- Pigeons are descended from the European Rock Dove that was first introduced to North America as a domesticated bird.
- They are seen quite frequently in urban environments.
- They feed chiefly on grain, other seeds, and fruit. They also feed on garbage, livestock manure, and insects when their primary food becomes scarce.
- They nest and roost chiefly on high window ledges, bridges, and in cavities.
- Their nests consist of sticks, twigs and grasses.
- After an 18-day incubation period, 1-2 eggs hatch. The young leave the nest between 4-6 weeks of age. Before they leave, the female will lay another set of eggs. They breed year-round but especially in spring and fall. They can live about 3-4 years in the wild and up to 15 years in captivity.
IS THERE A PROBLEM? HOMEOWNER SHOULD ACCEPT NORMAL, UNOBTRUSIVE BEHAVIOR.
Refer to SELF-HELP if:
- Pigeon droppings are a problem. Pigeons can transmit up to 30 different diseases to humans through either their feces or a direct shedding of ectoparasites.
- Groups of pigeons inhabit an area.
Refer to PROFESSIONAL ASSISTANCE if:
All other measures have been taken and pigeons have either become a health risk or are causing property damage.
The most effective means of controlling pigeon problems is to deny them access to their preferred roost and nest sites (netting). See habitat modification section below.
Special pigeon traps can be constructed which will capture large numbers of pigeons. The birds will usually be destroyed to prevent return after release.
Because pigeons are not protected wildlife, the homeowner may destroy any unwanted pigeon nests on his property. Repeated destruction may discourage subsequent nesting.
Removal of Attractants
- Eliminate food supply, clean-up spilled grain, garbage, fallen fruit, and birdseed.
- Wash down with mixture of bleach, water and vinegar to disinfect.
Habitat Modification & Exclusion
All of these must be applied right away when birds begin to roost.
- Block openings to lofts, vents or eaves with ¾ inch wire mesh, plastic or nylon netting, or aluminium flashing.
- Change the angle of roosting ledges to 45 degrees or more. Use sheet metal or wood.
- Apply porcupine wires (Cat-Claw) (or a stretched-out slinky) to roosting and nesting ledges. These are prongs with sharp points extending outward at all angles. The prongs are fastened to a solid base, which is installed on the ledge.
- Install netting around the balcony until the pigeons find other roosting sites (one of the best methods although a little unsightly).
- Use anti-pigeon cages around bird feeders or at the foot of feeders to prevent pigeons from feeding on fallen seeds. Use a big enough mesh to allow smaller birds to enter. These cages can be purchased at the Centre de Conservation de la Faune Ailée de Montréal.
- Electronic Bird Control System. A cable embedded with a pulsating electric charge. The pigeon receives a shock that does not kill.
- Noise-making devices do not have much effect.
- Non-toxic chemical repellents are effective (moth crystals). All roosting or nesting areas must be treated.
- Use Tanglefoot®: a sticky substance birds do not like.
- Also, try and hang a furry garment, teddy (in natural colors) or piece of material near the pigeons' perch or nest. This supposedly scares them and since the item is often moving due to wind, they habituate to it less than to plastic owl figures.
- The homeowner does not need a special license or permit to capture, rehabilitate, or hold any young pigeon.
- Some wildlife rehabilitators will care for injured or orphaned pigeons, and will on occasion assist with pigeon problems.
Poisons are not advised and may be illegal because of the effects they have on other wildlife in the area that may come in contact with them.
- Wildlife service agents are authorized to deploy repellents and set traps to capture or kill pigeons. They charge a fee.
- Humane Wildlife Control (514-395-4555)
- MP Bird Control (514-273-9111)