Do It Yourself Pigeon Deterrents

Defender 8™ Steel Anti-Roosting Spike

Defender 8™ Steel Anti-Roosting Spike

QUICK TIP

Here's a quick DIY pigeon deterrent tip: You must make sure the ledge you protect is 100% covered using bird spikes to stop pigeons roosting behind the spikes. If you have any questions about how many spikes you need to protect an area small or large, contact us . If you have a large area to cover and would like to request a sample please contact us.

Do-it-yourself (DIY) pigeon control

Do-it-yourself (DIY) pigeon control

On this 'Do-It-Yourself' page we hope to show you how to construct your own pigeon deterrents from items lying around your home, garage or from products that can be sourced cheaply from your local DIY store. In some instances we will indicate what other commercially available products are available.

You may read through the entire document or click on one of the following links to jump straight into the relevant section:

Daytime perching problems | Overnight roosting problems | DIY pigeon controls for roofing & guttering | Apex or ridge tiles | TV aerials | Chimney stack | Guttering & hoppers | Dormer windows | Areas below roof level | Soffitts | Exposed external pipework | Windows & windowsills | Sash windows/vertical opening windows | Windows that open outward/inward | Side-hinged windows | Church/historic building windows | Bullseye windows | Balconies | Recessed balconies | Balconies that sit proud of the fascia of the building | Light wells | Garden areas | Bird table | Hanging bird feeder | Area-wide controls | Site-wide controls | Town & city wide controls | What do I do if I find a baby pigeon?

Overview

When faced with a pigeon control problem the first response is usually to investigate the pest control marketplace for an appropriate pigeon deterrent device or pigeon exclusion product only to find that there is a huge volume of commercially available pigeon deterrents available and confusion inevitably sets in. With the advent of the Internet and home shopping this plethora of products is available to us all at the click of a button and yet how do we identify the product that will resolve the pigeon control problem that we are experiencing? Is it possible to install a DIY pigeon deterrent system? There appears to be little or no truly independent and impartial advice available and every manufacturer seems to be making conflicting claims about the effectiveness of their particular pigeon control product. Many of the commercially available pigeon deterrents and services appear to be expensive and there are a considerable number of grey areas, certainly where pigeon control services are concerned.

So where do you start? Do you just take a chance and order a commercial pigeon deterrent over the Internet without really understanding how or why the product is effective? Do you contact a pest control company and ask for advice or a service? Do you ignore the problem and hope it goes away?

The purpose of this page, therefore, is to de-mystify the whole process of dealing with a pigeon-related problem without the need to call in a specialist contractor or, indeed, buy any conventional pest control products. There are methods of deterring pigeons from a property or a site without the need to spend huge sums of money and these controls can be just as effective and aesthetically pleasing as their commercially available counterparts. Defender 4™ Steel Anti-Roosting Spike

Defender 4™ Steel
Anti-Roosting Spike

There will, of course, always be instances where the only option is to install a commercially available product, such as anti-roosting spikes, but there is no reason why the DIY pigeon deterrents cannot be used in conjunction with conventional products.

In order to minimise the need to read and digest information that may not be appropriate to your particular problem this page will be divided into sections that deal with the various areas of a property where you may experience a pigeon-related problem. We would, however, strongly advise that you read all the general information available on this page as this will undoubtedly be helpful when making the final decision about which option, or combination of options, you choose.

Prior to discussing DIY deterrents it is important to understand the nature of the pigeon-related problem that you are experiencing. In order to resolve the problem you must first understand why the birds are there. There are two completely separate problems associated with pigeons; the first type of problem is daytime perching where pigeons are using a building as a vantage point to exploit a food source.Pigeons overlooking a potential food source

Pigeons overlooking a
potential food source

The other problem is overnight roosting/breeding where the birds are using a building for the purposes of roosting and/or breeding. It is unusual for a property owner to experience both daytime perching and overnight roosting problems on the same building.

