Pigeons have acidic waste, bullying attitude towards other birds, and the tendency to carry diseases. It feels like they just love to roost in every open spot around your garden.
But everything is not lost; if you want to find out how to get rid of pigeons – you are in the right place. Here are the most effective pigeon control methods that you can implement in your own home right now.
What are pigeons?
Pigeon refers to any one of nearly 300 species of birds that make up the family Columbidae. This family includes doves, which are the smaller forms. You can find these birds anywhere in the world except in cold regions.
The birds are derisively known as flying rats because of the mess they cause, but they are intelligent creatures.
Some of them have been known to memorize the 26 letters of the alphabet! In fact, a particular species of pigeons known as homing pigeons have been trained to return to their training ground by flying a distance of nearly 2000 miles!
The most invasive species are known as feral pigeons, or city pigeons, or street pigeons. They are descended from the domestic pigeon. They invade homes, cities, and places of work. They also carry disease, damage property, and generally make life unbearable for homeowners.
Pigeon colors vary greatly from white to red to blue-gray. They are monogamous animals, mating one partner for life, and they also nest year around on your roof, balcony, and any area of the house they can roost in. These birds are strong fliers, and they may live for up to 35 years.
Pigeons feed on grains, seeds, fruits, but they will also eat any food they can find around the house. These birds have lived almost side by side with humans for thousands of years. They have adapted so well because we have always provided these birds with food either knowingly by feeding them or unknowingly with the food we leave lying around in places like the trash.
Pigeons are drawn to environments with an abundance of food, water, and suitable nesting places. This is why there are so many of them thriving in the cities. They are also very comfortable around humans.
While most people think pigeons are just annoying with their cooing and other noises they like to make, the presence of these birds can present a challenge to your health and safety.
What Causes Pigeon Issues?
The pigeon is an incredibly common bird, worldwide. Pigeons enjoy being where humans are, and typically do well wherever humans are doing well. Our natural, modern-day way of living provides pigeons with all they need to thrive.
Because pigeons are so widespread, there isn't really a cause for pigeon issues, but more an invitation. Pigeons will always be around, but what natural factors are attracting them to your space? Are there things you are doing (intentionally or unintentionally) that could be inviting them in?
Here is a list of possible causes and environmental factors to consider when trying to get control of a pigeon problem using IPM:
- Harborage Areas: Where are the pigeons seeking shelter, and where are they roosting?
- Feeding Areas: Where are the pigeons finding food? Are you feeding them on your balcony, or do you have bird feeders in your yard? Is there compost or garbage available to them?
- Water Sources: Where are the birds finding water? Are there bird baths or standing water sources attracting them? Do you run an irrigation system that seems to be attracting them at a certain time of day?
Why are Pigeons a Problem?
If you have pigeons on your property, you must act quickly. Pigeons can cause expensive damage to a property in a short period.
In fact, the US Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services branch considers pigeons the most serious bird pests for human habitations.
Here’s a sampling of the problems pigeons can cause:
- Disease. Pigeon droppings carry diseases, including histoplasmosis, cryptococcosis, and psittacosis. These diseases can be dangerous or life-threatening to people with certain conditions, like asthma or weakened immune systems.
- Food contamination. In rural or agricultural areas, pigeons can contaminate food meant for livestock and human consumption.
- Slip and fall risk. Pigeons gather in a behavior called roosting. As they roost, large numbers of pigeons congregate on rooftops and eaves and defecate on the structures below them. Unfortunately, the droppings that pigeons leave behind are very slippery, which can make walkways, decks, porches, and other areas dangerous for foot traffic. This is problematic for both residential and commercial properties.
- Corrosive damage to buildings. In addition to being slippery, pigeon feces is highly acidic and can cause damage to buildings, siding, vegetation, and landscaping. Blocked gutters and drainage. The presence of pigeon nests in gutters or downpipes can cause water backup, flooding, and other damage.
- Fire risk. When pigeons build nests that block chimneys or flues, it can lead to a serious buildup of poisonous gasses and increased fire risk.
Pigeons reproduce rapidly, generating a clutch of 1-3 chicks with an incubation period of just 18 days.
If you have a pigeon problem on your property, it’s critical to act quickly.
The longer you wait, the more likely your property is to face costly repairs or irreversible damage.
How to Get Rid of Pigeons Humanely And Friendly?
1. Use an ultrasound pigeon repeller
Birds have a great sense of hearing, allowing them to hear sounds that human ears cannot detect. They need to have sharp ears to hear the calls of other birds.
This helps alert them to food, a potential mating partner, and danger. Use this to your advantage and get rid of pigeons with sound.
Note that sound-based pigeon control methods may not work immediately. Consistency is key. Leave it on for hours every day and for weeks to make sure that every time a pigeon visits your home, it hears the sounds. This way, it will learn to associate your home with danger.
2. Install a “scare-pigeon”
Pigeons are food for raptors such as falcons and hawks. Unfortunately, these powerful birds of prey cannot be hired to scare pigeons away from your home, but there is a good alternative: scare-pigeons.
