Extra care should be taken when cleaning out gutters contaminated with bird poop.

Many species of birds are declining and should be protected.

Histoplasmosis is an infection caused by breathing in spores of a fungus often found in bird and bat droppings.

Bird poop in gutters

Bird poop is a disgusting yet common contaminant that is often found in gutters. down exterior walls and on paths and patios. According to the RSPB (The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds) many species of birds are declining and should be protected, but unfortunately birds can be a nuisance for many homeowners. Bird poop in particular can cause problems for the gutters if they get clogged up. Furthermore bird poop can smell very unpleasant if its not removed and cleaned away frequently.

Why do gutters fill up with bird poop?

If you've noticed an unusual amount of birds on your roof, it's likely they have a nearby food and water source, and may have found an ideal place to nest underneath your roof tiles, solar panels or in the attic. This area provides them with the ideal breeding ground where they're warm and safe from predators. Most of the time, nesting activity is harmless. However the area where the birds were able to get into your roof may be more problematic and it may need repairing.

The ever increasing number of solar panels that are being installed on homes and business across the UK has provided extra places for birds to nest. Lager birds such as pigeons prefer to nest under solar panels as they are able to access them more easily, whereas smaller birds including Swifts, Sparrows and House Martins find it easy to access roof spaces.

Nesting birds and the law

All bird nests are protected by law. It is illegal to intentionally disturb or destroy the active nest of any wild bird.

All birds, their nests and eggs are protected by law and it is thus an offence, with certain exceptions (see Exceptions), to: Intentionally kill, injure or take any wild bird. Intentionally take, damage or destroy the nest of any wild bird while it is in use or being built.

Cleaning out gutters containing bird poop

Gutter cleaning can be dangerous and extra precautions should be taken when cleaning out gutters that are contaminated with bird poop. Bird droppings are a breeding ground for disease-causing parasites. Not only can these organisms attack the substrata of a building, they can spread infections and diseases to humans. One health hazard that is a concern when dealing with bird guano is Histoplasmosis.

Histoplasmosis is an infection caused by breathing in spores of a fungus often found in bird and bat droppings. The infection is most commonly spread when these spores are inhaled after taking to the air, such as during demolition or cleanup projects.

When cleaning out gutters that are contaminated with bird poop you should always:

  • wear a suitable dust mask preferably a FFP3 mask
  • wear suitable rubber gloves or gauntlets
  • avoid breathing in dust from bird poop
  • avoid touching bird poop
  • dispose of the gutter waste appropriately
  • wash hands throughly with soap and warm water
  • Where possible, clean out gutters using a gutter vacuum fitted with an appropriate filter

Can bird poop be composted?

According to CompostThis.co.uk pigeon droppings can be composted – though it is best to only compost it from healthy, captive birds (such as racing stock), as poop from wild birds may contain harmful diseases or pathogens.

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