So how do you go about understanding which of these pigeon-related problems it is that you are experiencing? Over the period of a few days watch the movements of the pigeons and observe if they are active on the property throughout the day or whether they are only there first thing in the morning and then again an hour or two before dusk. If most of the activity is seen during the daytime, particularly on the upper reaches of the building (i.e. roof areas or top-storey windowsills and guttering), and there is no obvious sign of the birds on the property after dusk or during darkness, then it is likely that you are experiencing a daytime perching problem where the birds are using your property as a vantage point to exploit a food source. If, however, there is increased pigeon activity in the late afternoon or early evening and then again at dawn, with only limited pigeon activity during daylight hours, then it is likely that the birds are roosting overnight and/or possibly breeding on your property.

So now you will hopefully have a better idea of why the pigeons are on your property and therefore be in a much better position to choose the correct pigeon deterrent, assuming that it is pigeon deterrents that you need. It is not always the case that deterrents alone will resolve a pigeon-related problem, particularly where overnight roosting and breeding-related issues are concerned or where pigeons are being deliberately fed within sight of a building that is experiencing problems.

OK, so in order to further define your problem let us now look at each of these different issues separately.

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Daytime Perching Problems

If you have done your research and come to the conclusion that you only experience problems with pigeons during the daytime, then we need to further understand why the birds are being attracted to your building. Why do we need to do this? Because if the pigeons are being fed within sight of your building, you need to be aware that if you install pigeon deterrents then pigeons may be displaced and start to use the tiles of the roof for perching.

Pigeon Daytime Perching

Pigeon Daytime
Perching

It is always crucially important to understand that whatever action you do take to deter pigeons it is possible that you may simply move the problem from one area to another. If you have successfully protected windowsills, exposed pipework, guttering and any architectural features that pigeons may be using for perching, the birds may simply move to the roof of the building where they cannot be controlled. Many property owners may feel that they are better off when pigeons are displaced and move to the roof to perch, but there are inevitably problems associated with pigeons perching on roof tiles. The main problem is that gutters, hoppers and downpipes can become blocked with guano and nesting materials. If your building is more than two stories high, access to guttering for the purposes of cleaning can be very expensive. Depending on the scale of the problem it may be necessary to clear gutters every 3 to 6 months or even more regularly where entrenched problems are concerned. However, irrespective of whether the problem may simply move to the roof once all other areas have been protected it is essential to install deterrents to all areas below roof level where pigeons may be able to perch or roost.

In light of the potential to move your pigeon problem from one area to another when installing deterrents it is obvious that understanding and possibly eliminating the source of the problem should, wherever possible, be a part of your control programme. If your building is in a town or city centre location, whether it is commercial or residential, the source of your pigeon-related problem is very likely to be as a result of someone feeding the birds in a public park or even on the pavement within sight of your building. In this case, and particularly if you have identified the person or people who are feeding, a call to your council may be the most productive step in the first instance. If the feeder can be stopped, and if you have adequately protected your property with pigeon deterrents, then you will have the satisfaction of knowing that you have taken every reasonable step to both protect your property and to deal with the source of the problem.

If your building is in an area were there are a number of fast food outlets, waste resulting from this type of commercial operation may be attracting pigeons to your building. Again, a call to the Environmental Health Department of your council may resolve this problem. In any instance where deliberate feeding of pigeons by the public, or commercial waste of any type, is the source of the problem then your local council should be contacted. It may be that your council will respond by saying that they do not provide pigeon control services, but be aware that councils do have a legal obligation to deal with a statutory nuisance or any health and safety-related issue. The council may not provide conventional pigeon deterrent control services, but they do have an obligation to act if an individual or company is causing a nuisance or health risk by feeding pigeons or by allowing waste from their commercial operation to be exploited by pigeons. A health and safety risk can be something as simple as pigeon excrement on the pavement that has the potential to cause a slip hazard.

