Pigeons, also known as Rock Doves, as well as a few other non-descript names, have adapted extremely well to urban environments. Pigeons are excellent navigational fliers. They can live, nest, and roost just about anywhere. They will commonly nest and roost on houses or buildings where two different roof lines meet. They also love to nest under air exchange vents on buildings.
Should I be concerned about Pigeons?
Pigeons tend to breed and roost in groups. The biggest problem they cause is the amount of feces (droppings) they produce. The build-up of pigeon feces on buildings and other structures is visually unappealing and is made worse by the fact that pigeon droppings are acidic and erode metal and stonework.
More importantly, pigeon droppings may pose a health hazard to the general public. Pigeons have been associated with a variety of diseases, including histoplasmosis and cryptococcosis.
Histoplasmosis is a disease caused by a fungus that grows in pigeon droppings. The fungus can also be found in bat droppings or in the soil, and is carried by the wind. When removing droppings, people may breathe in some of the fungus. When exposure is high, the fungus can cause infection.
Symptoms of histoplasmosis begin to appear about 10 days after initial infection and can include fatigue, fever, and chest pains. Most infections have no symptoms or appear as a mild respiratory illness. People with weakened immune systems (like cancer patients or people living with HIV/AIDS) are generally more at risk of developing histoplasmosis. The disease cannot be transmitted from person to person.
Cryptococcosis is another fungal disease related to pigeon droppings and grows in soils throughout the world. It is very unlikely that healthy people will become infected even at high levels of exposure. A major risk factor for infection is a compromised immune system.
How can I get rid of pigeons?
Once they’ve established themselves, pigeons are not easy to get rid of. After years of dealing with this challenging bird pest, we have found physical removal is the best method of dealing with pigeons. We are talking about using live traps to remove the birds from the area they are habituating. The next step is to set up physical barriers such as netting or bird spikes. If you try the physical barrier method first, you will find in most cases that an established flock will find a way to nest and roost in a different spot on your home or building. We offer trapping programs, and we can consult with you on the best physical barriers for your unique situation. We also have carpenter ant traps and bird spike available for purchase for the do it yourself.