Meridian Bird Removal (formerly Meridian Wildlife Services, LLC) actually started many years ago. Co-owners Brian Burke and David Brugh are childhood friends. They grew up on the same street in a quiet suburb of Roanoke, VA. The two were interested in outdoor pursuits from an early age. Seining the local creeks for minnows and wildlife, fishing for anything and everything from rainbow trout to carp, and yes, attempting to catch birds with nets in their backyards (picture Wile E. Coyote vs. the Roadrunner).
After high school, each went their separate ways pursuing different paths. David attended James Madison University and obtained his B.B.A. in Marketing, working in the non-profit fund-raising and education sectors, while Brian became a U.S. Marine and opened and operated his own mortgage brokerage firm.
The two reunited after nearly 15 years, now with families of their own, and picked up right where they left off – fishing, hunting and eventually wildlife trapping. One January morning in 2010, as the two were standing in a local dairy farmer’s pasture, staring at empty coyote traps and attempting not to notice the effects of the single-digit temperatures, Brian suggested to David they figure out a way to do this for a living!
The mortgage industry was certainly no picnic then, reeling from the economic calamity just a couple of years prior, but Brian still had a successful firm. David also had a thriving full-time career as a sales professional with an education supply company. However, both knew while they liked their current jobs, their passion was elsewhere. So, in April of that year, both obtained the necessary state permits and established an LLC. In May, they had their first customer! A local hotel had a groundhog problem. A big one. The groundhogs were causing such a problem, they were regularly opening the automatic front doors at the lobby entrance! In short order, the two had successfully captured and removed 13 groundhogs, four opossums, and three raccoons and become well-acquainted with the local feral cat population. The customer was thrilled, and Brian and David had their first income from what the two could hardly believe was a “job.” It was truly just an extension of the adventure that had begun decades earlier on that suburban street in Roanoke.
It did not take long for the business to grow and thrive. Solving all sorts of human-wildlife conflicts became the norm. They handled snakes, bats, skunks, honeybees, and then birds.
David was still a traveling sales professional during the day. In his travels, he found himself constantly noticing the problems birds were causing. In pursuit of the solution for these problems, David met a sales professional for a national nuisance bird company. The sales rep shared that he had just come from three weeks solving bird problems for a customer in the tropics. The rep’s next stop was a Hawaiian island to help customers there. That didn’t sound so terrible!
From that point, Brian and David, still both working their full-time jobs, began to focus more on learning about birds and the issues they cause and how to develop meaningful solutions for their customers. Through thousands of hours of field research and a lot of elbow grease, the pair began to forge a proficient model for managing nuisance bird problems.
Soon other good friends and acquaintances whom the pair knew through their outdoor sports connections were tapped to assist with the growing number of jobs. Everyone was having a great time and enjoying the thrill of helping a budding business grow.
As the demand continued to build for more bird solutions from customers, the pair soon found themselves solving commercial bird problems for companies all across Virginia, then North Carolina, then Maryland. It did not take long for the owners to see that, in order to maximize the opportunity and the interest of all those working for the company, a single focus on solving commercial bird problems should be the defining characteristic of the business. It was a difficult decision, but deciding to focus solely on solving bird issues and getting away from all the other nuisance wildlife issues proved invaluable.
Today, the company enjoys their position as premier provider of bird solutions to some of the largest businesses in the world. The company motto of “Embracing New Adventures Daily” is as true today as it was when David and Brian first started.
Meridian Bird Removal is headquartered in Christiansburg, Virginia.