Ontario bird species might like EIFS as much as you do

Some bird species seem to have a blast digging up Exterior Insulation Finishing Systems and taking residence in them. The EIFS provides them with a warm, soft home to live and set up shop in, building a nest in which to raise their own families right next to yours. Some of these birds are even migratory, which means once they’ve found a suitable home for the warmer months, they’ll be sure to make repeat visits to their favourite summer destination spot – the inside of your exterior wall.

How to rid your exterior wall of birds once they’ve decided to live inside it

Your options with regards to methods of completely eliminating bird and other pest problems are unfortunately, quite limited. The following is a small list of things you can not or should not do:

Poison the birds

Introducing poison to the environment for the purpose of killing pests can spiral out of control in a manner that you did not intend for, whether you’re aware of it or not. If you choose to poison a bird, you may not necessarily be aware that the bird could then be eaten by a number of natural predators such as raccoons and foxes. You may also inadvertently kill much more interesting birds like hawks, falcons and eagles, who have nothing to do with your crusade against those smaller insulation-loving birds. Even more so, common neighbourhood pets like cats and dogs may hunt and eat the casual random bird, after which, they too will become poisoned and may die. You don’t want to be that neighbour.

Shoot the birds

It may be highly unlikely you actually have a gun on hand and will be motivated to whip it out in an urban center and start shooting at your EIFS, which would both be extremely dangerous and do far more harm to your EIFS than the birds ever could. For those further out into the country, Uncle Bob’s hunting rifle is also a poor option.

Pellet guns, while using smaller ammunition and damaging your home significantly less, may use lead pellets. These lead pellets wreak havoc on the environment, even more so than poison – the lead might not only be ingested by larger predatory animals, but can leach into the soil and water. Many Canadian environmental and animal welfare associations are vigorously attempting to have lead pellets outlawed for this very reason. One example is in Judson Lake, British Columbia, where a staggering number of swans are turning up dead. The cause – eating lead pellets buried among the weeds in the sandy bottom that hunters shot at them years ago, but that are still killing them today.

These birds are driving me crazy. Are you sure I can’t kill them?

Obviously the above methods do much more harm than good when it comes to ridding your EIFS of a few birds. But, the lack of sleep you may be experiencing due to the constant pecking, chirping, mess or frustration at seeing your investment abused in such a manner may seemingly provide adequate justification that might make the above options sound just fine, despite the consequences.

There is however one further issue – you actually cannot harm most birds in Ontario by law, and this includes essentially any bird except for pigeons and introduced sparrow and starling species. Many of these birds, no matter what nuisance they pose, are protected under Canadian federal wildlife regulations and it is in fact a crime to harm them. Woodpeckers, perhaps the most annoying bird ever created, pose a significant threat because of their EIFS-pecking habits. These too, are illegal to harm under the Canadian Migratory Birds Convention Act, and even moving or scaring away some of these birds is against the law.

However, all is not lost. In Ontario, there are many professional companies or animal welfare organizations that will assist you in removing the birds or doing it for you, as is required by law in some areas of Toronto.

Bird-repellants and other products suited for EIFS protection

Of course, prevention is a wiser method because stopping birds from causing any damage in the first place. The following are two products available in Canada for keeping birds away from EIFS, and can be found at some of the larger home and garden stores.

  1. Tanglefoot: This sticky substance deters birds because they do not like to stand in it or get it on their feet. It should only be used in small amounts, as it can become harmful to the birds if it gets stuck in their feathers.
  2. Ro-pel: This is a non-toxic, awful-tasting, all-purpose animal repellant. Because it comes in spray form, it’s well-suited for spraying on EIFS. However, it is not waterproof and will need to be reapplied frequently.

Any liquid or applied products should of course be tested on a small, hidden patch of the EIFS finish before putting it everywhere to make sure it doesn’t harm the finish.

There are a couple of other non-chemical options available as well.

  1. Noise: Although it’s unlikely that the birds will report you for using noise-tactics to keep them away, it might only be a temporary fix and the birds may return at quieter times.
  2. Scarecrow motion-detecting water sprayers : This somewhat resembles a small patio light post, and will spray water at whatever moves. Care should be taken when using this method as not to introduce excess moisture to the EIFS.
  3. Mesh or screen : These can perhaps be installed over the EIFS, but because of the way this might look, you may want to put it only in certain areas that birds might find attractive. Using back wrap during installation can also make the more vulnerable foam core harder to penetrate overall.
  4. Needle strips : these bird-repelling, sharp-poking sticks can be seen on many buildings that have pigeon problems. They can be great for preventing birds from getting into tighter spaces or corners.

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