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Bird Free Gel - Your Questions Answered

Spring signals the start of the main nesting season for most birds - including those that can be a nuisance. In this post we answer many of the questions often asked about our highly acclaimed Bird Free Gel.

While everyone in the UK loves wildlife there are some creatures that can become problematic. Certain birds, especially pigeons and seagulls, are well known for being invasive, messy and often noisy. People suffering from bird infestations can struggle to find effective, humane solutions which is why we offer Bird Free Gel from our store. This is an exceptionally effective bird deterrent that’s now widely used to protect a wide variety of public spaces, train stations, historic buildings and private homes from the impact of pest bird infestations.

Here are some of the questions people often ask about their bird problems and using Bird Free Gel.

Why do Pigeons (or Seagulls) Build Their Nests on My Roof?

One of the problems with pest birds is that when they have decided on a nesting site they are likely to remain there. They select their nesting sites based on the availability of food and shelter. So if there are nearby bins where they can find food scraps and maybe a sheltered rooftop area, such as under solar panels, they are likely to find the rooftop an attractive nesting location.

What are the Laws Regarding Pest Bird Control?

All wild birds in England are protected by law. People are not allowed to capture wild birds, or damage their eggs or nests to prevent or solve problems they may be causing. The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended)  states that all wild birds are protected and usually cannot be killed or taken except under licence. As a result, you must not: intentionally kill, injure or take any wild bird.

But there are various non-lethal bird control tactics that can be effective. Including: 

  • Restricting access to food.
  • Scaring the birds away (e.g. using scarecrows).
  • Protecting areas to prevent birds from roosting or nesting.
  • Managing areas to make them less attractive to birds seeking nesting sites.
  • Using physical barriers to keep birds away. 

Which Birds are Classed as Vermin in the UK?

It is important to note that the term ‘vermin’ has no legal meaning. Vermin is a purely subjective term.

But several bird species are recognised as pests in the UK. Pigeons are at the top of the list, followed by seagulls. But geese, magpies, sparrows, starlings, crows, doves and even woodpeckers and swallows are all known to have caused problems for some people and would therefore be considered as pests.

Do Bird Nests and Droppings Cause Damage?

Nesting birds can cause damage and danger in many ways.

Bird droppings are messy and corrosive. Their excrement is highly acidic with a pH of around 3 to 4.5. This will eat through most building materials if left untouched.

The natural nesting behaviour of birds can also lead to property damage as birds will peck at roofing materials, build nests under solar panels and seek out crevices and other sheltered areas in which to build their nests and raise their chicks.

Nest-building involves the collection of debris which will often accumulate in guttering systems causing blockages that will potentially result in water damage. Dried nesting materials also present a significant fire risk, easily ignited by an ember from a garden bonfire.

Chimneys and ventilation systems are also often blocked by birds nests. This can cause serious hazards including the build up of poisonous carbon monoxide inside a building.

Bird nests can also host ticks, mites, lice and fleas along with viruses, bacteria and parasites. Moulted bird feathers can also cause breathing difficulties as well as contributing to the previously mentioned blockages and fire risk.

Are Bird Droppings Hazardous to Humans?

Bird droppings can be very hazardous to humans.

A build-up of bird excrement on pavements and walkways can be very slippery, especially when wet, making it dangerous to walk on.

And breathing dust or water droplets contaminated with bird droppings can lead to various infections including Salmonella or even Psittacosis. Salmonella is a well known bacterial infection that can cause diarrhoea and is particularly dangerous to infants and people with weakened immune systems. Psittacosis is a rare bacterial infection mainly associated with parrots and similar species but does affect other birds, including pigeons. Symptoms are typically a flu-like illness and pneumonia.

Why are Birds Considered to be Dangerous Pests?

The primary reasons why some birds can be considered dangerous pests are as previously noted. Their nests can cause a range of hazards and their droppings can carry a variety of diseases.

But another aspect of the danger caused by pest birds is their protective nature toward their chicks and eggs. Seagulls will swoop on people and pets if they consider them to be a threat. This behaviour will usually subside once chicks have fledged.

Am I Allowed to Remove Bird Nests?

