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return of the birds
03/21/18
It might not feel like it right now, but spring is just around the corner. Early spring is one of the most exciting times of the year. Plants bloom, flowers blossom, grass turns from brown to green; it’s like the whole world wakes up. Birds are one of the best parts of spring. After getting used to the silence of winter, morning bird songs are a treat you forgot you missed. Well. Usually. Birds coming back in spring is supposed to be a happy occasion. If those birds decide to roost on your home, however, you could wind up wishing for six more weeks of winter. And nobody should ever miss winter. Here are a few of the birds that’ll be back this season, and how to keep them from killing your blossoming buzz.

Geese

geeseMost birds are sort of charming, even when they’re being pests. Not geese. Geese are the terrorists of the avian world, and it can feel like they’re out to get you, personally. They drop their “bombs” on cars, windows, and rooftops with unerring accuracy. They seem defiantly unafraid of people, cars, or, indeed, the possibility death itself. If you cross them, they will unleash a winged vengeance completely incongruous with their size or apparent relative domesticity. Every spring, geese return to their northern nesting grounds to lay eggs and foster goslings. Parent geese stay with their children as they grow and defend them against perceived threats fiercely. They breed and nest near bodies of water and eat grass. Geese tend to be particularly attracted to kentucky bluegrass. If you have geese on your property, don’t attempt to scare them away yourself. Instead, keep your lawn mowed higher, fence off areas near water, and consider investing in goose deterrents.

Robins

robinsSeeing the return of the robins is considered the first sign that spring is here to stay. Ironically, however, many American robins don’t actually migrate at all! Instead, they move into deeply forested regions to feed on unfrozen berries preserved under heavy foliage. Robins re-appear in spring because they can access their preferred food source, earthworms, as soon as the ground thaws. Robins aren’t typically considered serious residential pest birds. They’re not unusually aggressive, they don’t inflict major property damage, and they mostly leave gardens alone. Robins can become pests in two ways: by munching on fruit crops, and by making nests near homes. The former problem concerns farmers primarily, but nesting could potentially concern everyone. When robins nest they may pose health, safety, and property damage risks. Prevent this by cleaning your gutters and downspouts frequently, clearing fallen yard debris, and installing gutter guards.

Barn Swallow

Barn swallowsThe barn swallow (Hirundo rustica) is one of eight swallows that breed in North America. During winter, they fly all the way to South America to stay warm. In late winter, they begin the long migration north to Latin America and the southern US. Barn swallows nest all over the US. As their name implies, barn swallows tend to like to build their nests in and around existing structures. This can occasionally make them pest birds. Barn swallows build small nests by bunching together various yard debris and taking it to a high, sheltered location. They’re fond of building in rafters, outcroppings around rooftops, ventilation shafts, and other high places. Unfortunately, these nests can sometimes block ventilation, gutters, drains, or other important fixtures. Swallow waste is dirty and can transmit disease, as well. Prevent barn swallows from nesting near your home by setting up gutter guards, clearing yard debris, and installing ventilation grates.

Warbler

warblersLike swallows, warblers are known for their long, seasonal migrations. During winter, warblers can fly from the northern US all the way to South America or the West Indies. In spring, they molt into brilliant colors, making their migrations a favorite for birdwatchers. Unlike robins or swallows, warblers don’t eat plants or build nests in home structures. In fact, warblers are typically considered helpful birds because of their heavy insect diets. Homeowners are just as likely to want to attract warblers as keep them away. Their beautiful songs, plumage, and pest-fighting abilities make them a favorite of bird enthusiasts everywhere. Like most other birds, however, warblers can also create problems for you around your home. Warbler nests may attract wildlife predators looking to prey on the small birds. Warblers fly at high speed to chase their insect prey, and may collide with windows. Keep warblers (and your home!) safe by screening or shading your windows and trimming bushes frequently. You deserve to be excited about all aspects of spring, including the birds. Don’t let a few pest birds ruin the whole beauty of the season for you. Implementing the few easy preventive strategies we mention will help you stay positive this early spring (late winter?). And remember, if you ever need a little more help managing a bird situation, you can call Varment Guard anytime. We’re here to help whenever you need it, even if we sometimes wish we could fly south, too.