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How Can You Get Rid of Nuisance Pigeons?

By Chris Williams on November 2, 2016.

I have a problem with pigeons sitting on the ledge outside my apartment window. They really make a mess, I’m always cleaning the window. I try to scare them off but they’re right back. Is there anything I can do to keep them off of the ledge? E. G., Boston, MA

Pigeons are one of the few birds not protected by federal law (although in some cases, local laws may apply) so a number of different control measures can be used such as trapping, toxic baiting, exclusion, nest destruction, visual and tactile repellents, to name a few. Most of these would require the services of a pest control professional and the methods used would depend on the site and the number of pigeons involved.

Happy Pigeons Are Difficult to Remove

Before attempting to control pigeons at a site, it’s important to know whether the site in question is a feeding, loafing, or roosting site for the birds (see Pigeons Use Different Sites for Different Purposes). The more important and the more desirable the site is for the birds, the harder it will be to convince them to leave. A building ledge is a typical daytime loafing site for pigeons. If there is room for multiple birds, a ledge can also be a roosting site, and even a nesting site. Nesting birds are the most difficult to move, while birds that are simply resting in a site can usually be convinced to move to a new location.

Eliminate Building Ledges as a Landing Place

Pigeons can often be blocked from sitting or nesting on ledges by “exclusion,” altering the ledge to make the space undesirable or by making it impossible for them to land there. The advantage to this type of control is that it is essentially permanent. Sheet metal, wood, plexiglass, or other material can be added to a flat ledge to change the angle to 45 degrees or more so that birds can’t perch. Ledges can also be protected with netting, wire grids, or by installing commercial strips of spikes or sharp prongs (porcupine wire) that keep birds from landing. There are also tactile repellent gels or sprays that can be applied to ledges. Pigeons will avoid standing on these sticky or irritating materials. Repellents can be messy to apply, however, and may lose their effectiveness over time.

There’s probably not much you can do on your own to scare off those pigeons. Sometimes a visual scare device, such as a fake owl in your window, will work for a time, but the birds habituate and return to the site. Whether any of the management methods mentioned above would be feasible would depend on how many pigeons are involved and how extensive the roosting sites are on your building. We would be happy to work with your building management to come up with a solution. Have them give Colonial Pest a call to arrange an inspection and evaluation.

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Photo Credit : By Razvan SocolOwn work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

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