Just like in the Alfred Hitchcock movie, birds are wreaking havoc when it comes to rural insurance causing $4 million in claims over the last three years says FMG.

“The most common claim is tractor fires caused by birds nesting in tractor engines during springtime. The engine sparks up and before you know it there’s a fire,” says FMG Manager for Advice Services Stephen Cantwell.

“It’s not uncommon for tractors in these scenarios to quickly go up in flames, endangering lives and putting buildings and other farm equipment at risk.”

“Looking at our claims data nests have also caused fires in other vehicles as well, including cars, utes, diggers, and quads,” says Cantwell.

It’s not just vehicles. Nests in switchboards in buildings can also result in a fire causing significant damage and disruption and potentially loss of life.

It’s also important for dairy farmers to keep birds out of the shed as well to protect their milk. “FMG receives roughly 25 claims a year from birds getting into vats and spoiling milk,” says Cantwell.

However, most of these incidents are preventable. As we’re in spring now and it's nesting time don’t forget to Stop & Pop – stop, pop the hood and check for any new nests.

You can order a Stop & Pop reminder sticker for your tractor or other vehicle at www.fmg.co.nz/advice/sticker-order-form.

“Also, put a reminder in your calendar to check the switchboards in your house and other buildings with power as well, you might be surprised by what you find,” says Cantwell.

There are also other claims that FMG sees due to birds. These include carpet stains, pipes blocked by nests and in a final nod to Hitchcock causing damage flying into vehicles and windows.

For further advice head to www.fmg.co.nz/advice