Comment: Birds versus drones

Comment: Birds versus drones
Published: 12 September 2019 - 1:15 p.m.

Where I live, there is a bit of a pigeon menace that I encounter in my balcony on a regular basis. Now before someone says, ‘they are just friendly birds’. Think again!

Pigeon droppings contain uric acid, which is highly corrosive, and it can cause a great deal of damage in a short amount of time. Pigeons are responsible for millions of dollars worth of damage each year. In addition, collected debris from pigeon flocks can cause water damage by blocking up gutters and drains. Pigeons often cause extensive damage to air conditioning units and other rooftop machinery. Furthermore, bacteria, fungal agents, and ectoparasites found in pigeon droppings can pose a health risk to building occupants. With such notoriety, pigeons are often referred to as “flying rats”, they are known for disease and damage.

The most common approaches to pigeon control include netting, spikes, optical gel, coil, and pigeon reproductive control. However, traditional methods, do not work in my balcony as it has a 30 feet high ceiling, which makes it inaccessible for building maintenance workers to reach the birds. The birds perch on tiny passageways right above my balcony. After my building owner gave up on my fight, the only solution I was told was erecting scaffolding to get to those pesky wings, and then applying traditional methods, which in all would cost me 3,000AED.

I have heard using drone technology as part of an FM firm’s pest control strategy is on the horizon. Drones offer visual access as they are able to fly and hover up to several feet in the air. Equipped with a powerful sound device, the drone imitates the flight and sound of a natural predator which scares the pest bird. It is an effective way to protect a large area from unwanted birds without inflicting any harm to them.

Until more and more FM firms come up with such advanced drone solutions, I am left with my 2.5-gallon water-squirter, which in a way gives me some form for physical excercise during my pigeon encounters, and also scares away the birds, albeit temporarily.

Or maybe, I only end up giving them a good cool bath in this hot weather!

About the author
Rajiv Ravindran Pillai is the editor of facilities management Middle East.

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