If your building is in a suburban residential area then the source of the problem is likely to be a neighbour feeding wild birds in their back garden. In many cases this problem can be resolved by speaking directly to your neighbour and explaining to them that they are causing a problem by attracting pigeons to their garden as a result of the food they provide for smaller garden birds. Inevitably, if one householder feeds wild birds in their garden, and if pigeons are attracted by this food, the pigeons will perch on a neighbouring property whilst waiting for the food. It is also quite likely that your neighbour has no idea that they are causing you problems, particularly if they are out at work all day. It is only in extreme and entrenched circumstances that you will need to seek advice and assistance from your council in order resolve an issue of this nature.

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Overnight Roosting and Breeding Problems

Pigeons Overnight Roosting

Pigeons Overnight Roosting

If your problem appears to be as a result of pigeons roosting overnight on your building you will need to take steps to resolve the problem by installing DIY pigeon deterrents, or possibly a combination of DIY deterrents alongside commercially available options.

The first step is to identify where the pigeons are roosting on your property and whether there is evidence to suggest that breeding is taking place. You will then need to identify how many pigeons are roosting on your building or certainly be in a position to estimate numbers. This is because there is always cause and effect when displacing pigeons from existing roosting and breeding areas, with displaced birds urgently seeking alternative roosts. Clearly you do not wish to resolve one problem by denying access to existing roosting areas only to find that you have created another, possibly more sensitive problem in other areas of your building. When installing pigeon deterrents of any nature it is critically important to take a holistic view of the problem rather than simply being reactive and installing deterrents without first considering where the displaced birds may relocate.

The most obvious sign that you have pigeons roosting on the exterior of your building (i.e. windowsills, exposed horizontal pipework, guttering and hoppers, architectural features, dormer windows etc.) is to look for large piles of guano on the ground or on the fascia of the building. When pigeons are roosting on a building overnight, rather than simply perching during the daytime, the volumes of guano will be quite large due to the fact that the bird will have perched in the same spot all night. Also be aware that it is unlikely that pigeons will roost or breed below first floor level due to the fact that they will be vulnerable to attack by humans or predation by cats. Therefore, when finding a pile of pigeon guano on the ground it will be necessary to look up in order to identify the area in which the birds are roosting. Do not assume that the bird is roosting in the area that you find the guano (i.e. on a ground floor windowsill) because it is almost certain that the bird will have been perching above this area, not on it.

The best means of estimating how many pigeons you have roosting on your property, and more importantly where they are roosting, is to survey the building after dark once the birds have returned to their roosts. Walk all the way around the building with a good flashlight and look at the entire property in as much detail as is possible. Pigeons are commonly found on exposed pipework, windowsills and architectural features, but will rarely be found on exposed roof areas or on guttering after dark. This is because pigeons will always look for a roost that provides some degree of protection from the elements, even if it is only the overhang of a gutter or soffit. If the survey of the building confirms that you have a significant number of pigeons roosting on external features then, prior to installing pigeon deterrents, it may be wise to inform your neighbour what action you intend to take as some or all of the displaced pigeons may move to the adjoining building.

Once you have identified the areas where the pigeons are roosting those areas must be protected with deterrents. It is very important, however, to protect all other external areas of the building that offer the potential for roosting or breeding as the birds are likely to move straight to these areas once displaced.

Another area of a property where pigeons can sometimes be found roosting, but which is often overlooked, is either under the roof/gutter overhang of a dormer window or where two different roof levels meet and an overhang is created. When inspecting these areas it will be necessary to do so in daylight as it is unlikely that pigeons will be visible from the ground by torchlight. As the roosting birds are unlikely to be in situ during the daytime other evidence of roosting will have to be found. White staining on the lead flashing around a dormer window is normally conclusive evidence that pigeons have been roosting overnight. Likewise, white staining on the roof tiles in an area where two roof levels meet confirms that pigeons have been roosting in these areas.

