How To Deter Pigeons

Pigeons are considered to be one of the most intelligent birds on the planet, but when we think of pigeons in towns and cities, they are often thought of as unwelcome guests. The types of pigeons that cause concern for home and business owners are known as feral pigeons, which are descendants of the Rock Dove. They can be difficult to remove from buildings and deterring pigeons humanely is a specialist job.

Although pigeons themselves are harmless, they can cause damage to property and cars through their droppings and feral pigeons can actually carry a range of diseases.

How to stop pigeons nesting

When pigeons become pests, they are then often referred to as ‘winged rats’ and can quickly become a menace by choosing your home or building as the perfect nesting ground.

Along with pigeons being able to recognise themselves in a mirror (one of only 6 species that has this ability), it’s believed that the pigeon can recognise all 26 letters of the English language. Unfortunately, this doesn’t mean a “No Nesting” sign will deter pigeons from nesting on your building.

Like most pests, pigeons look for safe areas near a food source to nest, and when a safe place is found, more nests will follow as pigeons like to live in groups. Commercial bird wire is a versatile solution as a pigeon deterrent and totally humane. It is also discreet and low profile, making it particularly useful for new buildings where birds have not yet started to roost.

Bird spikes are upward pointing wires or ‘spikes’ which provide a physical barrier to pigeons without hurting them. The bird spike strips deter pigeons from nesting and roosting and can be fitted to almost any surface. Using different heights of bird spiking mean optimum control of pigeons.

Bird Netting is especially effective as it provides a physical barrier which prevents birds access to an area and with a 10 year life it is very cost effective. It is possible to net large areas such as ornate windows, plant and even large roofs to stop Gulls nesting however the design is vitally important if the installation is to work and importantly last without damaging the building which is why it is essential to use a specialist contractor.

Is it illegal to remove a pigeon nest?

All birds, their nests and eggs are protected by law. It is illegal to intentionally or recklessly destroy the active nest of any wild bird. You must allow the young to leave the nest before taking any action. As pigeons can nest all year round, this can make removing a pigeon nest difficult without the appropriate licenses and specialist assistance.

Pigeon Nesting

How to get rid of a pigeon nest

If you’ve already got feral pigeons nesting, you may be able to take action under a general licence GL41 such as removing the nest or even removing the adults to preserve public health or safety providing certain criteria is met. You must have used reasonable endeavours to first use non lethal methods and continue to try them as a solution and you must document any action and retain those documents for three years.

Ever wondered why you don’t see baby pigeons? Most small birds rear and fledge their young in 2-3 weeks, many leave the nest after only 10 days, but pigeons are different, as their young stay in the nest for up to 2 months before fledging. Hence when they leave the nest, they are much larger and not ‘baby’ pigeons.

Are pigeons protected?

It is illegal to kill pigeons or indeed any other wild bird species according to the Wildlife and Countryside Act of 1981. Whilst it is possible to remove nests or even adults the law requires that you must first try non-lethal methods. Falconry is an accepted legal and non lethal method that provides an effective solution providing the correct program is installed and providing birds are flown actively in a manner that is threatening to the target birds. This is a natural method of pigeon control, employing nature’s instincts. Falconry bird control is ideal for clearing large sites and especially where access is difficult such as flats and city centres.

How to control pigeon population

Pigeons are protected under the above mentioned law, but it doesn’t stop them from being a real nuisance to any business with noise and droppings causing disruption and health issues.

The feral pigeon is very much at home in urban environments, benefitting from humans for food and using buildings to roost and breed on. Removing human food sources and discouraging feeding of pigeons is a good start to control pigeon population.

Other humane and proven deterrents to scare pigeons away are repellants and electric deterrents. This is an electrical track which gives pigeons a small shock when they land on it, so they learn not to roost where it’s installed. It is harmless to the pigeons and viewed positively by the RSPB, RSPCA and SSPCA.

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How to get pigeons out of a building

Bird control specialists can visit your property and advise on the most effective bird proofing methods to prevent and solve the problem of feral pigeons in a building. A reliable, simple and cost effective solution is the installation of bird netting which is commonly fitted to warehouse roofs, multi-story car parks, listed buildings, stadiums and hotels to deter pigeons. It is virtually invisible and will last around 10 years.

We are happy to provide a survey to establish the most effective pigeon control solution for your home or building. Get in touch today and let our local pigeon control experts and knowledgeable specialists help with your pesky pigeon problems.

Read our "Nuisance Birds - Pigeons" to find out more.

Author: NBC Environment/Orkin

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