How to Stop Pigeons Nesting in Your Garden

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 tobasco 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.

Art Installation

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.

Noisy Option

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!!

7 thoughts on “How to Stop Pigeons Nesting in Your Garden”

  1. Thankyou for your website and advice about deterring pigeons. We have had a persistent problem with them nesting in a climber outside my daughters bedroom for years.
    We are going with the spiky option!! Homemade to start with as it will take 3 weeks to order some on line.

  2. Some wood pigeons building a flimsy nest in my lovely pleached hornbeam- can I remove it? Only started it in the last week. Undeterred by my deterrents! Thanks.

  3. Very well advised Walter – many thanks. Unfortunately the suggestions don’t deal with the problem of over-population of these flying rats! I have also used 1) extendable pole to dissuade the pigeons from nesting in an adjacent conifer. 2) large bubble wrap type packaging that, when directed and squashed, is as good as a 12-bore shot … but not as satisfying 🙁
    I live in hope for a local cull and I am in a rural village! Heaven help anyone in a town!!!
    Many thanks,

  4. My neighbour has decided=d to help the planet and has solar panels fitted to his roof. Around here we appear to have pigeons who can limbo under the panels and actually nest there. He has to wait until they’ve hatched before removing the nests. Of course he could have spent a few more pounds and opted for a barrier between the roof and panels.

  5. One solution (in wishful thinking, but impossible in practice) would be to remove the irresponsible neighbour who festoons their back lawn with plenteous quantities of bread chunks, potato chips and even uneaten pizza, cake and custard tarts. Naturally this stupidity attracts pigeons and, I suspect, other vermin e.g rodents. The result is a need to hose down our fences and garden bins and stores. We removed a pigeon nest from one of our trees using a very long extending pole purchased for the purpose. Hanging small mirrors around the garden have some effect, as do some motion activated solar pest controllers. But best of all is our collection of very powerful water pistols, which I fill with white vinegar. In my opinion leaving food waste on the ground ought to be illegal.


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