Eight Hot Spots for Bird Activity on Hotel Properties

House sparrow sitting on roof

Nothing spoils a guest’s stay at a hotel faster than pests. That usually conjures images of insects and rodents in people’s minds; however, hoteliers may want to consider nuisance bird problems in this same category.

Knowing if a bird problem exists at a property begins with understanding bird behavior, what attracts them, and where they can create issues.

What Attracts Birds to Hotels? 

Pigeons, sparrows, starlings, seagulls, crows, grackles, and geese can be attracted to hotels and resorts for a variety of reasons, including: tall buildings, green spaces, water features, protected/sheltered spaces, and food. Birds can spread up to 60 diseases that are harmful to humans. Aside from health and safety risks, the potential for eyesores, property damage, and guest disruption also exists.

Eight Hotspots for Birds in Hotels

Hoteliers can do a quick evaluation of their properties by reviewing eight hot spots to look for signs of bird activity.


Rooftops offer sheltered nesting areas, the ability to scout for food, and a place to hide from predators. Flat rooftops also collect water, which birds use to bathe and drink. Feathers, droppings, and nesting material clog drains and gutters, leading to water back-ups inside buildings. Birds can also damage rooftop membranes, and droppings may fall onto surfaces, equipment, and vehicles.

2HVAC units

HVAC units provide a source of shelter and warmth. Birds often congregate and build nests on units. Droppings, nests, and feathers can clog systems, which lead to expensive cleaning. The building’s air quality can also be compromised.

3Parking garages

Tiered parking garages offer ledges, pipes, and cabling that create protected structures birds find appealing. Birds deposit droppings on vehicles, which leads to customer complaints and potential repair bills. Droppings can accumulate to create a mess and potential air quality hazards.

4Compact spaces

Signs, ornate architecture, awnings, canopy overhangs, balconies, lighting fixtures, shutters, and louvered exhaust vents provide ideal protected spots for birds to perch, look for food, or nest. The compact spaces that these areas create make perfect nesting places for small birds. Birds can cause noise issues as they chatter or fly around in highly-trafficked areas. Droppings can damage structures and supports as well as interrupt aesthetics. Birds nesting near lighted signs, lighting fixtures, and exhaust vents also create a fire hazard.

5Surface parking lot and poolside lighting

Exterior lighting poles are a favorite perching spot for many birds, especially seagulls and grackles. Droppings can build up on the lights, ground, and vehicles below. At the poolside, birds may bother guests as they swoop in for food.

6Water features

Water features, such as pools and fountains, provide drinking and bathing sources for birds. On-property water bodies may be attractive to larger species, including geese. Geese leave behind large droppings that make a mess of landscaped areas. They can also be aggressive if they feel threatened.

7Outdoor dining areas

Food of any sort will attract birds to an area. Birds may perch on high points around outdoor dining areas or walk around on the ground. Birds in these areas are disruptive; some more aggressive species may steal food from tables or people.

8Trash areas

Trash receptacles and dumpsters, especially those without well-fitting lids, are full of items that provide food and nesting material for birds. Depending on the location of the trash receptacle, bird activity can be noisy and lead to guest complaints.

Don’t Go It Alone

Bird management is a serious task and shouldn’t be undertaken lightly. Done incorrectly, it can be ineffective, illegal, and create a public relations problem. Many species are protected by federal, state, or local laws and require permits for control measures. Birds are not perceived as pests by the public. Bird control measures, especially in plain view of people, may prompt concerned calls to authorities, media, or social media attention.

Implementing an integrated bird management program can help avoid these negative outcomes. Hoteliers should work with a bird management professional to determine the root cause of a bird problem and the most effective, humane solution. Solutions for bird problems may include: clean up and disinfection; exclusion; grid systems; perch modification; and sensory, visual, and/or auditory repellents.

Why Invest in Integrated Bird Management?

Typically, the cost of implementing an integrated bird management program is significantly less than the loss of business, repair, or insurance claims that a hotel may face should bird issues lead to larger problems. Many businesses pay for repeated cleanup services and repairs, not realizing that there are ways to resolve bird issues. An experienced bird management provider can help implement permanent solutions, which can reduce long-term costs, but more importantly, keep guests safe, comfortable, and protected.



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Kim Lewis is Rentokil’s Division Manager of Bird Management Services. Lewis has spent more than 30 years working with high-profile companies to implement safe, humane integrated bird management solutions. In addition to managing a staff that works across North America, Lewis also has had the opportunity throughout his career to work with bird control product manufacturers to help perform product efficacy testing. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Kutztown University.