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Pigeons

a.k.a. Rock Doves

Overview

Pigeons represent a large family of birds that are found all around the world. These creatures have been around for thousands of years and have earned respect for their assistance in delivering military messages in times of war and their contribution to special ceremonies. Unfortunately, pigeons also have a reputation for causing a lot of problems and issues for people in their everyday lives. Today, feral pigeons find the ledges of tall buildings just as good as the cliffs that they used to inhabit. They have become adapted to urban areas, and a very large number of them can be found in towns and cities throughout the world. 

Sometimes these birds can cause a minor annoyance and just leave you with a little extra cleaning to do. There are other times when pigeons cause so many problems that you need extra help to deal with them and that’s where we come in.

Taxonomy

Order: 

Family:

Genus: 

Species:

Common Names: 

Columbiformes

Columbidae

Columba

Paloma Domestica 

Rock Dove, Pigeon,

Feral Pigeon, Common Pigeon

Crop

Brain

Spinal Cord

Lungs

Kidney

Gizzard

Cloaca

Buccal Cavity

Heart

Stomach

Liver

Bile Duct

Digestive Tract

Evolutionary Traits

 

Pigeons are not just any old bird. They're the ultimate survivors, able to fly for miles and cross oceans in search of food or roosting spots! Pigeons are strong, swift fliers with long wings that allow them to fly at speeds of 50 to 60 miles per hour at an altitude of 6000 feet. They can flap their wings ten times in 1 second while maintaining an astonishing 600 beats per minute. Even more impressive is they can keep this up for 16 hours straight!

These birds were also used for delivering information across far distances, as they have an amazing sense of direction. Pigeons have the ability to sense Earth's magnetic fields and use them to determine exactly where they are.

This species is one of the very few birds that can drink water using their beak like a straw, most other birds must tip their heads back to allow the water to pour down their throats. 

Pigeons have a special organ in their digestive system called the crop. This is where most species of birds that have the organ store extra food to eat later, but pigeons also use it for secreting milk for feeding young ones with nutrients needed to mature properly.

Diet

 

Feral pigeons eat mostly fruits and seeds which are in some cases found in yards and gardens. While looking for food, household plants might be damaged by the birds pecking and defecating on the plants. Feral pigeons will also pick at scraps of food left in trash bins, dumpster, on the ground – all of which is plentiful in urban and city environments. Restaurants that that throw away stale bread or other spoiled food also provide a large and readily available source of food for the birds.

Behavior

 

Feral pigeons travel in flocks, which is very important as they are able to warn each other of danger more quickly than if traveling in small numbers. Once they find an ideal nesting ground, they tend to remain there for the rest of their lives. This is why it's very important to catch any roosting pigeon problem before it gets out of hand. They are at the bottom of the food chain, and therefore they are never eager to explore new areas, and would rather stubbornly remain where they know is safe. While in captivity a feral pigeon can live for up to 15 years, most urban feral pigeons live for only three or four. This is due to increased competition for food and water and natural predators, such as hawks, foxes, and even household cats.

Life Cycle

Reproduction

 

Feral pigeons breed very quickly, which helps explain the large numbers of them that can be easily found. By seven months old, female feral pigeons are sexually mature, and are ready to mate.

Females lay eggs in groups of between one and three (typically two) and after only 18 days the eggs are ready to hatch. It usually takes about a month for the chicks to be able to leave the nest (a bit longer – 45 days - in the winter). Usually there are more eggs that are laid before the first clutch of chicks even leaves the nest. While there is no specific breeding season, the breeding peeks during the spring and fall, before the winter.

 

Feral pigeons nest anywhere that they can find, with abandoned buildings being a favorite of theirs. Feral pigeons stay together in flocks, and they will usually roost together on and in abandoned properties. On any undamaged property, they will roost in gutters, air conditioners, chimney pots, and just about any ledge that they can find.  

The nests that pigeons create can lead to major issues for you and your property. They may be built in a location that disrupts your roof drainage and they can lead to costly damages. Their nests may also block the ventilation system of your building and negatively affect the air going in and out. Since these nests can catch fire, they pose an extra threat if any flames touch the building.

Egg Description

ruler in centimeters
Eggo_edited.png

 

Size: 

Color: 

Incubation: 

Brood Size: 

Frequency:

 

3 - 4 centimeters

Varies, pale brown to off-white

16 - 19 days

1 - 3 eggs

approx. 6 times per year

Nesting Behavior

Nesting Material

 

Pigeon nests are initially very flimsy and not well put together, they simply pile twigs and straw and dry leaves together into what could be considered a general idea of a nest. Over time the nest will become more sturdy and solidified as pigeons are one of the few bird species that does not clean and remove droppings from the nest before they reuse it. They allow any material like feathers, droppings, and at times infertile eggs to remain and harden the structure they have built. This allows for any number of pests, parasites, fungi, and bacteria to thrive. Their nests are capable of spreading disease far and wide if not taken care of immediately.


Maturity & Lifespan

 

After around 25 to 30 days as fledglings, pigeons are ready to leave the nest. Most of the time these fledglings are not ready to fly quite yet and spend 1 - 2 days on the ground foraging. Typically within these two days, they will figure out how to fly and will never return to the nest. Since pigeons nest all year round, fledglings that hatch during the winter months take a little longer before they are ready to leave the nest, often staying for closer to 45 days. 

 

Immediately after the fledglings leave the nest, the parents are ready to lay their next clutch of eggs. The young pigeons only need around 6 more months to reach their full maturity, at which point they will seek out their mate and also begin the reproductive process. When a male attempts to court a female pigeon, he will puff out his chest and tail feathers while circling the female. If the female is interested she accepts him by nodding her head and feeding the other pigeon. Pigeons mate for life, which is why it is so easy for them to reproduce as quickly as they do. 

