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Pigeons Use Different Sites for Different Purposes

By Chris Williams on June 3, 2014.

Nest Eat LoafPigeon Question

I live in a high-rise apartment building in downtown Boston and we have a problem with pigeons roosting on the flat rooftop of the building and also hanging out (and pooping) on our balconies. Management had a company come out and put bait or something on the roof but it doesn’t seem to have made any difference. What else can we do?—P.M., Boston, MA

Answer

It’s hard to advise you without seeing the site. There could be many reasons why the bait did not work, but one could be that your building is simply not a feeding site for these pigeons. Although you say they are “roosting” on the roof, they may not be feeding there. If you try to get them to take food bait in a site where they normally don’t feed, it probably won’t work.

Pigeons use different sites for different purposes. They may roost or nest in one site and spend most of the day loafing in a totally different place. “Loafing” is actually a term that we use in pigeon control to define places where pigeons spend time but do not normally nest or feed.

When we start a pigeon management program, our technicians have to survey to determine how and when the pigeons are using the site. Whether the site is used for nesting or for loafing or feeding can make a big difference in how easy the pigeons are to remove and in the kinds of methods we use.

Are Pigeons Roosting There or Just Loafing?

The same group of pigeons can occupy three different types of sites: roosting, loafing, and feeding. The more desirable features a site provides, the more attractive it will be to flocking pigeons.

1) Roosting sites are where the birds usually nest and have their young. These sites provide a covered flat surface where pigeons can build nests, and can congregate together at night or during bad weather. Typical roosting sites are on covered ledges, eaves, in attics or steeples, or under bridges or overpasses. Roosting areas typically have lots of pigeon droppings, nest material (mostly twigs), and other proof of heavy use. Roosting areas are considered to be high pressure sites; the birds are determined to be there and are difficult to move.

2) Loafing sites are near the roosting sites and are usually warmed by afternoon sun but provide no actual shelter. They are for daytime preening and sunbathing by inactive birds. Typical loafing sites are building roofs and ledges, cooling towers, bridges, and signs. Birds don’t nest here so pressure to remain is not as great as at a roosting site. If the loafing site is only used occasionally and does not overlook a feeding site, the birds are even less committed to remain here.

3) Feeding sites may be nearby or several miles away from the roosting and loafing sites. Pigeons find food in parks, squares, food loading docks, garbage areas, landfills, railroad sidings, food plants, and wherever people eat outdoors. Pigeons will be more committed to their feeding sites than to casual loafing sites but they do not spend a great deal of time in these sites.

Ask your management company to contact Colonial Pest Control. Pigeon management is one of our specialties. We can not only get rid of the pigeons on your building, but we are also experts in bird exclusion. Our technicians can make recommendations for how your building can be modified to make it less attractive to pigeons in the future.

Photo credit: amira_a / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

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