Once you have completed a visual survey of the exterior of the building you must then inspect any internal areas that pigeons may have accessed for the purposes of roosting and/or breeding. If the property is derelict or unoccupied then all windows and doors must first be inspected to ensure that there are no access points, such as broken windowpanes. Once it has been established that the property is secure and that pigeons cannot enter the interior of the building via doors or windows then the attic or roof void must be inspected. The roof void of any building is a favoured roosting and breeding area for pigeons due to the fact that it is normally dry, protected from the elements and free from any type of predation. Pigeons can access a roof void (or any other void) via an extremely small hole or through a partially slipped tile, so your inspection needs to be thorough.

Although an inspection of the roof void is better undertaken at night to establish how many pigeons are in situ, it is also possible to inspect this area during the day, although there may be fewer pigeons in evidence. It is also possible that there will be zero pigeons in evidence during the day if no breeding is taking place at the time of the survey. Bear in mind that feral pigeons breed all year round and therefore nests with baby birds may be present at any time, winter or summer. In midwinter, and in areas where the climate is harsh in winter, the incidence of breeding will be reduced, but it is always possible to find a nest containing pigeon squabs (pigeon chicks). If it is possible to make an inspection of the roof void both during the day and after dark this will provide the most comprehensive view of the extent of the problem.

When first inspecting the roof void you should enter (taking with you a powerful flashlight) and close the attic access hatch behind you so that you are in complete darkness. Without switching on the flashlight look around the roof void, taking a 360° view, and look for any signs of daylight. If any of the holes through which the daylight can be seen appears to be big enough to allow an adult pigeon to enter (and remember that pigeons can squeeze through a very small hole) this may well be where pigeons are entering the void. You must then carry out an exhaustive inspection of the roof void to identify if there are any nests with squabs in situ. Do not, at this stage, simply block the access holes or you may trap live birds in the roof void which is a) breaking the law and b) may potentially cause an even greater problem than the pigeons being there in the first place! This is because if birds are trapped and die in the void due to their entrance/exit point being blocked, within a matter of days the carcasses will become maggot infested and then you have a serious health and safety problem on your hands. Not only will the roof void be filled with flies but the smell, particularly in summer, will be extremely strong. So always undertake a survey, identify the problem and then, if you are unsure what to do, seek expert advice from an organization such as the Pigeon Control Advisory Service International.

So how do I identify pigeon nests and what do their chicks look like? Pigeon squab 3 days

Pigeon squab 3 days

First of all, pigeons will almost always nest on the floor of a roof void rather than building a nest on one of the rafters or joists, so the first thing you need to do is to be extremely careful where you are walking! The term nest can only be used loosely when describing where a pigeon lays its eggs. Pigeon squab and egg

Pigeon squab
and egg

Pigeons will rarely build anything other than a very basic nest comprised of a few twigs at best or, in many cases, just a hollow in the fibreglass insulation material found between the rafters in most roof voids.

Pigeon squabs (chicks) are tiny when first born and look little or nothing like a bird! Pigeon squab 8 days

Pigeon squabs 8 days

They are whitish grey in colour, have wispy yellow hair (unformed feathers) and blend in very well with their surroundings so they are easy to miss, particularly when found in roof voids and other dark and little used areas of a building. So take care when inspecting the roof void and make sure that you undertake a detailed inspection of every area to ensure that you have identified all the nests, assuming that there are nests.

There may also be a number of juvenile pigeons in the roof void which look almost identical to an adult, but will very probably only be able to flutter rather than fly. This is because they will not have left the roof void where they were born and so will have not yet taken their maiden flight. Pigeons do not leave their nesting site until they are fully grown and they are difficult, if not impossible, to tell apart from an adult. Whether the squabs are very tiny or at the juvenile stage they will need to be removed by hand and handed over to a responsible wildlife centre, wildlife hospital or bird rehabilitator. The birds will need to be removed manually due to the fact that they will be unable to fly. A detailed list of wildlife rehabilitators can be found on the following website at: http://www.veggies.org.uk/acd/europe/uk/rescue/rescue.htm. Alternatively, contact the Pigeon Control Advisory Service International for advice and assistance.

