Bird Dropping Removal

Bird droppings or particularly pigeon guano is classified as hazardous and extremely dangerous if it becomes airborne or gets into the air or ventilation systems in buildings.

On the 19th January 2019 two patients died at Glasgow hospital after contracting a fungal infection from pigeon droppings. A young child and elderly patient inhaled the microscopic fungus – cryptococcus – typically found on the soil of pigeon droppings. In Ireland too breathingillnesses and skin infections have resulted from exposure to pigeon droppings.

Disease & Bird Droppings

The presence of birds can bring many public health risks in terms of diseases which can be passed onto humans.There are more than 110 pathogens (8 virus, 55 fungi, 41 bacteria, 6 protozoa) reported to affect birds. These zoonoses can be broadly divided into air-borne, food-borne or insect-borne.

Some notifiable diseases to the Department of Agriculture, Food & Marine include for example:

  • Avian Chlamydiosis (aka Psittacosis)
  • Newcastle disease
  • Paramyxovirus of pigeons
  • Avian Influenza

Other more common diseases include E. coli 0157, Salmonella, Bird Flu H5N1, MRSA, Listeria, Staphylococcus Aureus and bird mites & fleas.

Histoplasmosis and Cryptococcosis are fungal diseases that grow in the bird droppings and soil that can cause flu like symptoms or in extreme cases death. When dried out droppings are disturbed, a cloud of airborne dust carries micro-organisms into the lungs causing respiratory problems. Psittacosis is a bacterial disease that spreads when bird droppings dry and dropping particles become airborne and are inhaled by humans. Campylobacterosis is a bacterial infection contracted via ingestion or contact of guano dust. It causes diarrhoea or dysentery syndrome mainly, but can also include body pains, stomach cramps and fever. 

Pigeon Guano is hazardous, handling any quantity of bird droppings should be done with care due to the risk from disease. Large quantities should only be handled by an experienced licensed professional pest management or environmental management company and disposed of safely by a licensed waste management company. Only an approved licensed biocidal detergent from the Department of Agriculture may be used in the cleaning process.

When cleaning bird droppings, households should dampen and treat the affected area with disinfectant, before removal to prevent the risk of inhalation and infection. Under no circumstances should a power washer or vacuum cleaner be used as this will disperse contaminated infectious particles causing them to become airborne.Wetting down the work area with a DAFM approved disinfectant is essential to prevent the spread of dust outside the work area.



There are health and safety regulations that need to be followed when working with or near bird droppings e.g.

  • The Safety, Health & Welfare at Work Act 2005
  • Biocidal Products Regulation 2012
  • Chemical Act 2008 & 2010
  • Animal Health & Welfare Act 2013
  • Housing Standards Regulations 2017 (Rented Housing) - Article 12

Measures need to be taken to protect staff, third party contractors, tenants, the general public and your facilities from the health risks associated with bird droppings. Apart from the unsightly nature of the droppings, it is also highly acidic and can cause damage to buildings which in turn leads to higher maintenance and repair costs.

Don’t leave it too chance, contact Ecologica Environmental today to arrange a site survey and environmental risk assessment. One of our bird specialists will provide a report with recommendations for decontamination and mitigation measures to be taken to prevent future environmental health risks and unforeseen maintenance costs.A certificate of decontamination is provided on completion as evidence of a disease-free zone.

Talk to us now on (086) 812 0435 for immediate advice or to arrange an appointment.