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DES 56

Birds and Buildings

John Gelder

Although sustaining biodiversity features in the environment policies of BDP members, few EDG notes have addressed the issue directly, yet buildings and associated structures can have a very direct impact on wildlife.  Birds are perhaps the best example of affected fauna.  This note explores the interaction of birds with buildings and other structures.

We are curiously ambivalent about wild birds.  Often we want to encourage them on and around our buildings, but equally often we want to discourage them.  To some extent, attitudes vary depending on the species – small attractive native species such as parrots are generally desired, where larger, less attractive alien species, such as pigeons, are not.  Conversely, buildings themselves are potentially attractive to some species such as pigeons and gulls, but less attractive to others like parrots.  Likewise different forms of landscape e.g. trees versus grassland attract some species and not others.

As buildings and other structures can also pose dangers to birds, the challenge is to tackle the three issues of encouraging birds, deterring birds and bird safety, in an integrated manner.  This note discusses each issue in turn, and concludes with a quick look at integration.

Impact on bird health is not discussed. 

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