Feral pigeons cause damage to property. Pigeons roost on ledges and sloping roofs.
- destroy insulation
- deface surfaces
- block pipes and gutters with droppings. Their droppings are acidic and eat away at buildings and machinery, which can lead to secondary damage such as wet rot
Pigeons also carry diseases which can prove fatal for humans and pose serious risks to public health, with the young and the old being especially vulnerable, such as:
- psittacosis, a type of pneumonia, which can kill
- candida albicans which can be the cause of skin diseases
- shigella species causes vomiting and diarrhoea
- ornithosis, a flu-like disease borne by birds
- chiamdiosis, a virus similar to influenza
- campylobacter coli, which may cause food poisoning
- pigeon droppings and dead carcasses can contain a variety of mites and insects which can cause allergic reactions in humans
A pigeon's perspective
Although feeding pigeons might appear to be a kind act, it is not. Food such as bread and cake gives them diarrhoea and induces vitamin B and calcium deficiency. Vitamin B deficiency can cause paralysis in pigeons. Pigeons are scavengers and are well equipped to find their own sources of food.
Food supplied by the public leads to the arrival of more pigeons and increased breeding rates. Feral pigeons deprive other birds of food and spread mites and other parasites throughout their ever-increasing number of breeding sites.
Licensed pest control contractors need to be hired to exterminate and control pigeons. The kindest and most economic way of achieving this is to allow pigeons to continue their natural feeding habits by taking away their dependence on food from people.
When food is left out for pigeons it is also left for rats. As with pigeons, the more food rats have access to, the more they will breed. Rats are a major health hazard. They contaminate human food with:
- their droppings
They are the carriers of many diseases eg Weil’s disease and salmonellosis. Rats also cause structural damage. They burrow under the foundations of buildings and damage drains and sewers. They also gnaw through electrical cables which is a fire hazard.
What can you do?
- avoid feeding pigeons and allow them to pursue a natural life of foraging for food
- food litter should never be left on the ground
- ensure that all food waste is contained within enclosed waste bins
- if you wish to feed birds, prepare birdseed and place on bird tables where a variety of species can gain access
- it is sometimes possible to scare pigeons away letting them know that a location is not a suitable nesting site. Placing a piece of string with silver foil attached in the allotted area has worked in some instances
Professional pest controllers may be able to prevent pigeons landing on roofs, balconies and other areas by utilizing many of the products available in pigeon proofing.
Pigeons as a pest guidance leaflet