As noted, all wild birds are protected by law in the UK. It is a criminal offence, under Section 1 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act of 1981, to intentionally take, damage or destroy the nest of any wild bird while it is in use or being built. The law prevents anyone from moving or damaging nests while they are being built or when they are being used. Only a few exceptions to this ruling can be applied under licence.

But once a nest has been entirely abandoned it is OK to remove some nests. It is important to be aware of exceptions regarding birds that are known to reuse their nests. For up-to-date details on these birds check the Wildlife and Countryside Act.

Can Pest Controllers Shoot Pigeons?

In some circumstances shooting pest birds might be used as a last resort. Pest control professionals will always attempt to use other bird control methods before shooting them. The vast majority of pest bird shooting activities are focused on feral pigeons which breed prolifically.

The shooting of pigeons is permitted under the authority of relevant general licences issued by the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) for England, Natural Resources Wales (NRW) for Wales, NatureScot for Scotland, the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) in Northern Ireland, and the Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture (DEFA) on the Isle of Man. General licences authorise the control of specified species for defined purposes listed on the relevant licence, such as ‘preventing serious damage’.

What is the Best Way to Keep Birds Away?

If you carry out an online search for the “best bird deterrent” you’ll be presented with a long list of well know anti-bird solutions. For any anti-bird solution to be considered as “the best” it must be both effective and appropriate for the specific situation and circumstances.

Visual deterrents include scarecrows, shiny objects moving in the breeze and fake birds of prey. While these techniques can have some deterrent impact they aren’t widely considered to be universally effective. Birds are intelligent creatures that can quickly determine whether a visual deterrent is actually a real threat. But on the plus side, visual deterrents are easy to deploy and generally very low cost.

Physical barriers include anti-bird netting and anti-bird spikes. Both of these are recognised as effective in some situations. Shrouding a balcony in anti-bird netting, for example, will entirely prevent birds from accessing the balcony area but many would find it obtrusive and some netting can be hazardous to smaller birds. Anti-bird spikes will also prevent birds from landing and roosting on some surfaces but some birds are very good at negotiating their way around these devices. Installation and deployment of these physical barriers can also be challenging as well as expensive.

Sonic and ultrasonic bird repellants are another option. Sonic repellants use audible sounds of natural predators, such as birds of prey or foxes, to scare birds away. And ultrasonic devices use sounds that ar outside the range of human audibility, but can be heard by birds. Sonic devices may be prohibited by law in some areas and can potentially upset the neighbours while ultrasonic devices can be effective but birds will sometimes become accustomed to the sounds.

bird free pack
Bird Free Gel - 15 Dish Timesaver Pack


Bird Free Fire Gel is what we recommend. Used in the UK since 2011 Bird Free Gel has become widely recognised for its incredible bird deterrent properties. Its sometimes simply called Fire Gel as the unique compound emits ultraviolet light that bird’s perceive as fire. This has an immediate impact, prompting birds to stay clear. And Bird Free Gel not only exploits birds’ visual senses it also contains peppermint oil which has long been known to be an effective bird deterrent. The combination of visual and olfactory stimuli cause birds to immediately keep away. Birds also hate to get the gel substance on their feathers and they quickly learn to stay away from areas where the substance is deployed.

Bird Free Gel is very low cost and easily deployed wherever there are pest birds that need to be kept at bay.

Do Fake Owls Keep Birds Away?

Fake owls fall into the visual bird deterrent category. Some pest birds may initially be deterred by the appearance of a fake owl but this deterrent effect is likely to be short-lived. Birds are intelligent creatures and will soon learn that a fake owl doesn’t move and isn’t really a serious threat. It is not uncommon to see a fake owl covered in bird droppings due to ‘pest’ birds perching on it!

Will Aluminium Foil Keep Birds Away?

Aluminium foil, old CDs and even scarecrows are all well known visual bird deterrents that can have some positive impact in keeping pest birds at bay. Gardeners often use shiny foil or CDs, strung across their gardens, to help protect seedlings from hungry birds.

Much like the fake owl technique, aluminium foil and other shiny devices might have some immediate impact but this can be short-lived as birds become accustomed to whatever is being used.

What is Bird Free Gel?

