Our expert guide will go over exactly how to get rid of pigeons and why you need to address the problem quickly.
This blog will cover the following:
- Why you need to get rid of pigeons
- Four Proven Pigeon Control Methods
- Products for Ledges and Flat Perches
- Pigeon Scare Tactics
- Pigeon Repellent Gels & Smells
- Exclusion Netting for Pigeons
- Five Examples of Specific Areas of a Building
Pigeons are everywhere; every park, town square, outdoor café, loading dock, and sky rise ledge has its own friendly flock of pigeons bobbing and cooing the day away.
While there’s no denying the charm of the occasional pigeon, there’s also no denying the total mess and health risks a mass of pigeons can cause. The following is a comprehensive pigeon guide; follow along and you’ll understand the many troubles and difficulties pigeons cause and discover effective solutions for every kind of pigeon problem.
#1 Pest Bird in the US: Pigeons
A pest is any species that is detrimental to human concerns. Measured against this definition, pigeons are clearly pestilential, especially in large numbers. In fact, by many measures, pigeons are the number one pest bird in the United States, causing more damage to public and private property than any other bird species around. Every urban area in the world boasts its own population of pigeons; New York City alone has a pigeon population estimated at over 1 million birds. One single pigeon produces 25 pounds of droppings each year; multiply that by 1 million pigeons and that adds up to a lot—25 million pounds—of pigeon poop. But it’s not just pigeon poop that causes problems; their nests and nesting materials create health risks and unsightly messes on ledges, rafters, and beams, under bridges, inside barns and other buildings that are open to the outdoors.
Why Do You Need To Get Rid of Pigeons?
Ok. So pigeons make a mess; what’s the big deal? The truth is, uncontrolled, unmanaged pigeon messes are a very big deal. Here’s why:
Pigeons Are an Invasive Bird
The feral pigeon is an invasive species of bird. They quickly adapt to almost all environments, especially urban metropolitans and residential environments. If you’ve set out a bird feeder to attract charming robins and sparrows to your deck but pigeons move in instead, they will rapidly consume every single speck of seed and scare off all the other birds. Pigeons completely take over your micro-ecosystem, bullying other animals, stomping on plants, and tearing up planters.
Pigeons Are a Health Risk
First, here’s a quick fact about pigeons and their droppings: 100 pigeons can create 2500 pounds of waste in one year and that waste may carry over 60 different transmittable diseases. Pigeon dung has been known to carry serious diseases such as histoplasmosis, cryptococcosis, and psittacosis. This means that any property or location that stores, prepares, or serves food has a particular responsibility to keep their area clear of pigeons and their waste. Health inspectors can shut down a property when they find evidence of bird droppings or even if they suspect the presence of pigeons.
Pigeons Damage Your Property
Second, consider the droppings. Pigeon droppings are corrosive and highly acidic. Droppings left to sit uncleaned will eat into paint, metal, plastic, wood, and even stone and concrete. The caustic nature of pigeon poop is known to damage roofs, especially those based on tar, sometimes cutting roof life in half. Pigeon droppings will permanently deface expensive signage, completely ruin fountains, and forever mar the surface of statues and other outdoor artwork. The perpetual presence of pigeon poop on entryways, walkways, benches, umbrellas, lampposts and other features of your commercial or retail property leaves an unsightly mess that ruins property, creates an image problem for your business, and potentially damages your brand.
But droppings are, by no means, the only way pigeons damage property. Nesting and roosting pigeons will peck at walls, eaves, and windowsill, leaving behind unsightly holes. And let’s not forget that pigeons are exceptionally untidy nest builders. They bring in all sorts of debris to construct their homes, dropping bits and pieces behind on their flight in, and then use their sticky, tar-like dung to hold everything together. These nests are solidly constructed; they are difficult to remove, can block drains and gutters, and will likely permanently damage and deface the underlying site.
Pigeons Are Expensive
The pigeons themselves are not expensive—they’re free—but the damage they cause is crazy expensive. Their messes are difficult to clean up. Their droppings rarely easily wipe off; cleanup usually requires significant scrubbing. If the buildup is significant, professionals are required to get the job done effectively and safely.
