Birds in the Urban Environment
Bird droppings from areas such as external air-conditioning units, window ledges, walkways, water treatment or supply systems, and pedestrian entrances should be removed as soon as possible, to eliminate possible health and safety risks to the public.
Birds are the cause of many diseases of humans and domestic animals. Even birds, which appear to be healthy, can carry diseases. There are more than 60 transmittable diseases that are associated with pigeons, starlings and sparrows.
Risks to the Public
The close association of birds with humans give rise to the possibility of disease transmission. Bird droppings contain pathogenic fungi and bacteria that cause, histoplasmosis, chlamydiosis, and cryptococcosis, and other lung diseases in humans.
Cryptococcosis : This is caused by a yeast found in the intestinal tract of pigeons. The disease often begins as a pulmonary infection which can spread to the nervous system. It is particularly prevalent in old and established bird roosts where dried droppings are distributed and inhaled, e.g. demolition work.
Salmonellosis: Often occurs as food poisoning and the bacteria can be found in droppings. Infection can be spread through dirt circulated by fans, air conditioning etc., thereby contaminating products, packaging, surfaces of food preparation areas, etc. Salmonellosis is evidenced by acute gastroenteritis, diarrhea and stomach upsets.
Droppings from birds that find shelter in the urban environment are unsightly, corrosive to building material, and accelerate the deterioration of a building. The acidic secretions produced by fungi that feed on the droppings cause most of this damage.
The costs associated with maintaining building facades can be enormous and without adequate protection the building becomes soiled again quite quickly.
The longer bird infestation remains, the more expensive it will become for the removal of droppings from roosting areas. Ultimately capital restoration costs become necessary; for example, repairing masonry, repainting, sanding of surfaces, replacement of corroded fittings, etc.
Bird droppings on sidewalks, stairs and entrances are hazardous as people can slip. In and on fire escapes designed for emergency purposes, their infrequent use provides a quiet area frequented by pigeons and doves. It is quite common to find severe infestation, odors, insects and bacteria in these areas and particles can enter the air conditioning system to infect staff and customers, block filters, accumulate in ductwork, etc. See photos.
Damage resulting from build-up of droppings in gutters can create water backup, directing overflows to cause damage and decay to timber, gutters or the staining of painted / rendered exteriors. Gutters and adjacent eaves are also an access point for smaller birds to build nesting sites in roofs, lofts, vents, steeples, etc.
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