There is much anecdotal evidence that birds and their droppings are a major problem for the heritage profession. The purpose of this paper is to examine how serious heritage practitioners consider the bird impact to be.
An online survey was conducted of 59 Australian heritage professionals of between one and >20 year’s experience in the field.
Bird impacts were not considered of major concern to buildings. The longer experience a practitioner had, the less likely the impacts were considered an issue. Feral pigeons were deemed the most problematic, followed by cockatoos, starlings, swallows, seagulls, mynas, sparrows, cormorants, ibis, ducks and birds of prey. The professionals ranked common deterrent methods. The highest-ranking deterrents were bird netting and bird spikes, but they were only considered moderately effective. The costs of installation and maintenance, as well the ease of installation, were all deemed significantly less important than the physical impact, the aesthetic sympathy and the effectiveness of a deterrent method.
This study indicates that the impact of birds on buildings in Australia may be of less concern than previously thought, and may be driven by other factors (i.e. aesthetics, commercial companies) rather than actual effects.
This is first study of its kind that surveyed the experiences of a wide range of heritage practitioners.
The authors are indebted to all anonymous participants who donated their time to participate in the survey. Georgia Meros (Australia ICOMOS, Burwood) kindly posted the call for participation in “Australia ICOMOS E-Mail News” and furnished data on the size of the subscription list. Gail Fuller (SPAN, Charles Sturt University) kindly posted and hosted the questionnaire on the Charles Sturt University SurveyMonkey® account.
Spennemann, D., Pike, M. and Watson, M. (2018), "Bird impacts on heritage buildings: Australian practitioners’ perspectives and experiences", Journal of Cultural Heritage Management and Sustainable Development, Vol. 8 No. 1, pp. 62-75. https://doi.org/10.1108/JCHMSD-07-2016-0042Download as .RIS
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