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These Birds Aren’t Pets, They’re Pests: Common Bird Pests in Canada

April 18, 2016

Birds have a reputation for being solid human sidekicks. If Hollywood has taught us anything (and it hasn’t), it’s that birds are friends and we should welcome them to our home. Who could forget Iago’s instrumental role in Aladdin, Harry Potter’s personal mail courier owl Hedwig, or Chicken Little, the people’s champion?

Now those are exceptional birds, and would indeed make fine friends. The rest of the birds you’re more likely to find near your home?

Those guys are pests.

Birds do offer important qualities to an ecosystem, namely feasting on other widely-accepted pests – insects. But they cause a lot more harm to urban environments and homes than they do killing off insect pests, helping you conquer Jafar, or delivering your mail sans postage. They build nests that can block gutters or drainage pipes, damage buildings or equipment, create fire hazards, act as a host for ticks and fleas, and in extreme cases, can even carry and transmit disease.

There are six types of ‘nuisance bird’ pests in Canada, each with their own aggravating quality that you’ll truly despise them for. Recognizing which bird pests are plaguing your home is the first step to bird control, or getting the correct pest management to send those birds south.

Canada Geese

This is an aptly named goose we shouldn’t hold any national pride for: they’re annoying, and even more annoying to get rid of. These aggressive geese are made like Al Capone and his cronies; thanks to the Migratory Birds Convention Act that gives them protected status, they’re untouchables, making it difficult for even a pest control service to eradicate.

That’s unwelcome news for homeowners on large land, or bigger businesses. Corporate lawns, fountains, country clubs, and golf courses are prime loitering spots for these troublemakers. They graze, they nest, and will hiss uncharacteristically if you approach them (it’s really strange, but I wouldn’t recommend approaching them to witness the Hissing Goose phenomena).

The geese are destructive, known to trample or consume agricultural crops. And as mentioned above, they’re an absolute terror to a country club or golf course’s outdoor aesthetics. They’re also contaminate the open waters they habitually nest close to, and will chase animals or people that approach ‘their’ territory.

Luckily if you aren’t on a huge property similar to the examples listed, or near an open water source like a reservoir or pond, you likely won’t face a bird removal epidemic in the form of Canadian geese.


Another accessibly named bird, woodpeckers, as you may have guessed, are kings of wrecking wood. They typically feed on tree-living or wood-boring insects, digging through and destroying trees to seize their preferred snack.

Woodpeckers can cause significant damage to buildings, telephone poles, fences, and anything else around your home they can dig their beak into. They’ll rack up big time replacement costs without proper pest management, as anything they get to becomes Swiss cheese.

And if you’re one to enjoy peace and quiet, woodpeckers can ruin your day in that sense too: pecking or ‘drumming’ on trees and buildings is their calling card, waking you up bright and early on a Saturday morning for no reason.

House Sparrow

Arguably the second most irritating bird pest in Canada (you’ll recognize public enemy #1 next), the small, quick, and clever house sparrows have grown in number thanks to their ability to adapt, and lack of predators to keep them in check. These uncontested birds average about 20 offspring per year, meaning their numbers can escalate quickly to infestation levels without proper bird control.

Like the woodpecker, house sparrows can be pests from their noise alone. Besides that, their adaptability – learning to nest in man-made structures and live off our scrap foods – means they can make themselves comfortable in and around our homes. Sparrow nests commonly block gutters and drainage pipes causing water damage; they’ve even started fires via electrical shorts from nests built in machinery.


If there’s one bird that’s notorious for anything but being a pest, it’s the infamous pigeon. Their distinction as the top bird pest is well deserved, creating chaos and withstanding bird removal trickery anywhere they go. They inflict damage to properties from their highly corrosive droppings (structurally and aesthetically), block up gutters and drains, and can host and spread diseases through the fungal agents found in their droppings.

Getting rid of pigeons is irksome in itself, regardless of the tertiary damage associated with their presence. Their natural homing instincts get them attached to a particular site, and once they’re comfortable, they settle in like its Superbowl Sunday. Since they’re unafraid of humans, have an extremely varied diet, and can make a home out of any man-made structure, getting rid of pigeons is problematic in finding an effective bird control strategy for.


Not only will Starlings bully themselves into making your home theirs, they’ll bully any birds that get in their way. These robust birds are well-known for traveling in HUGE flocks, and along with being a ‘muscular’ pest, they’re a resilient bunch to get rid of.

Damage associated with Starlings fall into the same categories as other bird pests: flock feces cause structural and aesthetic damage, gutters and drainpipes are clogged, and they pose health risks through their droppings.  Their unique destructive properties are on full display on farms, commandeering livestock’s habitats and vegetation, all while bringing down the feces apocalypse.


Typically found in larger numbers along the coast, gulls are probably better recognized for their scavenger diet rather than being a plain ol’ pest. Dead fish, field mice, insects, and even pure garbage are fine meals for a gull – and why they can easily live alongside humans.

You probably won’t encounter a gull infestation if you live inland, but you’ll have a problem if you’re in coastal areas. Dump sites, piers, and harbours are favoured spots thanks to the open water and secluded breeding areas. Like a few other bird pests, uric acid in their feces create structural damage and health risks. Flocks of gulls have been known to create hazardous flying conditions for low flying aircraft, too.

Either through appearance or their distinct damaging characteristics, recognizing which bird pests are wreaking havoc on your home or property is the first step in effective pest management. If you need help with any type of bird control, Magical Pest has been in the pest control service and bird removal business for over two decades. Give us a call at (416) 665-7378, or drop us a message for a free consultation.

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