In fact, you should never attempt to clean up a large pigeon mess on your own. Pigeon waste is considered hazardous and if you accidentally inhale feces or debris, it can make you very sick. To learn how to properly clean-up bird droppings and sanitize an area prior to bird control product installation, considering downloading these 8 Tips to Successfully Cleanup Bird Droppings.
Once the mess is gone, there is most certainly damage left behind that is costly to repair. Prevention is the best answer; no matter how much you spend on pigeon control, it will always be less than the cost of cleaning up after these pests.
How to Get Rid of Pigeons Quickly & Humanely
Since preventing a pigeon problem is easier than cleaning one up, it’s good news that there are so many effective solutions available to keep pigeons away. Put your pellet guns, poison, and inhumane traps away and try these other humane solutions instead.
4 Proven Pigeon Control Methods
Pigeon control falls into four general categories: ledge products, scare tactics, sensory deterrents and exclusion products. Let’s take a closer look at each category and then explore which products are most suitable to specific locations and challenges.
1) Get Rid of Pigeons with Ledge Products
Birds like to congregate. Preventing birds from landing and roosting on ledges and roof peaks is another way to keep them from hanging around your property.
Bird Spikes (Most Popular item for Pigeons)
Anti-Bird Spikes are made from stainless steel or plastic and can be mounted on horizontal surfaces making it impossible for pigeons to land comfortably. The spikes don’t harm the bird and are easy to install.
Bird Spikes are the most popular pigeon deterrent for a number of reasons. First, they have been around the industry for far longer than any other bird deterrent. The fact they have remained an industry standard for pigeon control proves their worth.
Spikes require little to no maintenance after installation, making these pigeon deterrents perfect for property owners. Bird B Gone spikes carry industry leading warranties for both the stainless steel and plastic models.
Read More About Spike: Best Bird Spikes for Pigeons [A Buyer's Guide]
Electric Track for Pigeons
Electric track is a highly effective, humane solution for all bird species, including pigeons. The unique electrically charged track delivers a mild, yet effective, shock when birds land on it. The shock will not harm pigeons and will condition them to avoid the area.
2) Get Rid of Pigeons with Scare Tactics
Scare tactics are typically inexpensive and easy to use, making them an ideal first step for many pigeon control regimens. Scare tactics use motion, sound, optical effects, or all three to create fear in pigeons without actually coming into contact with or affecting the birds in any way. Fearful pigeons will leave to find food, water, and shelter elsewhere.
Example of scare tactics include the following:
- Predator decoys, such as Red-Tailed Hawks and Coyotes.
- The predator eye. This black, yellow, and red eye has a distinctive look designed to create the illusion of a predator. You’ll find the eye printed on a variety of products designed to frighten pigeons, including mylar balloons, smaller reflective diverters, and flags.
- Holographic Flash Tape. Made using commercial-grade mylar, Holographic Flash Tape rustles in the breeze and reflects light, creating an audio and visual distraction zone that disorients and scares pigeons.
- Bird Chase Super Sonic. Using sound to scare pigeons away from open areas is a great method for newly developed pigeon problems.
Read More About Visuals: 5 Popular Visual Deterrents and How They Work
Again, scare tactics are a great way to start tackling a pigeon problem. That said, it’s important to remember that, while pigeons are not known for being terribly bright, they are smart enough to learn that the scare tactic you’ve had by their favorite food source for three months is not actually a threat. To avoid this, it’s important to change your tactics often, try different products, and move things around regularly to keep the pigeons away.
3) Get Rid of Pigeons with Repellent Gels and Aromatics
Sensory deterrents are extremely popular for their ease of use and quick effects. Gels and aromatic pigeon repellents take advantage of the bird’s senses to keep pigeons away from the area. If you have seasonal bird problems, these repellents are the ideal fit for your bird control plan. Install, replace, remove and store. It’s as easy as that.
Already have spikes installed on the roof but the pigeons stick around the area? Throw a pigeon repellent into the mix. There is nothing wrong with adding another layer of protection to keep your property pigeon-free.
The following is a handful of examples:
Sticky Pigeon Repellent Gels
Pigeons don’t like sticky stuff on their toes, and they’ll go out of their way to avoid it. Sticky anti bird gels are available in discs and in tubes. The anti pigeon gel is humane, won’t harm the pigeons, and won’t trap them if they land in it. They just won’t come back to do it again.