Having a scare pigeon that is as life-like as possible is what keeps pigeons away. It’s best to get one that is 3D, life-size, and makes erratic movements or emits the raptor sounds.
But no matter how real it looks and acts, pigeons will eventually get in on the joke if it stays only in one place. Move scare-pigeons from place to place to trick the birds into thinking they’re real.
If you want to stop that pigeon in its tracks, you might want to go for the Gardeneer Solar Owl. This is a realistic owl figurine that uses solar energy to rotate its head.
It’s eerily similar to how a real owl would scout its surroundings–making it perfect for scaring away those pesky birds. This scare-pigeon is lightweight, so you will need to secure it so that it does not get knocked over by the wind.
3. Use reflective surfaces to deter pigeons
Desperate to keep pigeons off the balcony? Have you got pigeons on the roof pooping all over your home? If you want to get rid of birds around your house without spending a lot, just look for anything that reflects light.
Birds, in general, do not like bright flashes of light. Avian eyes react to the prism effect, leaving birds feeling disoriented.
The good thing is, this principle can be applied with a variety of things lying around your home or going for cheap in your local department store. Old CDs, small mirrors, aluminum foil strips, foil balloons, oroutdoor reflective tape are some popular choices.
Hang them from a string and position them wherever you see pigeons hanging out. As they move with the wind, these catch the light and scare pigeons away.
4. Install anti-roosting spikes
If you want to protect your ledges from pigeon roosting, anti-roosting spikes are a good option. By minimizing areas where they can get a foothold, you make your home a less viable option for pigeons to hang out in.
The Bird Spikes Kit is popular because it has protrusions that make it difficult for large birds to sit.
The plastic polycarbonate material is durable, long-lasting, and requires little to no maintenance. It’s also clear-colored, making it difficult to notice from a distance. This way, it does not hamper the aesthetics of your home.
5. Apply a pigeon repellent gel to roosting areas
If you are scratching your head over how to get rid of pigeons on your roof, remember that you need to make it less attractive to them. You can do that by making their roosting areas untenable with pigeon repellent gel.
Bird Proof Repellent Gel is among the most popular on the market. This comes in three caulk tubes that each can cover an area of about 10-12 feet.
Load the caulk tube into your caulk gun and apply easily in lines or in dots. Birds that land there will realize the surface is very sticky and leave immediately.
This is a non-toxic petroleum-based gel that stays sticky for weeks in different weather conditions. Since it’s a clear gel, it’s barely noticeable. Use this to keep pigeons off the roof and other places that humans and pets do not frequent.
Not the best idea to use this to get rid of pigeons on balcony or on any railings, window sills, or landings that people touch, as the bird repellent gel is very sticky and difficult to remove.
This is a safe way to get rid of pigeons without hurting them, but following instructions properly is key. Avoid heavily smearing an entire surface with the gel as birds can get stuck and hurt themselves.
6. Install a motion-activated sprinkler
If you want to know how to eradicate pigeons from your yard and stop the pigeon poop from raining down your garden, consider using a motion-activated sprinkler. An unexpected spray of water is among the most humane and non-toxic ways to get rid of pigeons.
The Aosion AN-B060 is a motion-activated sprinkler designed to help keep your garden well-watered and well-protected from pests. It uses a combination of water, sound, and movement to scare pigeons and other unwanted guests away.
This has a wide range of settings so you can adjust according to your pigeon pest control needs. The sensor can be adjusted upwards for birds and is able to detect movement from 40 feet away.
Plus, you can customize the settings such that the sprinkler will only work during the day, or only during the night, or 24/7. Just attach it to a hose as you would a normal sprinkler, and bury its dual-step spike into the soil. Adjust the settings, and you’re good to go!
7. Install a weatherproof string
A weatherproof string is another way to deter pigeons from roosting near your home without hurting them. These fine, almost invisible pieces of string are stretched taut over favorite perching spots.
When the birds swoop in to hang out in your house, they grab the ledge with their claws and find themselves reeling at an unexpected surprise. They are caught off-balance because of something they cannot see properly and become wary of roosting in that spot.
Who would have thought that such a simple method could be so helpful in pigeon proofing your home?
This principle of using a bird deterrent wire will work with any rope or thread, but if you do not want to be inconvenienced by replacing it over and over again, you should go for a weatherproof string.
As the name implies, it can withstand the elements. It is also designed to be strong enough to resist the force of a pigeon swooping into the land.
Just tie the string such that it is an inch or so above the surface you are trying to discourage pigeons from perching on. Make sure it’s taut and tied up well on either end. Check it every couple of weeks to make sure it’s still standing.
8. Eliminate food sources
There are some instances when a pigeon infestation refuses to go away, even if you try multiple methods of pigeon deterrence.
No matter how many bird deflectors for windows you install, no matter how liberally you douse your home with pigeon repellent spray, no matter how often you climb up the roof to get rid of pigeon nest, they just keep coming back.
Oftentimes, this happens because they have a strong enough reason to. So if you want to find out the best way to get rid of pigeons in your home, you have to first understand what they’re doing there in the first place.
