What to do if the “coos” are driving you cuckoo
A pigeon takeover can really disrupt your outdoor space. One day you see a few, the next day, a few hundred. Not to mention their droppings can stain or even corrode metal and painted surfaces.
Getting rid of pigeons starts with finding the root cause and planning your defense strategy accordingly. Here’s what could be attracting them and how to humanely get rid of them.
Why Do I Have Pigeons Around My Home?
Especially if you’re not in an urban location, it can be a mystery why pigeons have chosen to flock to your home. Despite their well-known tendency to inhabit cities, pigeons can be found just about anywhere, from large farmlands to small suburban apartments.
These are the main culprits that could be attracting pigeons to your home.
1. There’s a Feast Around
Above all, the pigeon’s main objective is to eat—and their peckish beaks will go for just about anything. They might go for the crops around your home, such as fruits (especially berries), grains, and beans.
If you have a bird feeder, they’ll bully smaller birds away and call upon their pigeon pals to come gorge. There could also be some trash can or compost munchies they’re going after.
Not sure what’s giving them a meal ticket? It helps to observe the pesky birds and note where they gather. Once you pinpoint what they’re pecking at, it will be that much easier to remove the temptation.
2. There’s a Good Perching Spot
Pigeons love a birds-eye view of the surrounding area—what better way to scope out a place to feed or nest? If you’ve got some prime perching real estate around, they’ll be all the more attracted to your property.
Here are a few of their top picks for perching:
3. There’s a Suitable Nesting Area
Aside from eating, nesting is a pigeon’s other main objective. They prefer flat, warm, secluded surfaces such as:
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How to Get Rid of Pigeons
Whether it’s the noms or the nesting that has pigeons hooked on your turf, here’s what you can do to keep them away.
Adjust Your Bird Feeders
Bird feeders are a major attraction to pigeons, but that doesn’t mean you need to bid farewell to all your hungry feathered visitors. By getting feeders pigeons can’t (or don’t want to) access, your favorite songbirds can have their seed and eat it too.
Get a Weight-Sensitive Feeder
Weight-sensitive bird feeders are a great pigeon deterrent (and they’ll also keep ravenous squirrels at bay). These allow lightweight songbirds to munch freely while using weight-sensitive springs to shut feeding ports for pigeons and other heavier visitors.
Use Pigeon-Proof Feeders
Pigeons are large and heavy—and they’re no acrobats. You can deter them by selecting a feeder they can’t use, such as a hanging tube feeder, suet cake, or anything with tiny perches that they won’t be able to sit on.
Put Out Food They Don’t Like
As undiscerning as the pigeon’s appetite is, there are some seeds they tend to stay away from. Here are a few songbird-attracting seeds that pigeons don’t care for:
Avoid the Food They Do Like
In the same vein, you’ll want to avoid the seeds that pigeons find scrumptious, which are often found in less-expensive seed mixes. These include:
Use a Seed Catcher
Those pretty songbirds aren’t the neatest eaters, and pigeons will happily flock to any seed that falls to the ground. If you’re having trouble in this area, consider adding a seed catcher, which is a wide tray that hangs just below the feeder. You can purchase a seed catcher online or attach a tray to your feeder with rope or chains.
Get Anti-Roosting Spikes
Anti-roosting spikes might seem painful at a glance, but they’re more of a visual deterrent than a physical one. Since birds can easily see the spikes, they know they aren’t able to perch and won’t try to do it.
Use a Fearsome Decoy
To keep pigeons away, try putting out a realistic decoy of a predatory animal, such as a snake or an owl. Pigeons tend to wise up to this tactic after a while, so it’s more effective if you move the decoy to different spots periodically. Even still, this is best paired with other solutions and deterrents.
Try a Repellent
Ultrasonic emitters and slippery gel repellents can keep pigeons from hanging out in your yard. However, the downside is that they’ll keep other birds away too. Avoid sticky repellents, as these can trap and injure smaller birds.
Tips for Dealing With Pigeons Around Your Home
While you’re working on giving them the permanent boot, use these tips to manage the pigeons around your home.
1. Don’t Feed the Birds
When pigeons disrupt the feeding of your regular songbird clientele, it’s tempting to throw some bread or cheap seed in a separate location as a diversion. While this presents a temporary solution, you’ll run into trouble when those pigeons tell their buddies about the free food and they all make it a regular place to frequent.
Along with that, be sure to close off or remove other potential food sources, such as trash cans and compost piles.
2. Keep a Consistent Cleanup Routine
While you’re in the midst of a pigeon problem, become well-acquainted with your hose’s power-spray setting. Their corrosive droppings can do serious damage to the surfaces and finishes around your yard, so you’ll want to stay on top of cleanup. Along with that, sweeping and keeping garbage in well-sealed containers can eliminate potential food sources.
3. Deter Pigeons With Reflective Materials
Shiny materials are disorienting and can keep pigeons away from their usual landing spot. Aluminum foil, reflective tape, shiny ribbon, and your old CD collection are all great options.
4. Cap Your Chimney
While it won’t single-handedly prevent a pigeon invasion, investing in a chimney cap is a wise thing to do if you haven’t already. Pigeons have a tendency to nest in chimneys, where they can often get stuck and pass away. That’s not ideal for either of you to go through, so you won’t regret being proactive.
DIY vs. Hire a Pro
Although the risk of pigeon-related illness is low, these birds can harbor disease and parasites. A local bird control service can help you safely deal with them and keep them from coming back. The cost to remove a bird’s nest ranges anywhere from $100 to $2,000.
If you decide to DIY, it’s best practice to wear protective clothing, including eyewear, a mask, and gloves when handling a bird or its droppings.
How do I get rid of pigeons naturally?
Here are a few scents pigeons can’t stand:
What are pigeons most afraid of?
Pigeons are most deterred by the sight of predatory birds. These include owls, hawks, and other birds of prey.