Indiana’s Most Common Nuisance Birds
Indiana is home to nearly 500 species of birds, according to the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR). While many of those birds pose little to no threat to humans and properties, a number do exhibit aggressive behavior, deposit unsightly, disease-causing waste and damage the structures they roost and nest in.
If you are a property manager, business or residential owner, or landlord, it’s wise to be aware of nuisance birds and the damage they cause. Here is a guide to the five peskiest birds in the state – and some (dis)honorable mentions to boot.
Indiana’s Top Five Pest Birds
1. Canada Goose
The Canada Goose is an amazing conservation success story. In fact, they have been so successful at adapting to urban areas that they are the top nuisance bird nationwide and the bread and butter of the bird control industry. With their copious waste deposits and aggressive behavior, the Canada Goose comes in at number one for the most common nuisance bird.
Also known as the rock dove, the pigeon is a non-native resident of North America. After living closely with humans for thousands of years, these birds do not shy away from people, dwellings or cars. Able to nest year-round and sneak into small openings, pigeons quickly infest available barns, warehouses, overpasses, loading docks and city streets, leaving a mess of droppings, feathers and egg debris everywhere they go. And they go everywhere. It’s no surprise this adaptable bird occupies our second spot.
3. European Starling
A small invader to our lands, the European starling causes a wide variety of damage both to humans and the local ecosystem. Flocks, sometimes numbering in the hundreds of thousands, decimate crops, eat and foul livestock feed, damage buildings by stuffing nesting material into crevices, and kill native birds to take over nesting space. A menace in every industry and environment, the European starling brazenly takes the bronze.
4. House Sparrow
The house sparrow is another invasive species from Europe. Similar to European starlings, house sparrows love to nest in building crevices, stuffing anything remotely like nesting material in every nook and cranny they can find and aggressively removing native species like bluebirds from their birdhouses. Their nesting material can create a fire hazard and their droppings make a mess. No structure is safe from encroachment by house sparrow, whether residential, commercial, or industrial. Despite their diminutive size, these nettlesome birds come in at number four on our list.
5. Turkey Vultures
Fast becoming a nuisance on taller buildings, turkey vultures have extremely acidic droppings that can quickly eat through paint. They also love to pick apart weatherstripping around windows and doors. They loaf on balconies and rooftops waiting for the scent of roadkill or a good thermal draft to soar on, especially along highways and near landfills. Nature’s garbage disposal, vultures do a lot of good cleaning up dead and decaying animals, but as more and more of their habitat is converted to urban sprawl, conflicts are rising. It’s easy to see how this species wedged into the final spot on our list.
The following nuisance birds didn’t crack the top five but are well known to ruffle the feathers of property owners and managers in Indiana.
There are a few species of swallows here in Indiana that love to use human dwellings as nesting areas. Loading docks, garages and warehouses all make excellent nesting spots. Their droppings and nest debris make a mess, but they are beneficial as well, eating tens of thousands of insects like mosquitos.
Wild turkeys moved into urban and suburban areas during the hushed months of COVID-19 lockdowns. These big and beautiful birds stop traffic, damage cars while pecking at their reflections, and even chase people and pets. Drawn to bird feeders, hand-feeding, and ornamental fruit and nut trees, turkeys are a fast-growing nuisance across the state.
Two closely related species, ring-billed and herring gulls, are common nuisance-causing birds, especially near landfills and along the Lake Michigan coastline. Aggressive colonies of gulls number in the tens of thousands in some areas. They nest on rooftops and blanket people, buildings, cars and beaches with their bacteria and acid-laden droppings.
Your Partner in Pest Bird Management
Pest birds can wreak havoc on structures and health (and sanity!). If you struggle to manage nuisance birds on your own – the professionals at Rusty’s Animal Control (RAC) can help.
Reach out to learn about our pest bird solutions – including egg addling, round-up services and removal of Canada geese – for ensuring the health and safety of your property and minimizing the risk of bird conflicts. Our tools and solutions are safe, humane and cost-effective.