In cities and urban areas, pigeons rule the roost. There is plenty of food, and not many predators. These winged pests travel in large groups, and can be hard to deter.
Once they’re settled, they (and all their poop!) are here to stay. How can you deter these winged pests?
Are Pigeons Dangerous?
Excessive Amount of Poop
Pigeons are very greedy eaters! They’ll eat just about anything at any time. What goes in, must come out. They leave a large amount of feces. No one wants to clean up all that gooey mess!
Not only does all of that poop leave a mess, but it can be damaging. The acidity level of their poop can cause problems for your grass and plants. It can even damage the paint job on your car or house!
Pigeons can carry fungal diseases, such as histoplasmosis, which can spread to humans through their feces. Histoplasmosis is caught by breathing in the spores from infected feces, or dirt with infected feces. It is a lung disease that results in coughing and difficulty breathing.
Pigeons can also have lice, fleas, and ticks. These unwelcome pests may spread to pets and humans. Always use gloves and a mask when handling pigeons or their waste.
Humane Methods to Deal with Pigeons
Here are the best, most humane ways to deter pigeons from your home and yard. I recommend a combination of methods for the best results.
Stop Feeding the Pigeons
This is a pretty simple solution. If you are in the habit of feeding the neighborhood birds, stop putting out bird food. Debris from fruit trees or other plants should be raked regularly. Clean up anything around your home that may tempt the appetite of a pigeon.
Pigeons need to roost. If there is no place to call home in your vicinity, they may move on. Here are some simple ways to make your roof or yard inhabitable to pigeons.
This is a simple, but effective solution to protect your plants. Bird block netting may be placed over fruit trees or gardens to prevent bird activity.
Reflective Scare Tape
Pigeons and most birds do not like sudden flashes of light. Anything reflective may help deter them from roosting. This reflective tape can be applied in strips just about anywhere. It’s best to leave longer strips loose. When the tape catches the breeze, the sun will reflect off the surface, and the tape makes a crackling sound.
Bird deterrent spikes can be set up on roofs, in gutters, and roofs to discourage roosting. Spikes are available in plastic models, like this one, or metal, like this one. Installation is simple. Just nail or screw the spikes where you don’t want pigeons to land. This is an inexpensive solution but may impact the aesthetic of your home.
Motion Activated Sprinkler
This sprinkler is a humane way to keep pigeons and other pests out of your yard! This battery-operated device will let loose a stream of water on any unwanted visitors. It covers up to 1600 square feet and boasts day and night modes to detect pigeon activity at any time.
Ultrasonic Bird Repeller
This outdoor ultrasonic bird repeller will emit a high-pitched, ultrasonic sound. This motion-activated device is supposed to deter pests, including pigeons. The infrared sensor picks up movement. It also includes flashing lights.
Owls are a natural predator of pigeons. In theory, an owl statue should discourage pigeons from roosting nearby. Move your decoy periodically to fool the pigeons into thinking it is a real bird.
Owl decoys are available in simple models, like this one. Or, you may choose a more technically advanced model with glowing eyes, and a moving head, like this, Either way, if your flock of pigeons has a fear of owls, these decoys should discourage roosting.
If your pigeons aren’t fooled by an owl decoy, try a hawk decoy, instead.
Block Access to Attics
Check your home carefully. No one wants to invite pests into their house! Seal up any holes or cracks into the attic.
Bird Repellent Gel
This extremely sticky gel discourages pigeons from roosting on roofs, gutters, and ledges. The pigeons dislike its sticky feeling on their feet when they land! The application is similar to caulk.
This gel is perfect for roofs or ledges, but shouldn’t be applied to areas where people or pets can touch it. It isn’t dangerous, but it is extremely annoying to remove from the skin or clothing.
Bird Shock Tape
Shock tape is a clear roll of tape with electric wires embedded in it. These wires give birds a discouraging zap if they land on the tape! This does not harm the birds and only works as a deterrent.
This form of pigeon deterrent is nearly invisible and highly effective. On the other hand, the tape is expensive, and it takes quite a bit of tape to cover all the flat surfaces of your home.
This method requires some patience. Ovocontrol is administered through the bait. It causes the birds to lay eggs that fail to develop. Initial testing in Hawaii has shown a decrease in pigeon numbers by 90-95%!
Use of Ovocontrol is typically recommended for large buildings or factories that are unable to use other methods of bird deterrents.
Ovocontrol is pricey. However, no special license is required for purchase. Special bait, feeders, and wildlife cameras are available on their website, as well.
Call a Professional
If you host particularly stubborn pigeons, you may need the help of a trusted exterminator to evict them!
Pigeon Nests and Habits
Pigeons tend to roost on flat surfaces, like ledges or roofs. Their nests are built by the male pigeon and are messy in appearance. If you have pigeons in your yard, look for nests on high, protected flat areas of your home or buildings.
Pigeons are monogamous. They will have three to five broods of chicks per year, with two to three eggs per brood. Chicks hatch from the white eggs after about 18 days, then leave the nest after approximately 35 days.
Pigeons do not migrate. They find a favorite place and tend to stay put. No wonder it is so difficult to dislodge them!
Dangerous Methods of Pigeon Removal
These methods are extreme, and not always the wisest course of action. I recommend using deterrents as a method of pigeon removal.
Obviously, the behavior of wild birds is out of our control! You may attempt to attract owls to your yard by building or purchasing an owl box. The box will need to be large enough to attract a large owl, such as a great horned owl, or a barn owl.
Small owls, like the screech owl, mostly eat insects. Larger owls will be happy to take care of a pigeon problem.
Use a trap like this to bait and trap up to 12 pigeons at a time. Only live traps for pigeons are available. Pigeons have a very strong homing instinct and will return to your yard if you attempt to release them. Trapped pigeons must be euthanized.
By using a bird trap, you also run the risk of capturing other breeds of birds, which may be protected by law. If you harm a protected bird, you could be fined.
Different areas have varying laws and statutes regarding the trapping and killing of wild animals. Always check the local laws before using an animal trap.
You can shoot pigeons. However, the use of a firearm is illegal in urban areas. This option is only valid in remote or rural areas. Even then, extreme caution is recommended.
Disadvantages of Poisoning Pigeons
- Someone has to clean up all those dead birds. Pigeons can carry diseases and parasites.
- If you do not get all the pigeon carcasses cleaned up immediately, another pet or animal may eat one and be affected by the poison.
- Another bird may eat the poison and die. If a protected species of bird is accidentally killed, this could have legal repercussions.
- In this age of decreased privacy and ever-present smartphone cameras, poisoned birds may be detrimental to your reputation and social standing.
- Purchase of avian poisons, such as Avitrol, requires an exterminator’s license. Avitrol is the only poison approved for use on birds in the United States.
Pigeons can be more than annoying. Their feces can be harmful to your home, your vehicle, your lawn, and even your health! Even though they are stubborn birds, there are ways to encourage them to look for a new roost.
If the pigeons have come to roost at your home, never fear! There are ways to compel them to take flight away from you and your house. Try a combination of methods to get them away and keep them away for good.