Ford Mennel is a plant manager for The Mennel Milling Co., a fifth-generation family flour-milling company (founded in Roanoke, VA, in 1886) that enjoys a reputation for quality, service and uniformity of product. However, there was a time you could find Mennel doing some research on bird control via the Web.

He wanted to keep feral pigeons off his mill and grain elevators-about 3,000 square feet of area. Because it was such a large area, he looked into the Bird Buffer, Nixalite's new automatic bird control hazing system, which he found at It specializes in controlling birds in large open spaces.

Nixalite is a manufacturer of effective humane bird and pest control products, and even invented the original "porcupine wire" bird spikes back in 1953. Today the company distributes non-toxic humane control products targeted for birds and other pests. Like Mennel Milling, Nixalite is also a family-owned firm in its third generation.

According to Cory Gellerstedt, Nixalite President, "As with most technologies that are new and unique, the Bird Buffer faces the challenge of convincing people that it works. I have seen its effectiveness in orchards, produce packaging plants, electrical generator sites, and with all kinds of birds, including blackbirds, pigeons, doves and other pest birds.

"The Bird Buffer uses methyl anthrenilate (MA) in a fine haze. It is an effective deterrent, and has the advantages of not harming birds or people. The MA stimulates the trigeminal nerve in the mucus membrane only found in birds."

Mennel contacted Nixalite for detailed information about the Bird Buffer and how to install it. "There were people here who were skeptical about purchasing it and wondered if it would really work," admits Mennel.

"We installed it on the roof of the mill. It wasn't difficult to do. Nixalite supplied the MA and the machine, and gave us instructions on setup. For the first two weeks, we noticed a slow decline in the number of pigeons. Then, by the third week, the pigeons were staying away from the mill area.

"The system is working nicely for us. It doesn't get rid of the pigeons altogether, but encourages them to keep their distance. Bottom line is we are happy with [it]. Because it is an automatic system, we don't have to spend money for labor, and because the area we are controlling is so large, the Bird Buffer has been a cost-effective bird management tool."