Thinning The Flock

by Josh on March 30, 2006 · 7 comments

in Journal

The bungalow was assuredly God’s gift to pigeons. Wide sheltering eaves and decorative braces make the perfect places to build ugly pigeon nests or deposit nasty pigeon waste. These filthy birds are clogging my gutters and poluting my yard with their nests and mess.

Well, guess what? I’ve had it with the pigeons. Countless evenings last summer and autumn I scared off the pigeons by spraying my garden hose up on the roof, but they always returned by morning. I swept away all their nests last fall but the pigeons have been back for weeks with their nests rebuilt.

So Monday I declared war. That morning I bought a package of hunting pellets for my old BB gun and waited for the right moment to strike. My moment came early yesterday morning when I heard the dreaded cooing coming from just beyond my bedroom ceiling as I contemplated hitting the snooze button.

At this point (because of the questionable legality of firing BB guns in the city) I may have grabbed my peashooter, marched into the backyard and popped a pigeon off the peak of my house… or I may have hit the snooze bar, gone back to sleep and dreamed the whole thing.

Whichever story is real, I’m happy to say the pigeons were absent from my house that day. But if they come around tomorrow or the next day, I may have a little something for them… or I may not.

This summer I would like to install some screening and spikes in popular roosting areas so I can try to prevent future pigeon problems. The places on the roof where these measures are in place have not become roosting areas. It is a “win-win” for me and the pigeons if I can convince them to just move on to someone else’s place. Nobody roosts, nobody gets hurt.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

ben March 30, 2006 at 9:06 am

you might try one of those owl statues. That should scare them off.


Kristin March 30, 2006 at 11:38 am

Good luck! Hmm, there’s a link in your Google ads for “Alabama Pigeon” … and here I was about to suggest we don’t have pigeons in Alabama! Must investigate …


Josh March 30, 2006 at 9:19 am

Thanks for the tip, Ben. I have read conflicting reports about the efficacy of imitation predators for pigeon control. The pigeons have a very strong nesting instinct and eventually figure out the owl is fake. Have you used an owl statue with good results yourself?


Tex MacRae March 30, 2006 at 6:39 pm

I have no idea if this would be practical for you, but the most successful pigeon control I’ve ever seen was the approach a corporation I used to work for took to drive pigeons from the eaves of their corporate headquarters building.

Wherever the pigeons tried to take up residence, they strung an electric-fence wire. It’s like magic.

After a while, you can even shut the electricity off and they still won’t touch it. If they start to ignore the wire, fire it up again.

Here’s an example:


NC March 30, 2006 at 8:03 pm

Hey did hear about that smuck in Pittsburgh with a pellet gun with a scope on a rooftop downtown? This incident shut down part of the city, roads, Ft. Pitt Bridge and ramp and had the police/swat teams out swarming over downtown. The yahoo maintenance worker was shooting pigeons on the roof to reduce the flock and someone saw him walk into the building with this shotgun… One thing lead to another and chaos occured. So if you “might” be out, watch out for the neighbors.


Josh March 31, 2006 at 6:57 am

I hadn’t heard about the Pittsburgh guy, but he’s not somebody I want to imitate. I’ve spoken with some neighbors about what I might do about the pigeons and they were very supportive.


Joel April 3, 2006 at 8:33 pm

I remember a professor in grad school had the job of taking care of the pigeons at the Cleavland Brown’s stadium. He worked up an oral cotraceptive in bird scratch and it cut down on the offspring. You might give it a try.



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