Nesting birds continue to cause fires in farm machinery, insurance claims show.

FMG, New Zealand’s leading rural insurer says nesting birds continue to account for around $700k worth of tractor fire claims each year—it’s encouraging machinery operators to remember to ‘Stop & Pop’ the bonnet and check for birds.

“Starlings in particular, have the ability to find their way into the smallest of entries to build their nests, and they do so very quickly. With the availability of dry grass on farm which is the birds’ preferred nesting material, we know that they can build a nest in less than the time it takes to eat your lunch or have a cup of tea,” says Stephen Cantwell, FMG’s Manager Advice.

Stephen says FMG sees most of the claims for tractor fires caused by bird nests coincide with the Starling breeding season, which runs from September through to December. Over the last three years 142 tractor fires claims resulted from birds’ nests. This accounts for 38% of all tractor fire claims over that period.

“Even quad bikes, side-by-sides, cars and utes aren’t immune from a determined bird keen to build a nest.”

FMG recommends that you and your employees check for nests under the bonnet each time you start up your machinery.

“FMG’s long-running campaign, ‘Stop & Pop’, reminds operators to check the engine before getting back to work. Another tip we’ve heard people find useful is leaving the bonnet up to discourage birds from nesting in the first place.

“We also suggest fitting each of your tractors with a suitable, easily accessible fire extinguisher.

“We know the fire service can’t always arrive at your farm in time, so having a fire extinguisher installed is the best chance to save your tractor or other machinery,” says Stephen.

FMG provides free ‘Stop & Pop’ stickers to help remind busy farmers and operators to check under the bonnet. You can order these stickers here [internal link needed]



Claire Broun, External Communications Specialist

Mobile: 027 302 5057