Do all new homes need to be bird-proofed? Of course not! It would be a colossal waste of resources for the builder, and it adds a financial burden to the new homeowner. In a world where we are trying to use resources as efficiently as possible, it creates unnecessary materials and expense.

However, thousands of homeowners do need their homes bird-proofed. ScreenTech’s research in coordination with gutter guard installers found that 83% of homes that received bird proofing were below five years in age.

So why do birds prefer new homes? Delving deeper, ScreenTech found that most homes that needed bird proofing were being built on greenfield sites around the periphery of Melbourne.

So, the reality is, when we build a home for ourselves, we often build better nesting spots for birds than those found in the natural environment.

Birds compound exponentially

Established bird nesting sites often attract other birds to that location. They may not reuse an old nest; however, they will seek out other habitable spaces.

Baby birds also have nesting memory, meaning bird offspring will often return to the site of their hatching year after year – even if you remove the original nest. Often, they return to nest on the opposite corner of your roof or gutter, causing blocked gutters and mess associated with birds.

Birds also carry transmittable diseases, such as worms and salmonella. The only way to stop them is to deny them access using a physical barrier.

Solar panels: A bird’s dream home

The proliferation of solar panels on domestic homes across Australia in the last ten years has also multiplied the number of bird nesting sites. Bird proofing for solar panels is a growing market in Australia.

Solar panels provide a sheltered and warm home for birds to nest underneath, protected from the elements. Being territorial and destructive, birds can cause lasting damage to solar panels, and often this damage is not covered under warranty.

The only way to stop birds nesting underneath solar panels is to install a physical barrier that allows light and moisture to permeate but denies access to birds and other animals.

How can architects get ahead of the problem?

Bird proofing specifications on new build plans are rare. However, ScreenTech has met plenty of homeowners who wished they had installed it from the beginning.

ScreenTech hopes that bird proofing becomes a fundamental consideration in house design to prevent bird-related problems. Architects and builders can offer bird proofing to homeowners right from the start.

Bird proofing is relatively cheap to install in a build when scaffolding is in place but can cost thousands for a retrofit.

Things to look for on a site visit:

  • Is bird proofing already installed in nearby homes?
  • Are birds standing on the roof of nearby homes?
  • Are there bird nests in the gutters of nearby homes?
  • Do trees border the site? Are there any bird nests in those existing trees? (birds will tend to prefer a warm roof, gutter or solar panel to a tree.)

ScreenTech’s recommendations for new buildings:

  • For brownfield sites, ScreenTech recommends waiting, and responding only if necessary.
  • For greenfield sites close to other new builds, look at the surrounding homes (i.e., if you can see bird proofing or nesting in gutters, then your home will likely experience the same).
  • ScreenTech recommends bird proofing as a default action for municipal builds on a greenfield, especially at schools where children may be exposed to bird-related disease and contaminated tank water.

Want to know more? Screen Tech Industries sends out samples and guides to architects and discusses projects and considerations.