May Pest of the Month: Feral Pigeons
This month we take a look at an animal that is a very common sight throughout the UK – pigeons! Feral pigeons, the type you are likely to see strutting about your local city centre, are descended from the Rock Dove, but have become larger over time due to mixed breeding. This has resulted in variations in the colours of their feathers, ranging from shades of blue to black or grey. Urban pigeons tend to have darker plumage compared to rural pigeons, but all pigeons have iridescent purple/green feathers around their necks. Often considered pests due to the damage they cause and the public health risks they pose, pigeons will flock together in groups of 20 or more birds which means a small issue can quickly become an infestation. Urban Pest Control offers various solutions depending on your specific bird issue and our bird control team is available to provide advice and assistance.
Interesting facts about feral pigeons:
- Feral pigeons breed throughout the year, with a peak breeding season occurring between March and July. They can have 2-5 broods each year.
- Baby pigeons are called squabs until they reach the age of 4 weeks. After that, when a pigeon is ready to take its first flight, it becomes a fledgling. Pigeons typically stay in the nest for up to 6 weeks before becoming independent.
- Pigeons’ eyes do not turn red until they are between 7 months to 1 year old.
- Pigeons mate for life.
- The scientific name for pigeons is Columba livia.
- Feral pigeons can fly at speeds of up to 60 mph.
- Pigeons produce crop milk, which is a nutritious substance produced in the crop, a small section of the bird’s oesophagus. Crop milk contains antioxidants, fats and nutrients that are essential for squabs’ growth.
How to recognise you have a pigeon issue:
- Noise – If you hear flapping or loud cooing sounds, it may indicate a pigeon issue.
- Nests – Pigeons will build nests in various locations, such as small ledges, gutters and chimneys. This can lead to blockages and potential damage to drainage systems, as well as the risk of carbon monoxide entering buildings. Pigeons also tend to nest under solar panels, which can cause structural damage.
- Droppings – Pigeon guano, or droppings, will be present. Pigeon guano is highly acidic and can corrode metals, stone, brickwork, and paint. It can also pose health hazards, including slips and the inhalation of spores that may cause diseases such as histoplasmosis, hypersensitivity pneumonitis (pigeon lung), salmonella and E. coli.
How to prevent feral pigeons:
- Bird proofing methods – Urban Pest Control recommends various solutions to deter nuisance birds from nesting, such as pigeon spikes, bird netting and other effective bird control methods. These can be tailored to fit different buildings and areas, including sign boards, balconies, roof lines, ledges and gutters.
- Professional pest control – Experienced technicians can safely implement bird control measures, following working from height guidelines. For solar panels, bespoke netting solutions can be used horizontally, vertically, or at an angle to suit different structures.
- Population control – If infestations persist, trapping and shooting methods can be employed to cull the problem area.
- Guano removal – It is recommended to have professionals remove guano, feathers, nesting material, and carcasses due to the risk of contamination. Cleaning and disinfection should be carried out to ensure a safe environment.
- Consultation – If you need more information about bird proofing solutions for your residential or commercial property feel free to contact Urban Pest Control.
Pigeon Bird Control Services
If you are facing issues with pigeons and their associated problems, Urban Pest Control is here to help. Our expert team is equipped with effective solutions tailored to your specific bird control needs. From bird proofing methods to population control and pigeon guano removal, we are committed to ensuring a safe and pest-free environment for your home or business. For professional pigeon control services in Poole, Bournemouth, Christchurch, Dorchester, Weymouth, and surrounding areas don’t hesitate to reach out to us for further information.