There are many different species of birds inhabiting Maryland and not all of them are nuisance birds. Nuisance birds typically include pigeons, geese and woodpeckers when they decide to nest in close proximity to humans. Bird droppings can clog drain holes on roof tops, as well as block chimneys and ventilation systems. Their highly acidic waste can also cause rapid deterioration of structures and breed a variety of bacterial and fungal spores.
The pigeons we commonly see (Feral Pigeons) are bluish-gray in color, although they may come in other color variations as well. Pigeons gravitate toward building ledges and other tall structures, because their ancestors, introduced to the U.S. back in the 1600s, used to inhabit rocky cliffs. Pigeons mate for life and both male and female participate in nest building, as well as parenting of the young. Pigeons don’t breed at any specific time of the year and can lay eggs whenever the food availability permits. Parents tend to feed and take care of their young until the chicks are close to the adult size, which is why you can rarely spot a baby pigeon.
Maryland is home to 8 species of woodpeckers that range in size and color. Most are red, black and white, but the distribution of colors varies, although the majority have a red spot somewhere on the back of the head. Woodpeckers are found in forests and woodlands, and their diet consists of insects, seeds, nuts and an occasional fruit. Woodpecker’s long bill allows it to make holes in wooden surfaces, such as trees, to get to the insects hiding under the bark. Interestingly, a woodpecker’s tongues is actually longer than its bill and has a barbed tip, which allows the bird to extract its prey from deep crevices.
If you see geese flying over your head, there’s a 90% chance it’s Canadian Geese. You can distinguish them by their black head and neck with a white patch on a cheek. Canadian Geese are rather common in Maryland and throughout the mid-Atlantic region. Some of them live here year round, while others leave in fall to travel to warmer lands. Geese have strong family bonds and both parents share in rearing of their young. Geese prefer to nest in open grassy areas with access to water, which is why large groups of geese can be found on islands. They grow attached to their “homes” and will return year after year to spend summer or winter in the same spot.
Do you have nuisance pigeons, woodpeckers or geese bothering you? Contact us to get help with your bird problem.