 

Feral pigeons typically have a lifespan of between 2-6 years, although some feral pigeons have been documented to live up to 10 years. In their lifespan, pigeons are capable of producing between 24 and 72 fledglings, accounting for their easily growing numbers. 

Pigeon Population Distribution

 

Pigeons, unlike other bird species, do not migrate. Unless disturbed, they typically spend their whole life in the same general area. If an external factor like humans relocate them far away from their flock and nesting ground, their

 

Frequently found throughout North America, the rock pigeon has a widespread distribution. This includes most of Canada and parts of Latin America below 50

homing abilities allow them to easily return to that location. This is one reason why feral pigeons are one of the more difficult birds to control, through either exclusion or deterrent methods. 

degrees latitude, although in some coastal areas they exceed this latitude, where they live on islands in more temperate environments such as near sea level.

Droppings

 

Some people think that feral pigeons are just pesky birds, but the reality is much different. Feral pigeons can pose many risks to humans including the droppings that pile up on your property or in your home’s entryway, wherever they decide to roost. These birds are known to produce 25 pounds of waste per year! Not only is this an eyesore to anyone who happens upon it, but feral pigeon droppings can damage your property in more than one way. 

Acid Poop

 

Pigeon droppings have an acidity level of 3.5 - 4.0, due to the levels of uric acid it contains. That's the same pH level as acid rain! Knowing this, it's unsurprising that leaving pigeon droppings on building materials such as concrete, stone, iron, or steel can cause the materials to weaken or wear down. The constant need to clean, repaint, and repair a property that has been covered in bird poop can be inconvenient and costly. Large amounts of pigeon fecal matter have been known to damage vegetation as well. Pigeons tend to group up and can use your home or business as their own little hang-out spot and do a lot of damage due to their high numbers. 

Health Hazards

 

There are dozens of different diseases that birds carry and can pass on to humans in a few different ways. E. Coli is often associated with meat that is uncooked but it can also be spread through pigeons. Their dropping can contain the E. Coli germ and can get passed on to a human who comes into contact with it and they can spread it around to others as well. Histoplasmosis is another infection that can be found in pigeon droppings and can be passed to humans from breathing. This condition can cause a lot of aches and pains and can get serious among people with weaker immune systems. Salmonella poisoning is not just something you can be given from eating the wrong food, it can also come about from pigeon dropping and inhaling them. While this type of poisoning will typically go away after a few days and not lead to serious long-term health issues, it can lead to several days of feeling ill and the effects can last for months.  St. Louis encephalitis is a condition that can be passed on from pigeons that inflames the nervous system and can be potentially fatal for those affected by it. The virus that causes St. Louis encephalitis is carried by pigeons and other birds and you should be careful when you are around these birds.

Workplace Safety Hazard

In urban areas, pigeons are more common as they consider the roofs of high buildings the prime location for their nesting grounds. It keeps them away from their natural predators and there is plenty of room for an entire flock to nest together. Unfortunately, rooftops are also where HVAC units, ventilation, and other essential structures are found. When pigeons nest so close to these areas they are helping spread the diseases in their droppings further, as well as creating a fire hazard. Nesting material and dry droppings are very flammable and if left near elements like an HVAC unit that can get very hot 

 

Our Solutions

 

Based upon our inspection and your answers to the questions below, we will determine exactly what bird control method will rid you of your pigeon problem and implement it quickly and efficiently. We use many different methods of bird control so that we can ensure you are getting exactly the type of control you need. Select the options below if you are interested in learning more about the control methods we use.

Bird Netting

netting

Spikes

Bird Spikes
Bird Control Shock Track

shock track

Bird Grid Wire

bird wire

Bird Deterrent Solar Guard

Solar Guard

Bird Deterrent Pond Netting

Pond Netting

Bird Deterrent Grid Wire

GRID WIRE

AviAngle Ledge Modification

Aviangle

Bird Control Targeting
Bird Control Cleanup Service
Sound Units

Sound Units

Other Bird Control
Other Bird Control

other

 

Pigeon Control Solutions

 

You do not want to deal with a serious pigeon crisis on your own and hiring a professional bird control company can be your best bet to get the whole thing resolved as quickly as possible. These birds are very intelligent and stubborn, and are not as easy to fool or get rid of as some other bird species might be.  The damage caused by birds runs into the tens of millions of dollars each year and it can cost individuals more than they can afford. This is one reason why we focus on every aspect of bird control and can help you save a lot of money in the long run.

It takes time and the proper methods to get rid of pigeons and keep them from coming right back. We know how to perform bird control techniques and can save you a lot of time and effort. Since it can be harmful to try to deal with pigeons and their droppings on your own, you should hire professional help to get things handled in a timely and safe fashion.  We can discuss our process with you and answer your questions and concerns. A pigeon problem should not be taken lightly or left to take care of itself. The potential damage and health risks are too great to let pigeons run wild on your home and we can help stop the problem before it gets any bigger.

 

When determining a pigeon control plan, it is important to take several factors into consideration prior to implementation: 

  • How long has the pigeon problem been going on for?

  • Is anyone feeding the pigeons directly?

  • Are there any mechanical problems or structural building problems that is creating a food or water source to develop?

  • Are the pigeons nesting, loafing or roosting?

  • If heavy nesting, are there any fire hazards?

  • Are any of the surrounding buildings having a bird problem?

  • Are there bird droppings along walkways or parking areas?

  • How many pigeons and how big is the problem area?

  • What is the bird pressure?  

  • Are there food or water sources available to the pigeons?

  • Either at the target site or in adjacent areas?

  • Are there any liability issues due to the pigeon infestation?