The presence of food is a strong enough motivator for pigeons to return to your home and ignore all the pigeon deterrent devices and pigeon deterrent sprays.
These birds are strongly attracted to berries, seeds, grains, beans, and fruits. Earthworms, snails and other insects make for an occasional snack. In urban settings, pigeons can become scavengers, congregating around trash bins with human food in them.
Observe the pigeons in your home. Are they congregating around certain trees or bushes? Is there something on the ground they are pecking at? Do they hover around the trash? Dedicating a couple of minutes every day to observing their habits can tell you a lot about how to get rid of them.
9. Seal off ALL the entrances
Pigeons like to nest in corners where they can get protection from the sun, the cold, and predators. Take a walk around your home to pinpoint places that pigeons would love. Preventing access to these areas is a helpful way of getting rid of pigeons.
There are a lot of ways to do this using items found in the home improvement section and hardware stores. You can use silicone caulk to fill in small openings.
Use hardware cloth if you want to cover a bigger area. Bird or pigeon nets can be hung around the space above rafters to prevent them from making their home there.
Birds love attics, so it’s good to pay special attention to that part. Prune the tree branches that graze your walls, as this can encourage roosting and nesting near your home.
If you’ve had pigeon nests in your home before, it’ll be much easier to know where to focus. Clean out the old nests and waste, and seal off that area with pigeons netting.
This is best done in conjunction with other pigeon control methods. Making your home untenable for these birds is the first step to getting rid of them.
10. Remove the bird bath
You may have put out a bird bath to attract beautiful birds into your garden, but you’ll have to remove it if you’ve got pigeons nearby.
Pigeons are not water birds, but they do enjoy a good bath. They do it to maintain good feather condition and to cool down during hot days.
But once your bird bath has been invaded by a flock of pigeons, you can be sure they’ll bully other birds away so only they can use it.
In this case, it’s time to drain out a bird bath. These only make your home more attractive to these pests.
Consistency is key here, so make sure it stays empty by removing water after it rains. With the pigeon bathtub gone, it’s one less reason for them to stay.
Also, check around your property for things that might serve as a bird bath. Shallow containers of water uncovered by a lid or a shallow hole in the driveway where water puddles form may also serve as bird baths.
11. Install a pigeon net
When you realize the garden harvest you work so hard for has been devoured by pigeons, it’s easy to understand why you want to get rid of pigeons with poison or anything that will cause them pain.
But we must remember that there are ways to get rid of pigeons without hurting them. There’s no need for pigeon extermination and other lethal methods to get rid of these birds if you can prevent them from landing on your plants at all–which is the point of pigeons netting.
This is the best pigeon deterrent that will protect the hard work you’ve put in your garden. It is best to install it on thin rods instead of thick planks of wood, as the latter can serve as a roosting area.
Make sure to leave a space of at least 6 inches between the netting and the nearest branch or shrub to prevent birds from picking at it through the mesh. Install it at a steep angle so that pigeons won’t be tempted to land on them.
The De-Bird Heavy Duty Bird Netting will work well against larger birds such as pigeons. It is made of polypropylene, a durable but lightweight material that allows for easy handling and long-lasting protection. It is resistant to rot and can work through different weather conditions.
12. Cap your chimney
The chimney deserves a separate mention because it’s among the top bird-friendly places in a house. They love to roost and nest in this area, which makes it difficult for people to get them out. Before you cap your chimney, first make sure that there are no birds trapped inside.
If there is, you can coax it out by putting a cardboard box inside the fireplace, with its opening facing up towards the ceiling. Make sure it fits snugly to ensure that the pigeon won’t have anywhere else to go but inside the box.
13. Remove nesting materials and pigeon droppings
Whether you plan to use pigeons netting over your garden, use sprinklers as a natural pigeon deterrent, or hang streamers of reflective tape all over your house, there is one thing you should do before attempting any pigeon control methods: And that is to clean out all the pigeon nests and droppings in your home.
Remember that pigeon poop is particularly corrosive. It is highly acidic because of the uric acid content. This allows it to destroy a different building and roofing materials.
It can also be a source of zoonotic diseases that are transferable to humans. Remnants of pigeon nests should also be removed to make it easier to install deterrent devices such as netting, shock tape, and other fixtures.
It is best to wet pigeon droppings before removing them to minimize dust. Wear a dust mask to be extra safe.
Use warm water through a hose or power sprayer to remove them easily and to minimize contact. Soap can also help loosen them up. If you are cleaning poop off your roof, place a tarp on the ground below to catch the waste.
14. Trap and release
You might consider trapping pesky birds and releasing them a good distance away. Note that this may not be the best way to get rid of pigeons because some species have a strong homing instinct. It will take a long drive away from home to be successful.
To successfully lure pigeons, place the trap somewhere they frequent, far away from any natural pigeon deterrent or pigeon repellents that you might have installed before.
For at least seven days, put bird feed inside and allow them to come and go as they please. More and more birds will come in as they realize there are free food and drinks. This will help the flock think that the area is safe.