Getting Rid of Pigeons


Dear NH,
We have pigeons that have staked out a corner of our house. They spend their time sitting under the eaves of the roof and making a mess on the ground underneath. Any advise for getting rid of them? FYI, this is an old four story house, so it is nearly impossible to reach their perch without a hook and ladder.
VG from Baltimore, MD

If you seriously can't get up to this area, you will have to accept the birdies as unwelcome borders! I know of no "long distance" extermination method except for shooting them that will solve your problem. And I don't recommend shooting under these circumstances. However, most things are not as impossible as we think. If you can get up to the area, here are a few thoughts. If the eaves are hollows, you can install dark aluminum screen over the openings. This will keep all sorts of vermin out including bugs and bats. At your home's 4-story height the dark screening should be all but invisible to the eye. If a more finished look is desired the exposed edges of the screen can be covered with wood moulding and then painted or stained.

If the eaves are just overhangs with a flat "perching" area, putting something up there that "moves" on contact will discourage all but the most persistent pigeons. You may, for example, use pieces of extruded aluminum gutter guard loosely nailed and positioned so that they are not seen from the ground. You can also use pieces of chicken wire, again loosely stapled or nailed and bent to make footing uncomfortable for the little dears.

There are more drastic methods involving chemicals. Poison bait is one method of bird control. Another method is the use of specially designed perches, which use a "wick" to apply a contact-type poison to the bird's feet. There are also chemicals that actually sterilize the birds leading to reduced populations. These methods are generally available only through a qualified and/or licensed exterminator. Though these methods may seem cruel, it is a fact that birds can carry various diseases that are spread through their droppings. Many bird control methods were developed to help the food industry protect its product... our food... from bird contamination. Given the fact that there are nearly a hundred types of potentially dangerous bacteria and parasites carried by birds in the wild, that unattractive "poop" could indeed be carrying a deadly cargo.

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