Especially in spring and summer, pigeons attract negative attention when they are looking for nesting places and also increasingly visit our balconies or terraces. We reveal how you can drive away pigeons again.
With the exception of the polar regions, pigeons are found worldwide. Of the 300 species of pigeon in the world, just five species live in our latitudes, including the wood pigeon, the turtledove, the turkish dove and the city dove.
City pigeons are descended from feral domestic and carrier pigeons and cities had to fight with city pigeons even in ancient times. Even today it is mostly city pigeons that nestle in attics, on balconies or window sills – often to the displeasure of human residents.
Do pigeons transmit diseases?
A common reason for the rejection of pigeons today is the fear that the animals will transmit diseases. However, the threat is often presented in a more drastic way than it really is: the risk of contracting parrot disease, for example, mainly affects people who deal intensively with pigeons on a daily basis, such as breeders. The trichomoniasis pathogen is also not transmitted by pigeons: humans cannot become infected with the type of pathogen that infects pigeons.
Beware of parasites
So while the probability of contracting diseases in pigeons is quite low, pigeon parasites pose a greater danger to humans. Poultry mites, pigeon ticks and the like can cause severe allergic reactions with their bites. The ticks can crawl into your home even after the pigeons have disappeared. It is therefore imperative that you thoroughly remove all traces of the pigeons.
This also includes traces of excrement left by city pigeons on balconies and terraces. Each pigeon excretes around eight kilograms of feces per year. If the manure dries and is blown up as dust and inhaled, it can damage the health of the respiratory tract.
In addition, yeast can form on the dried bird droppings, which can cause meningitis in humans. The protective measure: Be sure to wear a respirator when removing bird droppings.
Remove pigeon droppings
You can remove pigeon droppings yourself. It is essential to wear a dust mask so that you do not inhale dust or fungi, as well as rubber gloves. Also wash your hands thoroughly afterwards.
- First pour plenty of hot water on the dirt and remove the droppings with a spatula or a rough scrubber.
- Rinse the manure with water, ideally with a water hose, but a bucket of water that has been dumped out with a swing can also do its job.
- To kill germs, wipe the entire soiled area with household vinegar and then rinse again with water.
Drive away pigeons
To prevent the birds from contaminating your freshly cleaned balcony again, there are various ways to drive away the pigeons. Be particularly vigilant in spring and summer when the birds are looking for breeding grounds.
Scare off pigeons
The best measure is to deter the pigeons in the first place. There are several methods of doing this. First of all, you can take action yourself and scare away the pigeons whenever the birds come too close. Pigeons quickly learn that a balcony from which they are constantly being chased away is not an ideal breeding place. However, this method requires vigilance and the ability to defend your balcony even during the day.
By making sure that there are no crumbs and leftover food lying around outside, you also make your balcony or terrace less attractive for pigeons. The following methods are also suitable for driving away pigeons:
- Optical deterrent: fluttering strips made of colored foil strips, wind turbines and wind chimes or a pigeon fright made from old CDs: The rapid movement of the objects in the wind and the color changes startle the pigeons and ensure that the birds do not dare to step onto your balcony. However, pigeons quickly learn whether this is a real danger. You should therefore change the pigeon scarecrows regularly so that there is no habituation effect.
- Deterrence by enemies: The same applies to ravens or birds of prey made of plastic, which you can also attach to balconies and window sills to deter. These plastic birds should also change their position frequently so that the pigeons do not become clairaudient. It works even better if you regularly let your pet out on the balcony: dog and cat act self-determined and unpredictably and the pigeons will certainly not breed where they know predators. Often it is enough to distribute some of the pet’s fur to let the pigeons know that this is not a good area for the offspring.
- Acoustic deterrent: This method of driving away pigeons is particularly suitable for larger areas or gardens. Simply play the screams of various domestic birds of prey to scare off the pigeons. Corresponding sound carriers can be bought in the agricultural sector, for example. Be sure to be considerate of your neighbors.
- Defense through obstacles: If pigeons keep frequenting your balcony, garden or certain ledges in your house despite all attempts to deter them, physical obstacles present themselves which prevent the birds from landing and nesting. These include tension wire systems or rustproof sheets that are mounted at a 45 degree angle, for example on window sills.
Stay away from plastic spikes or even homemade wooden boards with nails, because they pose a high risk of injury to the pigeons. Nets are also dangerous: the birds can get tangled in them and starve to death.
Remove pigeon nests
If you became aware of the pigeon problem too late and the pigeons are already breeding, there is unfortunately no other option than to remove the clutch. Plastered eggs deceive the brooding pigeon, which will drive away male pigeons at least for the time of the brood and therefore will not lay any more eggs.
Make sure to take deterrent measures before the pigeon comes to you for the next brood. You have to be quick to do this, because pigeons breed up to four times a year on average.
Caution: In contrast to city pigeons, wild pigeons must not be disturbed when they breed. These include the wood pigeon, which looks very similar to the city pigeon.
If all of these deterrent methods don’t work, contact a professional pest controller or your city council’s pigeon officer.
Make sure you refrain from poisoning or otherwise killing the pigeons: this is prohibited by law.