While you may enjoy watching birds from your kitchen window, it can be frustrating to see new nests crop up in your gutters or on your roof. Spring is the most likely time for pest birds to settle on your property, since the birds will likely be preparing to lay and hatch eggs.
Unfortunately, these new nests can leave your home permanently damaged. In this blog, we list some of the most common types of damage left in the wake of flocks and how you can prevent birds from nesting in the most vulnerable areas of your home.
Types of Roof and Gutter Damage Caused By Birds
When you think of pests that threaten your home's exterior, you probably think of insects like termites first. However, birds, especially birds that live in large flocks and leave excessive droppings behind, can be some of the most destructive home pests.
Common types of bird damage to roofs and gutters specifically include:
- Clogs—Bird nests often sit low in the trough of residential gutters. These nests can prevent water from flowing normally through the gutter system. If the nests shift, they may even block the downspouts. Obstructions can cause sagging and overflow as well as water damage to the home's siding.
- Inadequate ventilation—Some pest birds build their nests in roof vents or chimneys. These nests reduce the ventilation from the fireplace or attic, potentially reducing the efficacy of the home's HVAC system or even posing a health hazard.
- Increased risk of fire—Nests and feathers are highly flammable. High concentrations of these types of bird waste may increase the risk of extensive fire damage in the case of an electrical short or even a lightning strike.
- Leaks—Bird droppings are highly acidic in nature. When left unaddressed, bird droppings may eat through shingles or gutters, creating water leaks.
- Rot—When shingles become compromised, moisture may reach the inner layers of your roof. Untreated moisture may lead to dry rot or even mold growth inside your roof.
- Secondary infestations—Many bird-related conditions can trap moisture in your gutters and on your roof. This stagnant water increases the risk of secondary infestations, especially insect infestations. Some of these insects can pose significant health risks, as with mosquitoes.
- Stains—Even before bird droppings eat through roof shingles and gutter troughs, the acid substance may permanently discolor the roof or gutter system.
In addition to these forms of damage, it's important to handle any pest bird problems as soon as possible since many of these species carry diseases that can be contracted through any contact with their droppings. With certain species, like pigeons, the risk of illness remains even after the droppings dry.
Types of Seasonal Damage Prevention
As the weather warms up, it's important to take steps to prevent birds from calling the top of your house their new home. If you live in an area where pest birds are a common issue, consider the following types of bird-infestation prevention.
If you know which bird species frequent your area most, you may be able to use a decoy to keep the flock from settling on your roof. For some smaller species, decoys that look like owls, hawks, or other predatory birds work best. For other birds, putting false snakes on the edge of the roof may prove most effective.
If you employ a decoy, you may need to move it periodically to convince determined birds that the false threat is real.
Making your rooftop and gutter system inhospitable may encourage would-be pests to move on to the next house. Start by putting hardware cloth or specialized gutter covers over the troughs.
If your home suffers damage from particularly persistent birds, a noise deterrent may make your home seem like a poor place to nest and raise young. Noise deterrents can be used on their own or in tandem with decoys.
While predatory bird calls can work, the best noise deterrents actually shouldn't bother you or your guests at all. Systems designed to discourage nesting emit ultrasonic sounds that birds can hear but you can’t.
Perhaps the most effective way to prevent bird-related damage is to maintain your roof and gutter system. Have your roof inspected annually to ensure that there are no loose shingles or other openings that may let birds nest under your roofing materials.
You should also keep your gutters clean so that they don't offer as many nest-building materials for birds looking for a place to live.
If you have noticed bird-related roof or gutter damage, contact a home exterior contractor from D.S. Bahr Construction, Inc. Often, advanced bird damage requires that sections of the affected roof or gutter be replaced to ensure the home has the drainage and protection it needs.
Our team can evaluate the damage to your home and determine whether a thorough cleaning will do the trick or whether you need more in-depth repair measures to restore your home.