It is an offence to interfere with a nest or its contents and therefore, before taking any action to remove a nest, with or without eggs or chicks, permission must be sought from the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).

When removing dependent birds it is critically important to understand that any works required to exclude adult birds must be undertaken as soon as the squabs or juveniles have been removed from the roof void. Whilst you are active within the roof void adult pigeons will normally stay away, but as soon as activity ceases the adults will return. Therefore, as soon as the last adult bird has been excluded from the roof void all the access holes must be closed immediately. Repair hole or block with wire meshPigeons will re-lay eggs as soon as their nest/eggs/young have been removed, so failure to undertake exclusion works promptly will result in birds simply re-entering the space and starting to breed once again.

Do not, under any circumstances, remove the nest and squabs and put them outside the property in the hope that the parent will feed them – the parent will not continue to feed their young and the squabs will almost certainly die of starvation and/or hypothermia/dehydration.

It should also be noted that if nests are found with eggs in situ it is unlikely that any wildlife centre or similar rehabilitation body will be prepared to hatch them. If the centre that you have contacted confirms that they are not prepared to hatch eggs they should simply be destroyed along with nesting material.

It is also important to mention that if you are about to inspect any internal area, particularly if there are a considerable number of pigeons in situ, it would be wise to wear a paper face mask. This is because well-dried pigeon excrement, when disturbed and inhaled, can cause minor irritation to the bronchial passages. There is no health risk as such, just take sensible precautions, as you would when in any environment where there are wild birds or animals. Although much is made of the potential for pigeons to pass on diseases to humans, it is almost unheard of for this to happen. Every species of bird, including domesticated birds, has the potential to carry and pass on diseases to other birds and humans, but the realistic chance of this happening to anyone that is installing deterrents on their property is virtually zero. For more information on cleaning products and protective clothing please read the Cleaning and Sanitising product/service review.

Once you have thoroughly surveyed the roof void and removed any squabs that may be in situ you are ready to exclude the adult birds and then block all access/exit points. It is important to coordinate the removal of squabs and adult birds with any works that may be required to stop pigeons re-entering the roof void. Once the squabs have been removed most of the adult birds should fly out of the roof void as soon as a human enters the area, but this is not always the case, particularly if the void has been used by pigeons for a number of years. It will be necessary to ensure that every adult pigeon is removed prior to blocking access/exit points. Some birds may be reluctant to go, particularly adult birds that have dependent young. In an effort to hide from the danger adult birds may try to conceal themselves on either side of the roof void where the A-frame meets the joists. Once hidden in these areas it is virtually impossible to identify them. It will be necessary, therefore, to access all of these hard-to-reach areas to ensure that all adult birds have been identified and excluded. It may be helpful to have a net of some description on hand to help catch birds and a landing net, used for fishing, is something that can be found in many households. Removing live pigeons from a roof void should not be attempted single-handed and the task will be made much easier if 2 or 3 people are on hand to help. As soon as the last bird has been successfully removed block all access/exit points immediately.

OK, so we have discussed how to identify a pigeon-related problem and also how to differentiate between the various problems that you might be experiencing. Hopefully, you are now in a position to install pigeon deterrents or to take necessary exclusion action prior to the installation of deterrents.

Although many of the DIY devices for excluding pigeons, as with conventional products, can be used in the same way on any type of property, there are instances when you may need to provide a different DIY solution dependent on your property type. To an extent, the location of your building is also an issue, but less so than property type. Period properties, in the Victorian/Edwardian styles, can offer extensive perching and roosting opportunities for pigeons due, in the main, to their architectural features. Decorative features on the exterior of period properties as well as multiple roof lines, degradable soffits (made from timber) and wide windowsills all offer the pigeon optimum perching or roosting opportunities. Modern properties tend to have fewer external features that are attractive to pigeons and therefore problems tend to be less common.

