Pigeons are probably as controversial a topic as any—especially for those living in big cities where they generally gather. With short necks, stout bodies, and gray (generally dirty) feathers, they are known as some of the biggest pests in the world. Though pigeons have lived in proximity to humans for thousands of years, they were not always known as “flying rats,” and were sometimes kept as pets because of their beauty, intelligence, and speed. Though you may think you know everything you need to know about pigeons, their history, the problems they cause, and the best way to get rid of them; here’s what you really need to know about the number one pest bird in the United States and around the world.
History of Pigeons
Pigeons were not always despised—they played a huge part in history as a symbol, source of food, messenger, and entertainer. Since early times, these birds have been curiously tame. The Greek poet Anacreon kept a pigeon that served as a messenger and pet. Though they became curious pets, they also served as a symbol for the “Mother Goddess” in the earliest history of the Bronze Age in Sumerian Mesopotamia. Aphrodite also used pigeons, mainly taken as offerings for blessings or favors from the goddess.
During both World Wars, pigeons served an important role as messengers. The British Intelligence Service used them as a way of contacting sympathizers and resistance movements. Used because of their homing instinct, they were useful and served many purposes, helping each side of the war in their own ways. Thirty-two pigeons were decorated with the Dickin Medal for their contributions to the war.
Types of Pigeons
There are many types of pigeons and doves, both used interchangeably to describe the Columbidae bird family, comprised of 310 species. There are many different varieties of these birds, covering everywhere except the hottest part of the Sahara Desert, Antarctica, and the Artic. Though some have the traditional gray dull plumage we are used to seeing, many have brightly colored plumage with other atypical ornamentation for the birds we think we know!
Problems with Pigeons
Domestic pigeons (originally bred from the wild rock dove) now live in many urban areas because of the places where they can nest. They are particularly fond of roof spaces, so urban areas suit them well. Urban areas also tend to attract these types of birds because there’s lots of food in cities. They scavenge from restaurant leftovers, insects and spiders. Some of the biggest problems involve the nesting and droppings of these pigeons. Many cities have areas covered in droppings, which can cause health problems in humans. Their droppings are also acidic, which can deface and damage many surfaces in the cities, making it difficult to keep things clean and causing a lot more deterioration and maintenance.
When nesting, pigeons also cause problems because they will nest in areas like building ledges, rafters, beams, and even air conditioning units, where their droppings can get into air systems and create health problems. These health problems, including histoplasmosis, a fungal infection, cryptococcosis, another fungal disease, and psittacosis, a bacterial disease, can cause serious problems for anyone with compromised immune systems, children, or the elderly.
Best Methods of Getting Rid of Pigeons
Though pigeons are now considered a pest, we at Bird B Gone discourage the inhumane use of poison and other inhuman population control methods. Instead we encourage a few different human solutions to make sure that pest pigeons stay away.
Stainless Steel Pigeon Spikes
This is one of our favorite methods of deterring larger birds from landing or nesting on rooftops, air conditioning units, and other places where you wouldn’t want bird droppings. With a few different size options, these spikes are great options for those that live in the city.
Bird Net 2000 Heavy Duty Netting
The next option for bird control is a type of netting. This option is ideal for excluding pigeons from overhangs and other semi-enclosed areas. With easy to install hardware, our netting has a few different sizes and colors to fit any building.
Bird Jolt Flat Track Kit
We also offer an electric track system that shocks any bird that decides to land on ledges, signage and other surfaces, teaching them that the area should be avoided. Because we offer the only track system with patented anti-arcing and glue troughs (making it safer), this is a great option for anyone looking to keep pigeons away.
Bird B Gone offers a lot of great pigeon control options, unmatched by any of the competition. If you are looking for a good solution for your problem, be sure to call Bird B Gone and ask about your specific bird issue. With over 90 years of combined experience in bird control, our customer service representatives are here to help you with whatever you need, including product selection, installation, and cleanup. If you need more information or have further questions, be sure to call or email.