How to get rid of pigeons when these birds are iconic messengers of peace and purity?
Picture a kindly old gentleman sitting on a bench in a city park, tossing crumbs to a patient flock of birds as they gather, awaiting their handout. The pigeons coo and waddle and peck at the ground looking for treats.
Now, think about the statues in that same “any park”, the benches, the trees, and picture the mess left behind by those same pigeons. Not so peaceful and pure now, eh? In fact, they are pretty disgusting. Your car agrees as well.
Note: This is a comprehensive guide. Short on time? Skip straight to the removal and deterrent methods.
Table of Contents
- Are Pigeons a True Pest Problem?
- The Legal Way to Get Rid of Pesky and Pervasive Pigeons
- How to Get Rid of Pigeons and Why
- How to Deter Pigeons from Your Home
- How to Get Rid of Pigeons from Your Suburban Property
- How to Get Rid of Pigeons from Your Business: Re-routing
- No Solution is Absolute
- Cleaning Up the Pigeons’ Mess
- Video Guide
- Points to Consider
Are Pigeons a True Pest Problem?
People have a very good reason to want to learn how to get rid of pigeons. While some question the morality of it all, pieons are pests. Here is why:
- The fine-feathered rabble-rousers move in and take over all sorts of property.
- You can find them deep within cities and all the way out to some suburban areas.
- They are prolific breeders. So, where you see a few, there are sure to be many more.
- Pigeons are fairly dirty birds. They carry a host of diseases and parasites (although they are not, as once thought, carriers of the West Nile Virus).
- Pigeons do carry the threat of disease, and that should be of concern, especially in areas where these birds frequent and children play.
- As we all know, they leave pounds of droppings each year.
The Legal Way to Get Rid of Pesky and Pervasive Pigeons
So, what can you do about these pesky fowl? And how to get rid of pigeons to safeguard your home, balcony, patio, car, and just about anything they can destroy?
There are many ways to eradicate pigeons from your home, or, at least, deter them and route their flight elsewhere. Most homeowners and apartment dwellers prefer a more humane approach to removing pigeons from the immediate area. There are several successful methods which will accomplish the task.
Remember, it’s illegal in all states to shoot a wild or nesting bird, no matter how much of a nuisance they become. You may not use a pellet gun or any other weapons, no matter how seemingly benign. These codes are strictly enforced and you don’t want to run “a-fowl” of the law.
How to Get Rid of Pigeons and Why
Pigeons Threat Your Property
- Pigeon droppings are disgusting, to say the least.
- Their feces can attract vermin, such as mice, rats, and flies.
- Because it is highly acidic, pigeon poop will stain, and possibly eat away the underlying surface.
- The caustic nature of pigeon droppings has caused significant damage to roofs, especially tar-based structures, and has been known to cut the roof life in half in some cases.
- The droppings can cause a huge mess to your apartment balcony and patio, staining and threatening the surfaces of your outdoor furniture.
- The acidic quality of pigeon droppings can eat away at your car’s paint, causing significant and costly damage to your automobile.
- Anyone who’s ever dealt with pigeon “poop” on their car, home, or clothing, can tell you that it’s difficult to remove.
- Tar-like and heavy, pigeon droppings are not like any other bird waste.
- The durable dung keeps their nests intact for the nesting season. In short, their droppings act as a binding agent, much like mortar to bricks.
- In addition to the threat to your home and car from droppings, the heavy, end-of-season pigeon nests have been known to clog gutters and eaves troughs.
- Droppings can also cause water build-up and degradations to your roof and eaves.
- They can damage an apartment or place of business by creating unsightly damage through droppings and pecking around window sills.
Pigeons Damage Your Landscape
Living in the city provides little opportunity for landscaping or vegetable gardening. But if you’re fortunate enough to have either, you’ll need to find a way to discourage pigeons from damaging your plants and produce.
- Although pigeons are not your normal garden pest, they will, given the chance, cause just enough distress.
- You’ll need to take steps to protect your garden, landscaping, and any patio plants you may have.
Pigeons Disrupt Your Micro Eco-System
Often referred to as “bully birds” pigeons don’t have the best manners when it comes to sharing. Everyone who’s ever filled a bird feeder knows that somewhere nearby lurks a squirrel ready to spread the word that the free buffet is now open.
- If that bird feeder is anywhere near a pigeon stronghold, the squirrels should better get in line.
- No matter the seed-type or feed-type, from wild bird seed to suet, to breadcrumbs, pigeons will eat it all.
Everyone who’s had the pleasure of observing a fully stocked bird feeder knows that there are “bully birds” among patrons of the feeder. Crows, blackbirds, grackles and pigeons are the biggest offenders.
