The feral pigeon is a descendant of the domestic homing pigeon. The ability of this bird to easily adapt to urban environments has meant that their numbers have persisted and in some areas increased to pest proportions.
Feral pigeons have easily adapted to the urban environment, and take up residence almost anywhere, particularly where there is food and shelter.
Pigeons are capable of breeding throughout the year and do not migrate far from their birthplace making them difficult to remove.
Feral pigeons are a common pest and tend to pose more of a nuisance for residents rather than a risk to health.
Problems associated with feral pigeons may include:
- Attraction of bird mites;
- Odour and noise;
- Damage to buildings and monuments due to the highly corrosive nature of pigeon droppings;
- Damage to air-conditioning units and other roof top machinery;
- Hygiene concerns due to an accumulation of pigeon faeces.
Feral pigeons are able to roost on very narrow ledges, beams and roof lines. In the urban environment building facades, roofs, bridges and jetties provide plenty of roosting options and human activity provides a variety of food sources.
In large numbers, however, pigeons do a great deal of damage to buildings due to the acidic nature of their droppings. Feathers, eggs and dead birds also foul the environment and buildings, sometimes blocking gutters which can lead to flooding in rain events.
No single method of control offers the ultimate solution, but rather a combination of methods, with the responsibility having to be shared by Council, industry, businesses and residents will provide the most effective long term results. In order to control pigeons the following needs to be employed:
- The reduction of food sources;
- The reduction of nesting and roosting sites;
- The pigeon proofing of buildings;
- Trapping, where appropriate, to remove small established pigeon populations;
- Management of large numbers - undertaken by a licensed pest controller.
Council take control measures quarterly and partner up with Viterra to cull the pigeons. If the pigeons are on private property, the owners need to contact the pest control company or take the appropriate measures themselves.
Below are some ideas on how to diminish feral pigeon problems on your property:
Removing Food Sources
A plentiful food supply encourages year round breeding; therefore,
- do not feed feral pigeons
- remove the food source (including pet food)
Bird Proofing Your Property
Bird proofing your property will prevent pigeons and other birds from gaining access to potential nesting locations.
This includes sealing gaps into roofing and under eaves with:
- wooden panels
A licensed pest control operator can assist with the installation of bird proofing your property.
Regular removal of nests will discourage pigeons long term from persistantly nesting in a particular area.
It is important that other members of the community also adopt pigeon control techniques, otherwise the pigeons may simply relocate to a neighbouring property and the flock size will not be reduced.
Scare devices can also discourage pigeons from nesting and roosting.
- Visual - reflective and holographic devices, decoy owls and bird scare balloons
- Audible - Refer to the EPA Audible Bird Scaring Devices Guidelines