Bird Control

John Dowling Falconry Ltd holds a 3 year Animal Activities License (No.19/00493AWACT) valid until 17/07/2022.



Coronavirus Update

Pest controllers are now recognised by the government as key workers, so John Dowling Falconry Ltd are continuing with essential bird control work during the season. We have additional safety measures in place including appropriate PPE, limited contact with site staff and hand sanitiser in all company vehicles. New method statements and risk assessments recognising the current circumstances are available to our clients and will be added to the relevant site files. 


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John Dowling Falconry Ltd are specialists in bird control and pest species management with over 12 years of experience in the industry. We have a variety of methods at our disposal to ensure the reduction of bird populations at your property. A 50-60% reduction of the target species within the first 2-3 years of our programs is guaranteed to all new customers. As a privately owned business, we are proud to have built a solid reputation for competitively priced and high quality work, with the majority of our contracts coming from existing customer recommendations.

John is certified in Practical Urban Bird Control and RSPH Level 2 Certificate in Pest Control. John Dowling Falconry Ltd is a member of the British Pest Controller’s Association (BPCA), an organisation which ensures the highest standards of services to their clients by regularly auditing its members with strict professional criteria.


Our bird control services include:

  • Falconry Deterrence – Gulls, pigeons
  • Egg & Nest Removal – Gulls, pigeons
  • Guano & Gutter Cleaning – Gulls, pigeons
  • Proofing (netting, spikes) – Gulls, pigeons, swallows
  • Trapping – Pigeons
  • Culling (air rifle) – Pigeons, Lesser Black-backed Gulls





Guano & Gutter Cleaning

This service can be hired exclusively or it can be added to an existing bird control contract. John is certified with City & Guilds NPTC Level 2 Safe Use of Pesticides, which covers the use of guano cleaning chemicals and their applicators. It is vitally important to make the area safe by treating the guano before cleaning, as the bacteria within it can cause a variety of mild to severe infections in humans.


Falconry Deterrence

Our Falconry Deterrence programs involve a qualified Falconer visiting your site with a trained bird of prey, usually between one and three times a week. The bird will be flown freely on site for approximately one to two hours, depending on the severity of the problem. Our Hawks are versatile and can be flown in most spaces safely, including indoors. The Falcons require a larger open space, such as a flat roof.

A humane and environmentally friendly approach to bird control, Falconry Deterrence works by repeatedly disturbing the nuisance birds’ nesting and roosting habits. Once they learn that the area is frequented by a dangerous predator, they will move on to choose a safer, quieter place to live. Our raptors are not trained to catch or kill birds, they simply work as a deterrent by tapping into the prey species’ natural flight reaction.


This solution is proven but does not work overnight – regular visits throughout the season will be required to obtain and maintain results. For the control of gull populations in particular it is essential to combine Falconry Deterrence with an Egg & Nest Removal program. Once gulls have young, they become far too aggressive to be able to fly our birds safely and any previous efforts will be rendered null.

On rare occasions, sites are unsuitable to fly a bird safely due to environmental hazards such as power lines, nearby breeding gull colonies or dangerous machinery. In these events we will recommend the best course of action for you from our other bird control methods. If a Falconry Deterrence visit is unable to proceed due to adverse weather, we will be in touch and reschedule as soon as possible.








Urban Gulls

Egg & Nest Removal

Egg and Nest Removal Programs are vital in controlling nuisance gull populations. This involves fortnightly visits throughout the breeding season to ensure that no eggs hatch and the population does not grow. The gull breeding season begins in late March and continues into the end of July, so in order to be effective the first visit must occur between late March and early April. Gulls can lay several clutches throughout the season, so it is essential that the full program is carried out to obtain the best results.

John is SafeContractor Approved and IPAF Certified if access to the roof via MEWP (mobile elevating work platform) is required. All staff will have appropriate PPE such as harnesses, steel toe workboots and high visibility vests. We can use existing machinery available on your site or we can source a machine from our supplier. Our teams are fully licensed by Natural England to take both Herring Gull (Larus argentus) and Lesser Black Backed Gull (Larus fuscus) eggs in compliance with the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. It is illegal to remove eggs without this license.


Egg & Nest Removal Data for one of our customers (name hidden for confidentiality) 



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Feral Pigeons

Feral Pigeons

Columba livia

It is a proven fact that these birds can and do transmit diseases to humans, the public health risks are real (Wackernagel & Moch 2004).  So how exactly do we come into contact with microorganisms associated with feral pigeons?  The main route of exposure (99.4% of cases) is via airborne particles from pigeon excreta (guano) that can be inhaled by people. If left untreated, dried guano causes a serious health threat.