When protecting period properties it is important, at the outset, to confirm whether the property is a listed property and graded as such. In the UK there is a system of grading buildings that are of historical or architectural significance, which, depending on the grade in question, can place comprehensive restrictions on the property owner in relation to what can be done to the property. This would include the provision of pigeon deterrents. Therefore, prior to undertaking any works it is important to confirm whether the property is listed, and if it is speak to the appropriate body (in the UK this would be the Listed Buildings Officer at the local council) to seek advice about what can and cannot be done.

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Do-it-yourself Pigeon Deterrents for Roof and Guttering

There are very few do-it-yourself pigeon deterrents available to stop pigeons perching on a roof, although nylon bird netting may be offered as a commercial option. There are a number of drawbacks in relation to using nylon bird netting to protect a roof area and before even considering this product we strongly recommend that you read the nylon bird netting product review. There are also several different commercially available roof-specific anti-perching products and many of these are covered in our product review section including anti-roosting spikes, gutter spikes, chimney spikes, ridge spikes and chimney cowls.

Even though the roof tiles themselves cannot be protected, the ridge tiles on the apex of the roof, the chimney stack and the guttering can all be protected without the need to resort to commercially available products. Having said this, it is sometimes the case that commercially available products are the best option and therefore a mix of do-it-yourself pigeon controls and commercial products may be the answer.

Apex or Ridge Tiles

Accessing a roof can be dangerous and not always possible without the use of specialist equipment and therefore we would only recommend this option on a conventional two-storey house and once health and safety issues have been addressed.

This installation involves the suspension of a line or wire from one end of the roof to the other (along the apex) with the line or wire suspended immediately above the ridge tiles. If the property has a chimney breast at either end of the roof the installation process will be considerably easier, but the installation is still possible if no chimneys are present on the property.

Illustration 1: Installation of DIY Anti-Perching Device on Ridge Tiles

Illustration 1: Installation of DIY Anti-Perching Device on Ridge Tiles

Materials and tools required:

  • A drill
  • A length of fishing line (approx. 50lbs breaking strain) or stainless steel wire
  • Two small springs (more if intermediate brackets are required)
  • Rawlplugs and two screw hooks (more if intermediate brackets are required)
  • Material and tools to install/construct a bracket if required

The screw hooks will be installed into the face of the chimney breast at either end of the apex of the roof by drilling two holes into the mortar joint of the breast, inserting a Rawlplug and then screwing the hook into it. The hooks should be installed approximately 3.5 inches above the height of the ridge tiles. Attach a spring to both the screw hooks and then attach the fishing line or steel wire to the springs. Pull the line/wire as taught as possible without stretching the springs too much and this completes the installation.

The principle of this system is that when a pigeon attempts to land on the ridge tiles its feet will first touch the line or wire, which will move up and down; the pigeon will then feel unsafe and abort its landing. If the length of the roof is greater than average it will probably be necessary to install a support midway along the line of ridge tiles in order to provide extra support for the line or wire and to stop the line resting on the ridge tiles. The integrity of this system is based on the tension of the wire, so ensure that the line or wire is as taught as possible. It is possible to install more than one line/wire if the ridge tiles are wide. The principle of providing extra wires is the same as when providing one single wire. If the roof in question has only one chimney breast, or none at all, then a vertical bracket may need to be provided at either end of the apex of the roof (or at both ends) from which the line/wire will be attached.

Commercially available options:

The industry standard method of protecting ridge tiles is to use anti-roosting spikes. If the DIY option appears to be beyond your capability you may wish to install anti-roosting spikes as an alternative. This product is widely available and probably the most cost-effective commercially available option. Always be careful to source anti-roosting spikes from a well-known manufacturer to ensure a high-quality product.

