Picture the scene. You’ve been hard at it for hours, cleaning the patio, mowing the lawns, weeding the borders and trimming the hedges. Once everything looks in tip top condition you replenish the bird feeders and finally sit down in the shade to admire the fruits of your labour.
Suddenly you hear the most inelegant of banging noises as three feral pigeons crash land on your fence, causing the dainty blue tits and sparrows to flee from their resting place in terror.
The pigeon’s sheer weight shakes the bird feeder and seed meant for the wild birds gets strewn across your freshly cut grass. The clean patio is soon little more than a toilet for them with disease ridden droppings decorating the floor.
It’s simple enough to scare them away initially with a loud shout or clap of the hands, but how do you keep them away, deter them from returning and even worse, nesting in your garden?
How to get rid of them?
Feral pigeons are classed as vermin as not only are they harmful to crops but they carry disease too. The fungus in their dried droppings can cause respiratory disease in humans called Histoplasmosis, this can be fatal.
The corrosive acid in their droppings can also be incredibly destructive to buildings, even vehicles. If allowed to build up over a matter of time paint and sealants can become damaged and weakened.
They absolutely deserve the title Flying Rat and it’s little wonder that councils go to great measures to eradicate them from their towns and actively discourage feeding them.
The Buffet Table
Pigeons love food. They are attracted by the delicious smells coming from newly stocked bird feeders and tables. The simplest way to deter them is to make the food inaccessible.
Put your seed and nuts in fine mesh containers, too tiny for their awkward large beaks to manage and hanging nets that their ungainly big claws can’t manoeuvre.
Invest in a widely available purpose designed anti pigeon bird table or even use netting or mesh to cogitate a cover of your own, one that smaller birds will negotiate with ease.
Ensure all food scraps are cleaned away and put in a securely closed bin, yesterday’s toast crusts are like an invitation to dinner to a scavenging pigeon.
Now for the fun option!
Sit with the hosepipe in hand, gun set to spray, finger poised on the trigger. Spot one of the pesky creatures and give him a short, sharp blast! Fairly harmless to him yet hopefully he won’t want to return in a hurry. I find this particular method very satisfying. A short term fix but enjoyable nonetheless.
Motion detection water sprinklers work with much success too, and don’t need you to be around, still fun to watch from indoors though!
Nice n Spicy
Pigeons need stable, flat surfaces to land on so this makes it easier to find areas to treat. Much like me, they HATE spicy foods and hot sauces so a thin layer or sprinkle of tobacco across a landing site will make them flee immediately. This sounds a cheap solution but remember it will need to be reapplied with each rainfall.
Better still are landing spikes that can be easily attached to common landing sites, gardens, balconies even rooftops. Probably the most effective of all options, they are plastic, not sharp metal spikes as you might think. They just give the bird nowhere to land. They are inexpensive, easy to fit and are readily available at most D.I.Y. stores.
This is an ideal solution for someone with a persistent pigeon problem.
Now, this method I have tried and tested with little success!! After much online research I decided to go with the ‘SHINY’ method. This works on the theory that pigeons are petrified of glinting, shiny objects that blow in the wind and catch the sun.
I borrowed the neighbour’s kids and we set about attaching old C.D.’s to lengths of sparkly ribbon and tying them to the tree. Once finished, my tree just looked like a tree with old C.D.’s attached, and the several visiting pigeons that still frequented, looked like they were at Bird Glastonbury!
That didn’t last long. FAIL!
So I further researched decoy crows that sit in the tree and scarecrows and found that overall, people seemed to have little or no positive results with those either.
Netting over the entire tree is an option too, though not the prettiest look for your garden.
There are machines available that emit a high frequency noise which act on the nervous system of the bird to repel them. These machines are small and not invasive, can be hung from a branch, guttering or balcony and offer an exceptionally effective solution with many positive reviews. The signal is harmless to your domestic animals and can only be heard by human ear when in very close proximity to it.
This would seem a perfect investment for someone with a serious issue with pigeons causing damage.
My only concern is that it would frighten all garden birds, not specifically the pigeon.
Hope this has helped clear up similar issues for you. Me? I’m just off out to buy a Motion Sensor Sprinkler!!