West Dunbartonshire Council has no legal duty to control birds and there’s no legislation which prevents people from feeding birds. The only bird control service currently provided by the Council is for gulls. More information on this service is available on the Pest Control page.
General bird control work can prove to be very expensive and, if the birds are not on your property, the Council has no statutory powers to make the owners of other affected properties take any action.
All birds are protected under law, as are their nests, eggs and every stage of life. However, certain species may be controlled by applying for a General Licence from NatureScot (formerly Scottish Natural Heritage).
Good guidance from NatureScot has been produced with regard to the Public health and safety issues with nesting birds.
Feeding birds in gardens is widespread and is valuable in conserving garden bird numbers, particularly in the winter months. It also gives pleasure to many to see birds feeding in their garden. The RSPB recommend that fresh water and shelter are necessary in the winter to help birds.
Our Pest Control Officers are however reporting an increasing number of rat complaints that they deal with which can be linked to excessive bird feeding. They are finding that unsuitable or excessive bird feeding methods are contributing to this. Excessive or careless bird feeding can also cause noise and fouling problems for neighbours, particularly where larger birds such as pigeons, crows, magpies or seagulls are attracted. The larger birds will sometimes discourage the smaller birds from feeding. Most people would be horrified to think they were attracting rats and mice to their gardens or causing problems for their neighbours.
Environmental Health will not routinely investigate complaints of general bird feeding, unless in extreme cases. Aggrieved individuals can however take their own civil action if they consider the bird feeding habits of anyone to be excessive.
The recommended form of control is to proof (prevent nesting/roosting) by physical methods. These are applied by professionals and will remove the nuisance birds from the site without harming them. Proofing can come in a variety of forms.
A number of deterrent methods are available. In general, they are for short term use and will not work where birds are roosting or nesting. These include:
If you feed birds in your garden please follow these guidelines:
If you want to give the birds a real treat and cut down the chance of a blocked drain, save any solid fat from cooking and fill up a yoghurt tub or similar. This can then be tipped out and hung up outside for the birds to enjoy.
The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) is the best source of information. Advice on feeding is available on their website.
For further information and advice, please contact:
West Dunbartonshire Council, Environmental Health Section, 16 Church Street, Dumbarton G82 1QL -