Whether you call them rock doves, pigeons or the far less affectionate moniker of “rats with wings”, pigeons are a fact of life the world over. These members of the dove family are large and in charge and have figured out how to make the most of cohabitating with and around humans. From rural farms to urban underpasses, suburban parks to seaside escapes, pigeons are found just about everywhere. And while they can be beneficial when tamed and trained – think carrier pigeons or even cancer-detecting
Pigeons Making a Mess?
Are you having bat problems? Call Critter Control today at (574) 825-1079 in South Bend and Elkhart,
or (260) 632-5106 in the Fort Wayne area and our trained staff will be there to help with your pigeon removal.
Pigeons, specifically Columba livia, are a nuisance bird with over 350 known varieties. With origins in Asia, Europe and Africa, these birds are found the world over, except in the most extreme deserts and cold regions. Between 12 and 14 inches long with a wingspan of up to two to three feet, these birds are largely bluish gray, with greenish, reddish or purple iridescent feathers marking their necks and wings.
Scientifically, there’s no real distinction between pigeons and doves – they’re all part of the same genus, just different species. For this reason, pigeons closely resemble other birds like the common dove and mourning dove. Pigeons, however, have distinct black markings on their wings and bodies and white lower back feathers, which serve to distract predators.
Like all other nuisance critters, pigeons settle on your home or business because it’s near an abundant source of food and water and offers an ideal space for shelter. Food from bird feeders is especially attractive to pigeons, however these opportunists will snatch up leftover food from dumpsters, bits of bread or french fries left for other birds by well-meaning passersby or even scavenge your garden for a snack.
For roosting, pigeons prefer flat surfaces with a little bit of protection from the elements. Pigeon nests in cities aren’t often hidden, as they have few predators in urban and congested suburban environments. Rural pigeons or those in suburban areas bordering on wild areas may roost in more hidden locations to avoid detection by hawks, falcons and other predatory birds that may seek them or their nests out.
Pigeons breed year-round, with a peak season in spring and summer. Pigeons are monogamous and mate for life, laying two eggs at a time, which are then incubated for just over three weeks. After hatching, they’ll stay in the nest for about a month before leaving and the process of breeding starts all over again. Pigeons begin breeding at about six months of age – so two pigeons can very quickly turn into dozens, which can, in turn, lead to a large problem relatively quickly.
Unlike what the Alfred Hitchcock horror flick “The Birds” would have you believe, pigeons aren’t aggressive, deadly or violent. They’re not going to dive bomb you or peck you, your kids or your pets – unless, of course, they feel their nest is in danger or if they’re provoked. But pigeons act as vectors for disease and they can cause thousands of dollars of property damage.
Pigeons that choose to nest in the eaves of your buildings can bring in fleas, mites, lice and biting flies to your home. More of a problem are the parasites and diseases brought by their droppings – and pigeons leave behind a lot of scat. From E. coli and salmonella to trichomoniasis, encephalitis and West Nile Virus, pigeons act as carriers for a variety of bacteria, fungi and viruses, many of which can pass into their leavings. And when their fecal matter is in contact with you – either by hand, tracked in on your shoes or through eating and drinking from contaminated sources, you and your family are at risk for contracting a host of diseases.
In addition to the health hazard posed by pigeons, pigeon scat can cause an unsafe environment around your home or business by contributing to slips and falls. Additionally, the sight and smell of pigeon waste can be unbearable, especially if you’re inadvertently hosting large numbers of them.
Dealing with Pigeons
While pigeons are not federally protected, you may find that DIY efforts to remove them from your property are futile. These tenacious birds will find a way back again and again and again – in fact, that’s why homing pigeons are easily able to be trained for sport!
In order to successfully rid yourself of pigeons, you’ll need to make your property inhospitable to them. From spike strips to make roosting and landing difficult to closing up eaves, cracks and crevices where they can enter your home or building to other deterrents like windsocks, removing bird feeders and sealing up trash cans or making use of other bird-scaring devices, there’s a ton of humane solutions that can be used in conjunction with one another to remove pigeons from your property.
Getting rid of pigeons doesn’t just mean sending the birds to find homes elsewhere – it also means cleaning up their abundant droppings, which can be a hazardous task due to the diseases and parasites it can transmit so your daily life can return to normal.
How We Can Help
The professionals at Critter Control are trained and ready to help you rid your home or business of pigeons and their poop. From safely and humanely relocating the birds to helping you clean up the mess left behind, the experts at Critter Control can help. Give us a call today at (547) 825-1079 to get help with your pigeon problem today.