Pests from A to Z

  • Nurture Pest Control


The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 protects all wild birds, their nests and eggs. However, specific exemptions permit certain species to be controlled by particular methods for specific reasons.
This exemption is given in the way of a licence issued by Natural England (previously DEFRA) called the General licence. General licences are issued to allow certain actions to be carried out that would otherwise be illegal under the legislation, without the need for people to apply for a specific licence.

Control of birds through population reduction techniques is generally both less desirable and less effective than removing their food sources or blocking off sites where they perch or roost. The latter technique, known as proofing, is now used extensively with blunt spikes, sprung wires and nets installed on buildings to keep birds off without harming them.

The law relating to bird control is complex. Please contact us for more information. 

Canada Geese

Canada Geese like to build their nests on the banks of a pond/lake or river, where both the male and female goose will take part in building their nest, which they build out of twigs, leaves, and even litter such as bits of plastic or wire. Breeding generally between April and May, geese usually lay five eggs, which take approximately 28-30 days to hatch and have a lifespan of about twenty-five years. Parents  can be very aggressive, from the time the eggs are laid, until the hatchlings reach independence. 

Geese eat large quantities of vegetation clearing areas around lakes and ponds of grass and wetland plant species, typically by over grazing and trampling the area.  They produce a large quantity of droppings these can be unsightly as well as being a hygiene problem and a slip hazard.

Canada Geese can be controlled in a number of ways:

  • Netting around the pond to prevent the geese coming onto the land.
  • Netting of nest site 
  • Letting the grass grow long around the pond as they like to graze on short mown grass 
  • Use of falconry to scare geese away from the area 
  • Bird alert system which produces alarm calls of the geese or calls from predators this is designed to scare the geese away 

Gulls (Seagulls)

Most people know them a Seagulls but all species of gulls found nesting on roof tops are extremely loud and cause a lot of noise disturbance in urban areas typically calling during sunrise. If bins are left open gulls will remove the rubbish in search of food, scattering litter around or carrying it off to roof tops.

Roof tops can be enclosed using 50mm bird netting before the breeding season. Proofing of nest sites, gulls will typically return to the same nest site every year, if netting the roof isn't an option proofing the nest site is i.e. enclosing a vent with mesh to prevent the gulls building a nest up against it.

There are 6 breeding species of gulls in the uk the most common problem gulls are:

Black headed gull

Much smaller in size compared to the Herring Gull and Lesser Black Backed Gull, and as the name suggests they have a black head which is only apparent during the breeding season, they like to nest on buildings but cause less damage the larger gulls. 

Herring gull (most common)

130,000 breeding pairs of herring gulls, they are red listed as a conservation concern meaning controlling nesting pairs is almost imposable, pre-nesting prevention is the best solution.

Breeding pairs start to court each other in late March and April and nest-building begins in early May. Urban birds build nests that they will use year after year. Eggs are laid from the beginning of May and a clutch usually consists of three eggs. They lay one brood a year which can have up to 3 eggs and can live up to 12 years with breeding typically at 4 years old.

They become incredibly defensive of the nest site regularly dive bombing people, herring gulls have become urbanised swapping cliffs for large building as there is a large food source in towns and city's. Typically building nests on roof tops next to vents or in gullies which can block vents or affect water flow on buildings causing damage and also blocking gutters.

Lesser black backed gull

A lot of the information is the same as the herring gull, the lesser black backed gull differs in appearance, slightly smaller than the herring gull with a dark grey back and yellow legs.


There are 465,000 breeding pairs of feral pigeons in the UK. Breading all year round, however they are most active between March and July and can produce up to 5 broods a year from the age of 1. A small pigeon problem can go form a couple of birds to 30 birds in a matter of months, living between 3-7 years.

A single pigeon can produce 12kg of fouling a year, which contains numerous diseases including E.Coli, Listeria and Salmonellosis. The fouling is very acidic and can cause damage to buildings, block gutters causing them to overflow and encouraging foliage to grow, they can also block chimneys causing carbon monoxide to leak into the home. fouling also causes significant health and safety concerns through inhalation of dust from dry fouling and slips from fouling building up on walkways.

Fouling removal and cleaning is a big part of our job, removing bulk fouling cleaning and disinfecting the areas affected, this can be on the ground roof top and walls. A lot of fouling is from pigeons roosting in areas overnight such as window ledges or pipe work, we can proof theses using bird spikes, these are designed not to harm the birds put to prevent them landing on the affected areas.

We can control pigeons a number of ways:

  • Bird netting, areas such as canopies and courtyard can be enclosed using 50mm bird netting to exclude pigeons from the area
  • Spikes can look intrusive we also offer sprung wire which is less visible but also effective.    
  • Falconry can be used on a regular basis to scare birds away from the area 
  • Trapping of pigeons is an affective way of reducing numbers or removing from indoor areas 

Small Birds

Sparrows and Starlings are the main problem birds of a smaller size. Sealing small holes in buildings is the best way to prevent birds nesting, as well installing 19mm netting as the smaller gauge of the net wont allow the birds to pass through.


Rarely a problem in domestic situations, but frequently a problem in commercial premises such as bakeries and warehouses, as they can cause damage to packaged foods.

Sparrows are able to enter buildings through very small gaps and, once in, are very difficult to remove. Nesting sparrows can cause noise disturbance and fouling issues for homeowners and businesses alike. 


Starlings very much like sparrows are noisy and tend to nest in lofts causing damage from fouling and introducing contaminated nest materials 

Although a native to this country, our permanently resident starling population is swelled every autumn by migrants arriving from the Continent. Starlings may roost in their thousands on ledges on buildings and in trees in city centres. Their droppings deface and erode stonework and make pavements slippery. In domestic lofts their nesting activities can build large piles of twigs, leaves and associated fouling. Insect and mite pests can find their way from this into the house.


Bird Control



Effective Bird Control and Ethical Solutions for Nuisance Birds in Urban Areas

Nurture Pest Control has accumulated many years of experience in bird control and bird proofing throughout London and the UK. In our pursuit of effective management and control methods, we aim to strike a balance between the well-being of birds and the needs of urban communities. In this article, we'll explore the issues associated with nuisance birds like pigeons and seagulls and discuss available solutions that are both humane and effective.

Read More

Nurture Landscapes