Local bird poop

Asked June 10, 2020, 12:33 PM EDT

I have a small townhome with a very small front porch. I recently was told by a neighbor that just above my front porch birds built a nest within an air vent just over over hedges which are right next to the front posts of my porch. The nest and birds were very quickly removed and the vent sealed. What I wasn't told is that when the handyman returned( because it looked like two grown birds got stuck trying to get OUT of the sealed vent) he came back to reinforce the screen netting and just let the two dead birds drop on the front hedges below and HE DIDN'T TELL BECAUSE HE DID NOT WANT TO DEAL with the birds. Anyway foundI someone immediately who came over and removed the birds. But, I didn't realize is that when the vent was opened by the birds originally , a lot of bird droppings accumulated on the hedges below the vent ( which are immediately next to my VERY SMALL porch where I place a lounge chair to get some fresh air and sun during these summer weeks).

I am very concerned about these droppings since they are so close to my chair ( my porch is so small there is no where else to place it).

Is sun and rain enough to clean these hedges? Or, what if I just sprayed the hedges with water? Do I need to wear a special mask and/or glasses or should I just leave the hedges alone this summer and sit inside by a window. I have no one to help me but don't need more issues while all else is going on now.

Any suggestions,? Oh...I am a senior and this is the only place for me to rest outside of my small home. Thank you so much.

Michigan

1 Response

I would certainly not stay indoors as a result of this problem, but your concern over bird transmitted diseases in their droppings is certainly legitimate since birds can carry diseases that can sometimes be transmitted to humans. For that to happen, however, the bird droppings would actually have to have one of those diseases (not all bird droppings are contaminated), and you would have to breathe in or ingest something from the droppings. Keep in mind that although this is possible, we generally don't acquire those things simply by sitting outdoors nearby a small amount of bird poop. Those bird-human infections usually occur in situations where there has been a long term population of birds and regular piles of droppings that grow the disease organism. Take a look at this fact sheet form Illinois Dept of Public Health:

http://www.idph.state.il.us/public/hb/hbb&bdrp.htm

Yes, the sun and rain will eventually dissolve the bird droppings on the hedges, but you could also try to spray them down a bit yourself to speed up the process. To ensure safety, put gloves, a mask, and safety glasses on while spraying it down. Another option is to pour (instead of spraying) some soapy water over the bird droppings for a few days, or pour on a bit of diluted disinfectant for a short period (e.g., 10 minutes). Soapy water applied a few times and left on plants does little harm to them (do not do it all the time b/c detergents remove the waxy coatings on plant leaves). In contrast, the disinfectant could cause damage to plants, so if you want to try that, experiment on a small section first before trying it across the whole area (e.g., apply a small amount of diluted disinfectant for 10 or less minutes to one spot, then rinse off and wait a couple days to assess any plant damage before doing it more).

Reach out for more help if you need it, but, rest assure, once you clean it up a bit, your worries will subside. Again, there is a relatively small risk that you have diseased droppings; however, it will likely ease your mind a bit if you get it cleaned up so you can enjoy the time outdoors.