- Not only will they pilfer your feeder, they’ll scare off the smaller birds.
Keep the peace by keeping bullies away from your bird feeder altogether.
How to Deter Pigeons from Your Home
For those who live in a large urban area, the threat of pigeons is constant. There’s little more you can do than simply discourage their presence.
At-Hand Solutions to Scare Off and Repel Pigeons
- The first and easiest way to discourage pigeons from your patio, deck, or balcony, is to fasten a wind-chime.
- Other pigeon deterrents include aluminum foil pan, Mylar-type balloon, or regular balloons. Poke a hole in your aluminum foil pan and fasten to your balcony railing by string.
- Try tying a Mylar balloon to your patio table.
- A decoy owl or hawk, or some shiny rubber snakes can also scare the pigeons away. Prop the owl in the corner of your balcony, where it will be visible to the pigeons, or scatter some rubber snakes in the vicinity of your porch. Most garden centers and big-box stores carry the owls and snakes for this purpose.
- You may consider anti-roosting spikes. These spikes are available at most home and garden centers, or hardware stores. They can be attached anywhere the birds roost and discourage pigeon perching by creating an “unperchable” environment. If you live in the city, you’ve likely seen these spikes on commercial and municipal buildings. They aren’t cheap and installation takes some time, but they are a sure-fire deterrent and will continue to be so for years to come.
- Commercial gel-repellent also works well, especially if you’re a renter and can’t install a more permanent solution. This gel gives your solid surface a sticky, slippery, or tacky layer. This makes it impossible for the pesky perpetrator to perch. He will move to another location. As weather and wind take their toll on the gel, you will find it necessary to reapply every few weeks to months. Make sure the product you use is environmentally safe.
How to Deter Pigeons from Your Balcony
- For a balcony rail that attracts pigeons, a simple and low-cost option is to attach a child’s coiled “slinky” type toy along the top. The barrier of the coils, wrapped around the railing, prevent the bird from finding a comfortable spot.
- Another way to keep these feathered invaders from setting up camp on your balcony or porch is by creating a barrier. By using weather-proof string, you can prevent the birds from finding any negotiable way onto your balcony. Tie the string an inch or so above your balcony rail and pigeons will have a difficult time gaining a foothold on your rail.
- Affix mesh screen along the inside of your railing to prevent entry onto your porch or balcony.
How to Get Rid of Pigeons from Your Suburban Property
For homeowners in pigeon-heavy areas, you have a special set of circumstances.
Not only will these dirty birds cause distress by relieving themselves on every surface around your home, but these fearless fowl can annoy and aggravate by vandalizing your garden, pilfering your feeders, making a mess of your birdbath, outdoor fountain, and any statuary or yard display you may have.
Your roof, soffits, gables, and eaves will also suffer if these nuisance birds are left to their own device.
Common Pigeon Deterring Methods
Scrutinize your property for pigeon-friendly places. Soffits, vents and large gaps up high are instinctively inviting for pigeons to establish a nest and start a family. Once there, it will be difficult to relocate your happy homesteaders. They have long memories and will utilize a roosting site for generations.
- Use a fine-mesh screen over chimneys, attic vents, soffits, and open areas near your roofline.
- Check gutters and eaves frequently and consider commercial installation of gutter coverings.
- For sheds and outbuildings, consider bird netting, sold at garden centers, to keep pigeons out. The netting is also a great way to protect your garden from pigeons and many other pests.
- Keeping pigeons from taking over your statuary and yard ornaments, fountains and bird bath, you can utilize the Mylar balloon, owl, or snake method. Eventually, the birds will recognize the “fake” snakes and owls as such. They may resume their appropriation of your yard decor, patio, picnic table, and the like.
- Changing where you place these scare-tactic items can ensure pigeons are properly discouraged for a time. Wind-chimes are handy for startling the birds, but you can’t always count on a breezy day.
- Keep your trash enclosed and make sure there’s no food scraps left around.
- Put things in order after outdoor parties and gatherings where food is served.
- Clean your barbecue grill after each use.
- Feed pets indoors.
Home Remedies to Get Rid of Pigeons
Organic, homemade deterrents are usually pretty effective.
- Place “pomanders” of strong spices, such as chili powder, cayenne pepper, black pepper, and cinnamon around your patio and exterior window sills, or wherever pigeons tend to gather.
- You can take a generous amount of these spices and wrap them in cheesecloth.
- Alternatively, simply sprinkle the spices along railings and sills. You’ll need to replenish frequently, but spicing up your area tends to be fairly effective in discouraging pigeons.
- Make anti-pigeon spray mixing chili powder, water, and vinegar and spray around the areas where pigeons gather the most.
