Is It Legal to Shoot Pest Birds?

This is a question many clients ask us. For a lot of property owners, it seems clear that the most logical option is just to shoot and kill any birds which are settling on their property. However, the laws surrounding this are not black and white, something which will be outlined in this blog post.

If pest birds are causing problems on your domestic or commercial property, give us a call now on 0141 471 9255.

The Legality of Shooting Pest Birds

In recent decades, Britain has introduced some of the strictest wildlife protection legislation on the planet. In the vast majority of pest bird situations, merely shooting them is entirely illegal and can lead to significant punishment.

However, when the following risks are present, shooting is permitted:

  • A risk of disease spreading to humans
  • Damage to livestock, fruit and vegetable crops, livestock food, timber growth, or farmed fish
  • A risk for any air traffic.

The Legality of Shooting Pest Birds

If the above conditions are met, then swift and conclusive action is absolutely vital. As a result, it is not illegal to shoot pest birds in this situation.

Are Shotguns or Air Rifles Preferred for Pest Control?

Different pest control companies use different firearms depending on their preferences. However, we are of the opinion, that the only truly effective and responsible tool that should be used is an air rifle.

This is the case for a number of reasons, but to begin with, we should discuss why the shotgun is still so popular. First and foremost, it is easy to hit a bird with a shotgun as it launches a cloud of pellets which spread out and will strike anything within a wide area.

As a result, you do not need perfect aim in order to strike a bird either standing or out of the sky. However, it is also difficult to control where the rest of the pellets will end up, endangering any nearby property or living things.

Additionally, many pest controllers favour a shotgun as the loud bang will scare any birds in the surrounding area to flee the property. Aware of the danger, the birds will take off and look elsewhere for somewhere far more peaceful.

However, this result is only temporary. After biding their time and waiting for things to calm down, the birds will just return to the area and settle right back down.

In response to these issues, our pest controllers will use a silent but effective air rifle. Our technicians are very well-trained which means they can effectively hit birds with only one predictable projectile, ensuring safety.

Additionally, because we will not cause widespread panic, we will be able to deal with a number of birds permanently. Although the results might be less instantaneous, they are still quick and, importantly, lasting.

Are Shotguns or Air Rifles Preferred for Pest Control?

Legal Bird Control Methods

In situations where shooting is not legal, there are a number of effective techniques which we can employ to deal with pest birds.

Physical Barriers

The first option is to, quite simply, stop birds from accessing areas which they might want to roost on. We can do this in a number of ways, including the use of:

  • Bird Netting
  • Bird Wiring
  • Bird Spiking

Although totally harmless, birds will not be able to overcome these obstacles. As a result, they will fly elsewhere to look for somewhere to settle that is less exposed.


There are a number of techniques for causing a flight response in birds. One of which is to trick the birds into thinking a predator is present. We can do this by playing predatory bird calls, or indeed the distress calls of prey species.

Additionally, we can place fake birds of prey around a property, or devices which appear like birds of prey to pests.

However, we also have the option of employing genuine falconry to disperse the birds. A trained hawk or falcon can be deployed in order to trick the birds into thinking it area is permanently unsafe.

Birds also assume that light lasers are physical threats. By setting up a laser to ‘patrol’ an area, any landing birds will quickly flee as the light moves towards them. After this process is repeated a few times, they will grow tired of it and move somewhere significantly more peaceful.

Get in Touch

If pest birds are causing issues upon your property, do not hesitate to get in touch today. Our professional technicians will develop and put into place a bespoke plan which accommodates all of your individual needs and requirements.

To speak to an operator today, call 0141 471 9255.

Alternatively, complete our contact form, and one of our personnel will be in touch as soon as possible.