Flocks of pigeons are an increasing feature of many towns and cities. What we don't always see is that pigeons can cause a considerable amount of damage and nuisance where they roost.
Pigeons are natural scavengers and will find their own food source. The size of the flock is determined by the amount of food available to them. The more we feed them, the more their numbers increase.
A pair of birds can breed up to 6 times a year if the conditions are ideal and will lay 2 eggs each time. If food is readily available the birds will continue to breed at this rate and the numbers will rise dramatically. If, however, the food supply is reduced, the flock size will reduce accordingly. Pigeons control their own numbers very effectively and a reduction in food supply does not mean that the birds will die of starvation, it just means they will breed less often or even not at all. If there is a small healthy flock there is less chance that they will need to be controlled.
Why are pigeons a problem?
- The places pigeons roost on or regularly visit soon become fouled with droppings, nesting materials and dead birds. The droppings can cause damage to the building if they are not removed.
- Feeding pigeons attracts pests and puts human health at risk.
- Pigeon fouling, nesting and other debris can contain bacteria, viruses, mites and insects, which could be passed to humans. Biting mites often infest offices gaining access through windows and air vents. Pigeons frequently get into water storage tanks in lofts.
- In places where pigeons are over feed by people, rats and mice (known spreaders of disease) are encouraged into the area.
- Pigeon droppings on pavements, particularly when wet, can cause people to slip and injure themselves. These accumulations have to be cleaned up.
- Feeding pigeons in town centres causes them to live in areas which are unnatural to them and exposes them to risk of injury. They can often be seen with missing/deformed feet or wing injuries. If pigeons are fed unnaturally it encourages them to breed excessively and the weakest will die.
- Large numbers of pigeons can drive out smaller birds from feeding areas.
- Feral pigeons can carry diseases, which will spread to other birds.
How can you help?
- By not feeding the pigeons
- By disposing of food litter properly
- Do not let pigeons use your property for roosting or nesting. If this is happening, information on how to deter them is available on the internet or contact a professional pest control company.
Please do not feed pigeons. In finding their own food naturally they will breed less often and have smaller flocks so the numbers will drop naturally.
Click on the link to the British Pest Control Association website for further information.