- You can also try a motion-activated sprinkle in your garden or front lawn that can scare pigeons away when they approach.
Some homeowners who are particularly bothered by pigeons resort to ultrasonic devices. This method employs ultrasound technology to create a sort of sonic “net” which confuses and confounds the birds. This causes them to want to get away as fast as they can.
Ultrasonic devices are so thoroughly successful that commercial buildings throughout the agriculture business utilize the method. Relatively new to the home market, an ultrasonic device can be hard to find.
Check with your local garden center or pest control expert for this specialized item.
How to Get Rid of Pigeons from Your Business: Re-routing
Nothing is more aggravating to both business owners and their clientele than having to navigate around pesky pigeons. The mess they make can be extremely off-putting, to say the least. Pigeon droppings and discards are disgusting. If your patrons need to worry about the condition of your store or warehouse showroom, they may think twice before doing business with you.
How To Pigeon-Proof Your Store or Warehouse
- Consider installing roosting spikes around any ledges near your roof or upper story. If you have an awning, make sure to shore-up any openings and provide a barrier against intruders.
- Especially in warehouses, make sure vented windows and ceilings are screened to prevent pigeons from entering and setting up house. Warehouse ceiling provide the perfect height for instinctual roosting.
- Ultrasonic devices provide an ideal way to avert the intruders with the least amount of disruption to your business. Commercial sound deterrents are designed with warehouses in mind. Commercial pest control specialists are your best source for these items.
- Consider barbed wire along sills and ledges, and porcupine wire in ceiling joists and fans.
If your store or warehouse is in a city, and has been around a while, employing no successful way of deterring pigeons, you may have your work cut out for you. Aggressively rerouting the birds is time-consuming and may try your patience. However, with dedication and diligence, rehoming these birds can be accomplished. Employ a variety of all of these methods.
No Solution is Absolute
Short of lethally harming or exterminating pigeons, there is no sure-fire way to get rid of them. Remember, these birds have likely homed somewhere nearby for many years. They exist on just about anything for sustenance and they are year-round breeders.
Your best bet is to employ these methods of discouraging pigeons from roosting near your home or business. Dissuading these city pests is your only sure way of preventing the damage they unleash on you and your property.
Cleaning Up the Pigeons’ Mess
If pigeons have trashed your porch, patio or balcony, you can’t simply hose-away the mess. Because of the bacteria and fungi inherent in pigeon excrement, you’ll need to thoroughly remove their droppings and nests, using a proper method.
- First, wearing a mask and gloves, remove the initial debris and throw the nests away. (This is not something your child should take to school for “show-and-tell”!).
- Then sweep off any surface where pigeon debris has gathered.
- Use a strong antibacterial cleaner, or, where appropriate, chlorine bleach (with great care) to scrub the area.
- If permitted, use a hose to remove the cleaner.
- Make sure the area is free from any caustic properties, such as in the use of chlorine bleach.
If your building or apartment community doesn’t allow the use of a hose on your balcony, inquire with management on how to remove pigeon debris. There are many professional cleaning services who perform this task regularly.
Points to Consider
Lastly, remember there are over 300 different members of the pigeon family. From desert doves, to rock doves to mourning doves, to the more common city version, the rock pigeon, these birds have laid claim to the area around your home for centuries. Their instincts and long memories have them returning to their home again and again. Changing their pattern won’t happen overnight, but your resilience will eventually pay off.
Now tell us how do you get rid of pigeons? Do you have other means you employ?
Besides the fact that they are prolific breeders that make a huge mess, they carry parasites and diseases that endanger people (children being particularly vulnerable).
It is illegal in all states to shoot a wild or nesting bird. You may not use a pellet gun or any other weapons, no matter how seemingly benign.
Some of the most common methods include
1. Fasten a wind-chime, aluminum foil pan, a Mylar-type balloon, or regular balloons.
2. Use a decoy owl or hawk, or shiny rubber snakes to scare away the pigeons.
3. Use anti-roosting spikes.
4. Use commercial gel repellent.
5. Attach a child’s coiled “slinky” toy along your balcony railing.
6. Use a weather-proof string to create a barrier for your balcony.
7. Fix mesh screen along the inside of your railing to prevent entry onto your porch or balcony.
8. Use motion-activated sprinklers for your front lawn/yard to scare the pigeons away.
9. Use ultrasonic devices.
10. Try homemade organic deterrents for your home and garden.
Homemade repellents include mixtures and sprays based on chili powder, cayenne pepper, black pepper, cinnamon, and vinegar.
1. Ultrasonic bird repellents.
2. Automatic water jets for bird discouragement.
3. Fake predators.
4. Bird-repellent gel.
5. Pungent smelling home remedies.