Where are pigeons most likely to be found and why?
Pigeons can be found anywhere in the country, but are most frequently found in heavily populated areas where people (most often unintentionally) will provide them with an abundant supply of food. Pigeons prefer grains for food and by spilling food or leaving trashcans uncovered, humans are inadvertently providing them with a continuous food supply, one that these birds have become dependent on.
Pigeons have also become dependent on humans to provide them with roosting and nesting sites. They are commonly found around agricultural areas, warehouses and feed mills, as well as inner city parks, buildings, and bridges. They prefer to build their nests on flat, secluded surfaces such as ledges, eaves, and windowsills, or in other protected areas such as gutters and steeples.
What do pigeons look like?
Most pigeons are approximately 11 inches long and weigh about 13 ounces. They typically have a gray body with whitish rump, red feet, and two black bars on their wing feathers and a broad black band on their tail.
What risks do pigeons pose to the health of the public? Do they carry disease?
Pigeons are filthy birds and carry many other pests on them, such as fleas, ticks and mites, which pose their own health dangers to the public, including lyme disease. Pigeons themselves are known to carry several diseases and can contaminate food, causing food poisoning such as salmonellosis. Their plentiful droppings are also known to trigger human slips and falls.
Can pigeons cause damage to buildings and other structures?
Yes, pigeons can cause extensive damage to buildings and other structures due to the corrosiveness of their droppings. Over time, a build up of droppings on any surface will accelerate the aging of the structure and the corrosion can lead to structural instability.
What are some preventative measures that can be taken to avoid a pigeon infestation?
While some may suggest using a decoy owl, snake, or brightly colored balloons to scare the pigeons away, ultimately the pigeons will become acclimated to the presence of these devices and ignore them. The best way to avoid a pigeon infestation is to deny them nesting and roosting space. Vents and gutters should be sealed or covered. Nesting on ledges, eaves or windowsills can be deterred by installing tightly strung wire or string just above the surface.
Additionally, make sure to clean up food spills promptly and keep trashcans covered. By denying the pigeons of a continuous food source, they will seek shelter elsewhere.
What should homeowners and business owners do if they suspect they already have a pigeon infestation?
If you are already seeing signs of a pigeon infestation, it is always a good idea to contact a professional pest control company who has the expertise and equipment necessary to rid a property of these creatures. A pest professional can help you not only safely eliminate the pigeons, but also help you determine where and why these animals are infiltrating your property and how to eliminate the conducive conditions to prevent future problems.
You can also visit pestworld.org to learn more about these birds, preventative measures, and how to find a pest professional in your area.