Diseases caused by pigeon guano include:

  • Salmonellosis can be traced to pigeons, as well as other birds and rodents and most commonly occurs as food poisoning. A project by Dr Jess Rollason at Coventry University found that Salmonella could be recovered in pigeon guano by direct culture after 86 days, with transmission occurring via “faecal dust”.
  • Coli is a common infection caused by bacteria often found in faecal matter and can easily be transmitted to humans.
  • Cryptococcosis is a fungal disease associated with droppings – the spores cause a pneumonia-like illness in humans. In 17 out of 18 investigations, positive results for the Cryptococcus fungus were found in feral pigeon populations.
  • Histoplasmosis is caused by a fungus by the name of Histoplasmosis capsulatum which grows in Pigeon droppings.
  • Psittacosis is an infection caused by Chlamydia psittaci, which can lead to pneumonia in humans. It is a type of bacteria that can be found in Pigeon droppings and studies have shown it is prevalent in over 50% of feral pigeon populations.
  • Toxoplasmosis is an infection caused by the protozoan parasite Toxoplasma gondii and is of particular danger to the elderly or pregnant women, where it can cause seizures and miscarriage. Feral pigeons are carriers of T. gondii. 

The guano is acidic, causing corrosion and damage to metals and brickwork. Nesting materials brought onto buildings by the birds can cause blockages in gutters, drains and chimneys. Subsequent flooding problems can cost businesses thousands.

Pigeon Control solutions we offer:

  • Proofing (netting, spikes etc.)

  • Falconry Deterrence

  • Trapping

  • Culling


The UK urban Gull population is on the increase and Gloucestershire is no exception, in fact Gloucester has been described as the Gull capital of the UK. The main protagonists are Herring Gulls (Larus argentus) and Lesser Black Backed Gulls (Larus fuscus). Like all pests Gulls are great opportunists, they are highly intelligent and very resilient. The readily available food supply prevalent inland, the lack of natural predators, warmth and light of inner city areas and large flat roofs for nesting sites all make up a unique set of circumstances that make our urban environment ideal for these birds.

The growth in the Gull population causes many problems for businesses and residential properties alike, the cacophony of noise generated by these birds especially during the breeding season can be very unsettling and stressful. Gull carcasses, droppings and nesting material can all lead to gutter and drain blockages, flooding, damage to roofs and stonework as well as posing a general health and safety hazard.

During the breeding season Gulls can also become very aggressive to humans, the number of reported incidents of this is on the increase. This issue poses a plethora of problems for schools, factories and business premises, shopping centres, hospitals and residential areas.

Control Methods

There are a few critical factors that must be considered when it comes to managing nuisance Gulls. Firstly, the law: Natural England issues a number of general licences that allows pest controllers to legally carry out control methods that would otherwise be unlawful under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. In 2019, gulls were removed from general licenses so bird controllers are now required to apply for site specific and species specific licenses annually in order to carry out their work within the law. John Dowling Falconry Ltd holds licenses for the control of Herring and Lesser Black Backed Gulls on all current sites. Secondly, an in-depth understanding of the birds’ behaviour and habits, the most appropriate control method for the circumstances and customer, as well as the timing and frequency of control are crucial.  Once we have gained a full understanding of your location and requirements, following our free survey, we can advise on the most effective program of control that meets the quality and value you require.  Falconry programs, egg and nest removal and proofing (spikes, netting) are just a few of the options we offer.

Secondary Infestations (SPII)

Secondary pest insect infestations (SPII) can occur in buildings near bird nesting sites. These can be wide-ranging and numerous with human health implications as well as damage to property.

Bird nests are home to a number of blood-feeding parasites which can bite humans if they stray away from the nesting area. The most common include bird mites (Dermanyssus gallinae), the Martin bug (Oeciacus hirundinis) and the pigeon flea (Ceratophyllus columbae). Bird mites in particular can quickly multiply into thousands, causing a major infestation in properties. They are attracted to mammals by receptors for moisture, heat and CO2 and their bites can cause intense itching, rashes and lesions.

There are also pests that appear due to the presence of feathers, nesting material and droppings. These insects can move on to infest and destroy fabrics and contaminate stored foods. The most common insects include:

  • Spider beetles (Ptinus spp.)
  • Yellow/Lesser mealworm beetles (Tenebrio molitor/ Alphitobus diaperinus)
  • Lesser housefly (Fannia canicularis)
  • White-shouldered house moth (Endrosis sarcitrella)
  • Fur beetle (Attagenus pellio)

In addition, deceased adults or chicks within a building can become a significant source to carrion eating pests such as bluebottles (Calliphora vomitoria), greenbottles (Lucilia sericata) and even flesh flies (Sarcophagidae spp.).

To overcome these issues and to prevent an SPII altogether, it is essential to remove nesting sites.

Hawk Flying

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