Read More About Gels: Pigeon Repellent Gels That Work
Aromatic Pigeon Repellents
Aromatic bird repellents take advantage of a bird’s sense of smell and breathing. Found in grape seed extract, methyl anthranilate triggers an irritating sensation for most bird species. Harmless to people and other animals, bird repellents are arguably one of the most underutilized bird deterrent products available.
Aromatic pigeon repellents come in easy-to-use pouches or discrete dispensers. Add them into any pigeon control plan to get rid of pigeons with smells they hate.
Read more about Aromatics: Bird-Out™ Aromatic Bird Repellent - The Easy Way to Keep Birds Away™
4) Get Rid of Pigeons with Exclusion Products
Scare tactics and sensory deterrents are effective means to avoid small-scale pigeon troubles, but if you’re dealing with large-scale, recurring pigeon problems, you’ll need to include exclusion products in your control strategy. Exclusion devices are physical additions you make to your property to prevent pigeons completely from roosting and nesting. Examples include the following:
Anti-Bird Netting is a common exclusion product that can be installed in large or small areas. It is visually unobtrusive, available in a variety of weights, and is the best solution to block pest birds from an area. If pigeons are nesting, netting is the only effective solution to prevent them from rebuilding their nests each year.
Bird Slope is a ledge cover product made from PVC. The unique angled design makes it impossible for birds to land or nest on horizontal areas such as ledges, windowsills, or eaves.
Examples & Solutions for Pigeons
With a basic understanding of the types of pigeon control available, it’s time to think about specific solutions for specific problems. This is not meant to be an all-inclusive list, but rather a starting place for building your bird control strategy. The bird control experts at Bird B Gone are available to discuss the details of your pigeon issues and design a custom bird control strategy just for you.
1) How to Get Rid of Pigeons on Balconies
The most effective way to get rid of pigeons on your balcony is to install balcony netting, especially if the birds are nesting on the premise. Scare tactics work well for small balconies and decks.
SpectrumV Holographic Bird gel discs are also great for railings or other horizontal surfaces, especially for renters who need a temporary solution. Just be sure to change things up regularly to keep the pigeons from figuring things out.
2) How to Get Rid of Pigeons from Your House
Suburban properties can pose a special challenge. Step one is to peruse your property for pigeon-friendly areas. Step two requires you to clean up any existing messes and keep food sources like trash and pet food out of reach. For step three, choose the control methods you need.
- Bird Netting works to keep pigeons out of your garden and out of your car ports, eaves and sheds.
- Scare tactics can keep pigeons from your outdoor ornaments, fountains and pools.
- Install bird slope and gel discs as needed.
- Hang aromatic pigeon repellents such as Avian Block in problematic areas
3) How to Get Rid of Pigeons on Warehouses
Large warehouses provide shelter for pigeons, attracting them to roost, perch and nest on the exterior and interior of the building. Pigeons love to nest in the loading dock canopy, they provide shade and protection from weather and predators.
- Pigeon spikes are great around any ledges where pigeons like to roost on the exterior parapet ledges.
- Install netting over large loading dock canopies to prevent nesting pigeons.
- Install aromatic repellents to repel pigeons from common roosting areas.
4) How to Get Rid of Pigeons in Parking Garages
Deterring pigeons from parking garages can be particularly difficult to tackle, but possible with proper bird control methods.
- Netting is an excellent and cost-effective way to keep pigeons from nesting in the deep ledges of a garage.
- Spikes can be installed on pipes to prevent pigeons from pooping on cars below.
As you can see, most pigeon problems will require multiple approaches. With thoughtful planning (and help from Bird B Gone) you can get the products you need to say goodbye to pigeons once and for all.
5) How to Get Rid of Pigeons on Your Roof
If you are researching how to get rid of pigeons on roofs, we recommend reading our ultimate roof spikes guide for roosting birds. This blog goes into detail to help choose the right spike for you and your property. Choose from Bird B Gone's wide selection of standard spike, gutter spike, girder spike and mega spike. If spike isn't something you are interested in, check out some of the other bird deterrents for roofs that Bird B Gone recommends.
Trust Bird B Gone
The experts at Bird B Gone know all about pigeons. In fact, we like to think we’re smarter than the pigeons. That’s why we’ve developed a slew of effective pigeon control products and strategies designed to help anyone in any circumstance live a pigeon-free life. Call us today!