Pigeon control for Heathrow Airport
Posted on 1st November 2021 at 08:32
Pigeon control for Heathrow Airport
Feral pigeons are by most peoples’ definition a real pest or at least just a nuisance no matter where they are, one of the main problems with pigeons is that they are very social birds and as such, they have a tendency to flock together in large numbers.
A flock of pigeons creates a great deal of noise, along with the steady stream of guano deposits, piles of old nesting material and of course dead birds that litter the area around a pigeon roost, in all they make quite a mess in a very short space of time.
Pigeons just have to go!
However, pigeons can prove to be extremely hazardous and pose a safety risk when they’re in the wrong area and that was why we were called into Heathrow Airport to prevent a colony of pigeons from roosting on a building that was adjacent to the Northern Runway. Over a period of time, pigeons had made themselves at home in a roof top structure that houses a large cold water feed tank, on the roof of the building next to the tank room there was also a heating and ventilation compound where the machinery created voids and overhead cover.
Pigeons always seek out any form of overhead cover to nest under and the birds had gotten beneath some of the machinery and metal trunking where they had established nests as well. Given the size of the area, this had the potential to allow the already sizable flock of birds to expand in numbers and present a greater hazard to aircraft that were taking off and landing just metres away from the position.
Netting and spiking is the solution.
Planes are at the highest point of risk when taking off and coming into land, take off is when the engines are at maximum output and a birds strike into one of the engines would prove to be catastrophic.
It’s a case of birds and planes just don’t mix, in fact according to collected evidence these two flight phases account for 91% of bird strikes, so you can see that the flock of pigeons had to go.
When installing bird netting, we don’t kill or harm the birds, that would be unnecessary and counter productive and our aim is to move the birds off site and then void off the area; with an empty roost site of this quality, if we merely culled the flock, more pigeons would move in straight away. Instead, we focus on the key methods of creating permanent exclusion, installing roosting denial and then cleaning up the mess to leave the site a safe place to work in afterwards.
We use high quality netting to create a barrier across openings and access points and in the case of the roof top compound we used steel poles to create a frame and enclosed the entire structure in netting, keeping the birds out for good.
The second part of the installation is to prevent the birds from landing and resting on part of the structure, the reason for this is that the birds are very attached to a roost – these birds do not migrate, they’re chosen roost has access to food, water and nesting places and so they will be difficult to dislodge.
Combine this with the fact that many other suitable sites across the area will already have a flock in residence, the birds may hang around for a couple of weeks before they find a new home.
Netting over the HVAC compound
Netting over the tank room
Guano cleaning and waste away - job done.
On top of this work, we also had several years of bird presence to clean up from inside the water tank room in the form of guano and dead birds; the reason why we find so many carcases is that pigeons are infested with bloodsucking mites and these weaken and eventually kill many of the older birds which means, that in any pigeon roost there are dead birds in different degrees of decay lying around the site.
When an area has been home to a pigeon flock, it becomes hazardous to health of workers and site staff due to the amount of bacteria, fungus and viruses that live in the dense mat of rich organic waste matter and especially heating and ventilation contractors cannot be allowed to work in conditions like this, so our job is to clear up all the mess, sanitise the area and remove the waste from site.
Tagged as: Pigeon control
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