From his perch in downtown Austin, Jude Galligan shoos the pesky urban birds:
At a recent DANA board meeting I learned that Grackles don’t like lasers. Apparently, if you shine a laser light into the tree tops it irritates them so much that the Grackles move elsewhere. The University of Texas used to have a problem with grackles. Their solution was to fire shotgun blanks. It worked, but I don’t think my neighbors would think well of me it I took that route. Light seemed like a harmless way to deal with the problem. I don’t have any lasers, and I’m not sure where to get them, but I do have a powerful Mag-Lite.
I placed the Mag-Lite next to my bed and, like clockwork, at 5:30am thousands of birds erupted in cacophony of noise. I jumped out of bed, grabbed my Mag-Lite and proceeded to illuminate the trees, shaking and directing the light beam over several tree tops next to my building and across the street. (This must have looked very strange to those heading to work in the morning.) Amber thought I was nuts. It didn’t take more than a second for thousands of birds to migrate to another spot a few blocks away. I did this for two weeks and the Grackles are gone and no longer wake me up at 5:30. Instead, they’ve gone to the other side of my building. So, neighbors if you are reading this, get your self a Mag-Lite and get back to bed.
Unless, of course, you live on the other side of his building, in which case you’ll just send them back where they came from.
Meanwhile, these techniques have worked in Oklahoma City:
[Charles] King [of King Pest Control] said he uses flashy pyrotechnics when the environment isn’t too windy or dry, otherwise he uses small cannon noise-makers.
“They’re not that clever, so you can manipulate them,” he said. “It just takes a few days of consistent behavior modification to convince them to go somewhere else. The bigger the flock, the easier it is to manipulate them. A lot of people will think the opposite, but in a big group it only takes a couple of jumpy birds to get the rest of them to take off. You can’t do that so easily if you’ve got a flock of just a few dozen.”
One thing these solutions have in common: they lack lethality. Says King:
Scaring the birds usually is the only workable option available to pest experts. Poison is risky, and no one wants to deal with hundreds or thousands of animal carcasses anyway.
I’m told that some similar-looking species can be baked into pies in quantities of two dozen.