Those of us who own birds usually feed and observe wild birds as well, and friends and neighbors invariably come to regard us as the “go to” people for bird questions. One very common and troubling problem is the question of Pigeon control. Also known as Rock Doves (Columba livia) they are, to be sure, interesting (I’ve always wanted to look into when the night-active pigeons in Times Square sleep!) but still…
Do’s and Don’ts
The key to long-term pigeon control is to remove whatever is attracting the birds – usually roosting sites or food.
Unless you are dealing with pigeons that have entered a warehouse or other building, trapping followed by relocation or euthanasia is largely ineffective because other pigeons will invariably take the place of those removed.
Adhesive repellants designed to discourage perching should not be used, as they can foul feathers and are especially dangerous to smaller, non-target bird species.
It usually takes some experimentation, as Pigeons are among the most resourceful of all birds, but wires, spikes, tilted metal sheets or netting can often be arranged in a manner that will prevent roosting. Plastic door curtains that fall back into place after being contacted by people or vehicles can be used in warehouses and other situations with open entryways.
Food – Repellents and Contraceptives
A grape-based repellent that has yielded mixed results is available. Other food additives that are marketed as pigeon deterrents, although advertised as being harmless, they can be lethal to both pigeons and non-target species in some circumstances.
The Environmental Protection Agency has approved a food-based contraceptive…once in wide usage, it may assist with the humane control of pigeons on a large scale.
Extreme Pigeon Control
A number of beautiful pigeon species are highly prized by aviculturists…Please see Keeping Pigeons and Doves for more info.
More information on humane wildlife control is available on the website of the Humane Society.
Think pigeons are “plain”? – check out this video of beautiful (and friendly!) Victoria Crowned Pigeons.