Problem Birds: The Worst Bird Pests Identified and Ranked

Are birds pests?

While birds wouldn’t necessarily be put in the same category as more obvious pests such as rats, cockroaches and bed bugs, they can cause significant damage to properties, especially in higher numbers – which makes them pests. Birds present several problems, such as noise pollution, flocking, nesting, excreting and crop damage. This is why bird control is so important.

Some of the most common bird pests are:

  • Pigeons (feral pigeons)
  • Geese
  • Starlings
  • Seagulls
  • Sparrows
  • Collared doves

Below, we’ve ranked the worst bird pests and bird species from the least problematic, to the most. We have also ranked their noise pollution, droppings and flocking/grouping problems out of five (one being the least problematic, five being the most).

10. Swallows

worst bird pestsControversial, but the main problem with swallows is that they nest within our properties. Swallows prefer to nest in quieter areas, which leads them to build nests in our sheds, garages and the outside of our houses (mainly under roofs). The main material they use to build nests is mud, which damages exterior walls. They aren’t by any means a huge threat, but they do need to be dealt with before the problem worsens.

Noise Pollution: 2

Droppings Problem: 1

Flocking/Grouping: 2

Aggressive? No

9. Woodpeckers

worst bird pestsNot as common as other urban birds but they do present a few problems. Woodpeckers are known for loudly drumming into trees to create nests, and this can be especially irritating when there’s a group of them. Woodpeckers may also attempt to peck into sheds, garages and other properties where they think they can build nests, which can lead to structural damage.

Noise Pollution: 4

Droppings Problem: 1

Flocking/Grouping: 2

Aggressive? Yes, if their nest is threatened

8. Collared Doves

worst bird pestsCollard doves’ main problem is their very territorial and difficult to relocate due to their homing instinct. They can also create quite a lot of noise, especially when in groups and during mating season. Their droppings are also known to stain properties and if left unattended, can cause permanent damage.

Noise Pollution: 4

Droppings Problem: 3

Flocking/Grouping: 2

Aggressive? No.

7. Crow

worst bird pestsCrows aren’t known for damaging property but they can cause disruption to residents in large numbers. Crows are notorious for being loud and when there’s a flock nesting in a tree, they can being disruptive. Crows are also very intelligent, and they’ve been known to have an uncanny memory for human faces and even hold grudges. So, before trying to remove a crow’s nest or flock, contact a pest control expert.

Noise Pollution: 5

Droppings Problem: 2

Flocking/Grouping: 3

Aggressive? Yes, if you antagonize them

6. Starling

worst bird pestsStarlings are classified as an ‘urban pest’ in the same way as pigeons and seagulls are. Alone, starlings aren’t too problematic, but when flocking, they can easily overwhelm trees, buildings and even airports.

Noise Pollution: 3

Droppings Problem: 1

Flocking/Grouping: 4

Aggressive? No

5. Sparrow

worst bird pestsAnother bird that causes problems in urban areas. Sparrows will nest almost anywhere and aren’t bothered by noisy areas in the same way swallows are. They also cause problems for manufacturing and food processing plants because they create nests in these areas and steal food – which raises hygiene issues.

Noise Pollution: 2

Droppings Problem: 2

Flocking/Grouping: 4

Aggressive? No

4. Magpie

bird pestsMagpies are now the most vilified birds in the whole of the UK.

Magpies are known for their aggressive and arrogant natures, often bullying other birds and disrupting crop fields and even stealing and eating other birds’ eggs. They’re also very loud and often disrupt urban areas with their squawking.

Noise Pollution: 3

Droppings Problem: 2

Flocking/Grouping: 3

Aggressive? Yes, but only to other birds.

3. Geese

worst bird pestsGeese mainly cause problems by destroying and eating crop fields. Their excrement is also a problem, as their droppings cause health concerns, especially in lakes, reservoirs and even crops. Geese are also known for being very loud and disrupting air traffic. Canada geese can, and have caused serious plane accidents.

Noise Pollution: 5

Droppings Problem: 4

Flocking/Grouping: 3

Aggressive? Yes, very.

2. Seagulls

worst bird pestsMissing out on the number one spot for the worst bird pest are seagulls. Seagulls dominant our coastlines and are not afraid of humans. They have no problem stealing food out of people’s hands and even attacking them to retrieve food. Seagull droppings also deface exterior properties and can cause lasting damage if they’re not tended to. Their notorious squawking is also a nuisance and becomes worse when they’re raising and protecting their young.

Seagulls also cause massive problems for commercial seaside businesses, as they drive away customers because of their aggressive nature and food scavenging.

Noise Pollution: 5

Droppings Problem: 4

Flocking/Grouping: 3

Aggressive? Yes, very.

  1. Pigeons

worst bird pestsTaking the number one spot for the worst bird pest is the feral pigeon. While they may not be as aggressive as other birds on this list, they are by far the most invasive and difficult bird group to relocate bird in the UK. There are hundreds of thousands of pigeons littering the UK and their excrement has caused millions of pounds worth of damage to buildings and vehicles. Additionally, pigeons carry diseases and their droppings are also very toxic and can even lead to Psittacosis.

Pigeons also flock in large numbers and can cause disruptions to air traffic in the same was as Canada geese. They are, for the most part, placid birds but their presence causes serious damage to urban areas and can make our towns and cities look grim and dirty.

Noise Pollution: 4

Droppings Problem: 5

Flocking/Grouping: 5

Aggressive? No.


If you’re suffering from bird infestations, or birds nesting in and around your property, head over to our bird control page to find out how we can help. AMES has over 30 years’ experience in the bird control industry and can supply your property with expert bird deterrents to help keep you and your property safe and bird-free.

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