Locally, the only species of birds that are usually considered as agricultural pests are the following three: the Spanish Sparrow (Passer hispaniolensis), Għasfur or Għammiel tal-Bejt, is usually considered a pest in fields as it gathers in large numbers to feed on agricultural products. It easily gets familiar to objects installed primarily to scare it. In fact local farmers tend to nick name it as ‘ġurdien bil- ġwienaħ’ (mouse with wings), and this is because of the latter’s destructions and also due to its cunningness of a mouse. The only nuisance caused by this bird as a domestic pest is that it tends to see ventilators as the cradle for its offspring. Besides the nest which sometimes makes a foul smell, arthropods usually follow within it. Nest material tends to be bulky, blocks the ventilator and nest material starts entering the house. Despite all this, it is illegal to disturb in any way this species, because it is protected by law. Nearly the same applies for the Starling (Sturnus vulgaris ) Sturnell, except that it does not breed in ventilators and that in some time of the year it may be legally recognized as a huntable species.
On the other hand the Feral pigeon, (Columba livia domest) Ħamiem Selvaġġ, is considered to be both an agricultural and domestic pest, and most tend to blame the latter for fouling most facades of buildings within towns and cities and for carrying certain diseases. As agricultural pests, they eat adequate quantities of agricultural products, and they tend to spread diseases from one farm to the other. Most farmers nick name pigeons ‘firien tas-sema’ (rats of the sky).
Pigeons have been falsely associated with the spreading of human diseases. Contact with pigeon droppings poses a minor risk of contracting histoplasmosis, cryptococcosis, and psittacosis. Pigeons are, however, at potential risk of carrying and spreading avian influenza. Although one study has shown that adult pigeons are not clinically susceptible to the most dangerous strain of avian influenza, the H5N1, other studies have presented definitive evidence of clinical signs and neurological lesions resulting from infection. Furthermore, it has been shown that pigeons are susceptible to other strains of avian influenza, such as the H7N7, from which at least one human fatality has been recorded.