look) which can lead to structural damage.


Swallows have brownish red faces and throats with steel blue coats and light colored bellies. Barn swallows have deep forked tails. Swallows are a protected species under the law. You cannot disturb them once they lay their eggs in the nest. Swallows are often a nuisance in suburban areas as they build their mud nests. The nests damage and deface the outer walls and eaves of residences and office buildings. Swallow feces often end up on the sides of buildings and the ground below.


Turkey vultures are large birds with dark feathers, weighing up to six pounds. They have a bald head with reddish skin similar in look to a turkey. The small featherless head is ideal for foraging inside of dead animals. All vultures are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty, so humane vulture control methods must be used to move them. They are known to attack roofs, caulking and other exterior surfaces causing extensive damage. The bird droppings from turkey vultures are large, creating extra cleanup costs.


Woodpeckers usually have brightly contrasting coloration. They have short legs with two sharp-clawed, backward-pointed toes and stiff tail feathers, which serve as a supportive prop. These physical traits enable them to cling easily to tree trunks, wood siding, or utility poles, while pecking. All Woodpeckers are protected by the Federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act and control methods must not harm the birds. Woodpeckers can cause significant damage to the sides of buildings, telephone poles, eaves, and fences, by pecking holes into the surface.