Birds are the last thing you think of when you hear the word 'pest'. But it is no secret that they can cause great nuisance. Not all types of birds are considered pests. Some tend to live in nature and stay away from urban areas or don't live in flocks.

Birds used to live in high places in nature but with time they got used to the urbanisation of the land and adapted to being around people. Nesting on the roofs of buildings rather than on trees is not uncommon to them.

If you have troubles with pigeon pest attacking your beloved garden visit the article: How to Keep Pigeons Away from Your Garden

Pigeons can cause a lot of problems with your home or commercial property. You have to learn how to get rid of the pigeons and to keep them from coming back.

  • Nesting places - flat and hospitable surfaces are a leading reason they are drawn to your home. They look for places that will be safe in all weather conditions. They need to find a place that will keep the nest and little birds safe from hot and dry weather and from rain and snow. Some birds, like sparrows, tend to build their nests on flat surfaces like walls and roofs. Pigeons like to build their nests in places like gutters and rooftops, or under solar panels to build their nests.
  • Shelter - Pigeons also seek sheltered places to sleep. This makes your home the ideal place for them.
  • Easy access to food - If your home is offering pigeons and other birds free food and easy access to it, you can be sure that they will come. Pigeons, especially, are used to being amongst people and eating their leftover food.
  • Vegetation - If you have a vegetable garden you can be sure that not only pigeons in search of food will arrive but other birds will be stopping by, too.
Feral pigeon on a rooftop looking for shelter

There are a couple of methods to stop pigeons and other birds from using your roof for nesting.

  • Gel repellent - this is a non-permanent solution and is ideal if you are renting the place. The gel wears off after a couple of weeks and you will have to reapply it. The gel works by making the surface slippery or sticky and makes it impossible for the birds to stay on it. There are also special gels that make the surface hot to the touch, and it keeps birds away.
  • Wire or wrap - Balcony or other rails attract pigeons and other birds. Use wire or slinky toys. Wrapping the rails with them will create a barrier and make them uncomfortable for birds to land on. Thus keeping them off of your property.
  • String - Another way to protect your balcony rails is by tying a string a few centimetres above it so it's difficult for birds to grasp the rail.
  • Spikes - Spikes are another permanent alternative to keeping birds away. They can be installed anywhere. Spikes are a solution for residential and commercial properties. It's more expensive and the installation takes time but it's worth it.

If you have the time to dive in the task of fortifying your home against all bird intruders you will find this helpful. Below are listed some methods that need a bit of craftsmanship and DIY experience.

Scare Crows Against Pigeons

Scare the pigeons off with fake owl or hawk statues - There are plastic birds, flying birds, and statues of owls and hawks that people use to scare off real birds. These can be effective but you will have to change their place, now and then, so pigeons don't get used to the statue. You can place the decoy birds on trees, on the roof, on your balcony. Pigeons are afraid of bigger birds that prey on them and can be scared by a predator bird.

Structural Changes

You can modify specific parts of the roof by installing slants. Make the roof sloping so they can't land and stay on it. If you do this to their favourite spots they will eventually stop coming to your home.

Porcupine wire - This is a metal base with metal prongs protruding from it making it impossible for birds to land on their favourite roosting spots.

Wire Fences

The fence can prevent birds from getting in your attic or other places of your property. Simple chicken wire can be easily nailed down and prevent pigeons from entering anywhere, you wish to keep safe from birds. It is a permanent solution and many professional pest exterminators recommend it.

Live Traps

Although, a preferred choice for dealing with birds, by some people, it is not the most effective one. Problem number one is that it takes time to achieve your goal of catching the birds. The second problem is the fact that by releasing them far away from your property does not guarantee they won't find their way back. Or that other birds won't come.

How to set up a live trap for birds

  1. Spread seeds to their favourite roosting places. Feed them for a couple of days so they know to come back;
  2. Then place the trap and put seeds inside of it. Do this for a couple more days and after you've gained their trust, capture them inside;
  3. Release them somewhere far from your home.

This is an effective method if it's combined with home repairs or repellents that will stop birds from coming back.

Pigeons love the space under solar panels and use it as a nesting spot. This can cause many troubles, not to mention that nesting pigeons can damage the solar panels.

It is a matter of time before bird droppings and various debris cover your solar panels. This will lower the amount of energy produced by them, drastically. Next thing you know, you have the most expensive pigeon coop on your roof. The solar panels are made from small cells that absorb the light and bird droppings will prevent the cells' work.

Corrosion is another big issue that pigeons can cause to the solar panels. The uric acid in the birds' droppings increases the dangers of corrosion on the aluminium parts of the panels.

Dislocating the wires of the solar panels. Pigeons and their babies moving under your solar panels can meddle with the wiring, causing electrical power issues.

Living in a property infested by pigeons has its common downsides. No matter the type of property and the size of infestations, those signs will be visible.

  • They carry materials for their nests leaving a trace of rubbish around your home.
  • When pigeons start building their nest they have to carry mud and sticks which leave traces along the way. Pigeons nest in places that are easier for them to reach and build in. Such are gutters, fan vents, chimneys, etc.
  • Clogged gutters and/or downspouts cause leakage on your roof skirts and outer walls. The blocked gutters can result in serious damage to your walls and to your electrical system.
  • Pigeons are wild animals that carry bird mites, pathogens and parasites which can cause health problems to people.
  • Pigeons droppings are a huge problem that is inconvenient in more than one way. Bird droppings, in general, have a strong unpleasant smell. Aside from being unsightly, bird excrements contain uric acid that can damage a variety of materials. Thus cause costly damages to your home or business building.
  • Birds can be a serious nuisance. All birds make noise, even one bird can be as annoying as ten.
  • Living in a block of flats and having birds issues will raise the maintenance costs.

Transmissible diseases spread by pigeons

  • E.coli - there are various ways you can get infected with E.coli from birds. The bacteria is usually found in their faecal matter, so exposure to it can be one of the ways. Dust from the droppings that has entered the ventilation system is another way it gets into your system. Symptoms of E.coli:
    • abdominal pain;
    • diarrhoea;
    • vomiting;
    • nausea.
  • St. Louis Encephalitis - a virus mainly carried by birds. More specifically birds that inhabit urban areas, such as pigeons and house sparrows. How you get infected with this virus is by mosquitoes who have fed on an infected bird before feeding on you. Symptoms of St. Louis Encephalitis:
    • headache;
    • nausea;
    • dizziness;
    • fever.
  • Cryptococcosis - a fungal disease that can end fatally. It is found in the droppings of birds but is not limited to them. It is also found in more than 80% of birds nesting sites. There are two forms of this disease. One is caught by inhaling the fungus. It gets into your lungs, then spreads out to other parts of your organism and causes a lot of problems. The other one is in the form of blisters skin ulcers, acne-like, but these are rare cases. If it's not treated, cryptococcosis can be deadly.
  • Histoplasmosis - is a fungus found in dried bird droppings. You can get infected by inhaling dried droppings dust.
  • Psittacosis - this is a bacterial pathogen that you can find in the dried bird droppings.
  • Bird Mites - parasites that feed on young pigeons but as soon as the nest is abandoned they scatter looking for food in the closest place. This can result in an infestation of your home.

If you don't think you can protect your home from birds on your own, get professional help.