Bird Free Gel is a proprietary gel mixture that contains pyranine. This is the same colouring agent used in highlighter pens. This ingredient fluoresces when exposed to UV radiation, causing the gel to glow with ultraviolet light.

bird free gel
Bird Free Gel - Why it Works


While UV light is invisible to us humans, birds can see it. And to them the shimmering UV light resembles the appearance of fire which triggers their natural response to keep away. The fire-like UV appearance of Bird Free Gel is why its sometimes called Fire Gel.

As noted, the gel substance also contains peppermint oil and studies have demonstrated how birds respond to the menthol vapours emitted by peppermint by keeping away.

These two bird-deterrent components trigger immediate responses, causing birds to stay away from wherever Bird Free Gel has been deployed. And if pest birds attempt to return to a previously used nesting site where the gel has been used they may encounter the viscous material which will stick to their feathers. This is another powerful deterrent that encourages birds to move on and find alternative nesting sites.

Importantly, Bird Free Gel is totally harmless to people, pets and birds. Although birds hate the stuff, it doesn’t cause them any harm whatsoever, even if they come into direct contact with it. (Note: although the Gel is safe and manufacured from food grade ingredients, it is advisable to ensure that your pet dog does not have access to it, in order to ensure that they don`t ingest any quantity of it).

How Do I Use Bird Free Gel?

As well as being highly effective in keeping birds away from where they aren’t welcome Bird Free Gel is incredibly easy to use and doesn’t cost a fortune. Supplied in pre-filled dishes its simply a matter of placing these wherever birds like to roost, nest or congregate. To make installation even easier we supply bird free gel in various dish formats including magnetic, cable-tie attached or our super easy-to-use balcony protector pack that consists of a rubber matt carrying a number of prefilled Bird Free Gel dishes. One or more of these preconfigured matts can be easily and quickly placed where necessary on a balcony or patio to immediately prevent pest birds from becoming a nuisance.

bird free railings
Bird Free Gel Dishes Attached to Railings


Its important to initially clean the area in which the Bird Free Gel dishes are to be installed, ideally with an appropriate biocide and while wearing sensible protective clothing (gloves, goggles and safety dust mask).

Is Bird Free Gel Effective and How Long Does it Last?

Many extensive studies into the effectiveness of Bird Free Gel have now been carried out and all have delivered incredible results. But perhaps the most compelling evidence of efficacy comes from our own customer reviews of this product. Here are just a few:

Hallelujah! I inherited a seagull nest when I bought my house a couple of years ago (it’s opposite a flat roof building hosting a colony) and of course they returned last year. I was advised netting or spikes weren’t options and fortunately found Bird Free Fire Gel online. I spoke to Elke who besides being extremely knowledgeable, efficiently sent them express delivery (at my cost) and I had them installed the next day. I had a ’high pressure’ area as they’d regularly returned to this spot and though I bought a couple of extra boxes, I’ve used them all @ 15cm intervals. They briefly returned the next day but soon left and have not been seen since. Thank you. Great product and great service.


So far so good! This amazing gel seems to have done the trick and kept the pigeons away from our house balconies and parapet. I’m impressed with something that is passive in the sense it doesn’t harm any of the birds at all.

Graham Hutchings

Great product that really works and the pre loaded dishes make it very quick and easy to install.

You do have to clean the site down first to get rid of old bird mess and nesting stuff before installing Bird Free - using the biocide will help, but fixing the dishes in place is a doddle and the birds will be gone in a day or two because birdfree works right away.


And Bird Free Gel is formulated to be incredibly durable. It remains effective, if undisturbed, for at least three years and usually much longer. Trials have demonstrated that even when the gel is covered in accumulated dust and grime it continues to keep birds away.

Where is Bird Free Gel Used?

Bird Free Gel is now relied upon to keep pest birds away from many historic buildings, railway stations, hospitals, shopping centres, shops and many other locations. Follow this link to a page where you can see videos of Bird Free Gel successfully deployed in a wide variety of often challenging situations.

bird free gel covent garden
Bird Free Gel Installed at Covent Garden


More on Bird Free Gel

As specialists in the supply of effective bird proofing solutions we regularly publish content on this topic. Here are some of our previous posts that you will find useful.

And follow this link to see our range of Bird Free Gel products.

For more information on Bird Free Gel - Your Questions Answered talk to Insight Security

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