Another commercially available option that may be recommended to protect ridge tiles is a spring-wire or post and wire system. The principle of this system is identical to the DIY option described above but using vertical posts that are either drilled and glued into the ridge tiles or stuck onto the ridge tiles with sticky pads. This product hasDefender Ridge Spikes™

Defender Ridge Spikes™

a very short lifespan (dependent on the quality of installation) and can be extremely expensive to have installed. The system will not offer any more protection than the DIY option. The most common cause of this system degrading and becoming ineffective is when the vertical posts collapse inwards due, more often than not, to poor installation.

The most effective and cost-effective commercially available option is the ridge spike, pictured above. This option is inexpensive to buy and can be installed by the property owner without the need to resort to instructing a specialist contractor.

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TV Aerial

One of the most common problems is how to protect TV aerials to avoid soiling to patios, conservatories, block-paved drives, doorsteps, decking, etc., where soiling problems can, in some cases, be extreme. TV aerials offer wild birds an ideal perching facility, particularly when overlooking domestic gardens, and are often used as a vantage point to exploit food from bird tables in neighbouring gardens. Large piles of guano can build up rapidly, with slippage problems on wet excrement being extremely common - many parents with young children often have concerns when their children are playing in the garden unsupervised.

Defender TV Aerial Pack

Defender TV Aerial Pack

There are few DIY pigeon deterrents available for protecting a TV aerial and therefore the only real option is to use a commercially available product, the anti-roosting spike. The Defender TV Aerial Pack™ is simple and easy to fit and providing that safe access equipment is available the product can be installed in minutes as a DIY installation using one or more of the installation options provided within the kit: aerial clips, silicone and cable ties. The bird spikes provided within the kit are the Defender™ Plastic bird spikes, which will not interfere with TV reception. Once installed this simple and easy to install product looks neat and will be 100% effective.

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Chimney Stack

Accessing a roof can be dangerous and not always possible without the use of specialist equipment and therefore we would only recommend this option on a conventional two-storey house and once health and safety issues have been addressed.

It is common to find that pigeons, or more commonly seagulls, have chosen your chimney stack to build a nest and therefore there may be a need to protect the stack itself. The only really effective DIY method of achieving total protection is to mesh the entire chimney stack using a fine galvanized steel mesh. This product is normally available from stores selling bird-related equipment or DIY/hardware stores. The gauge of galvanised steel mesh we would recommend is used to build aviaries and is commonly known as aviary mesh.

Materials and tools required:

  • Several metres of hot-dipped galvanized steel (square) mesh 1”x 0.5”x19 gauge (ensure that you purchase the square mesh and not an octagonal mesh such as chicken wire, which is a much inferior product and much more difficult to install)
  • Some electrical cable ties (or ‘C’ clips and ‘C’ clip pliers)
  • Wire snips
  • A length of baton and a saw (optional)
  • Tube of silicone

An alternative to electrical cable ties would be to use ‘C’ clips but this method would involve purchasing a pair of ‘C’ clip pliers. Both products are inexpensive but not always easy to find, although stores selling bird-related equipment will normally keep them in stock. A pair of ‘C’ clip pliers and 0.5 kilo of ‘C’ clips should cost no more than £10-£15.

First you must access the chimney stack to ensure that there are no nests with chicks in situ. If you find any dependent birds in nests these must be first taken to a wildlife hospital or bird rehabilitator before taking further action. A list of wildlife rehabilitators can be found at: http://www.veggies.org.uk/acd/europe/uk/rescue/rescue.htm.

It is an offence to interfere with a nest or its contents and therefore, before taking any action to remove a nest, with or without eggs or chicks, permission must be sought from the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).

When removing dependent birds it is critically important to understand that the works required to exclude the birds must be undertaken as soon as the birds have been removed, in this case from the chimney stack. Pigeons and gulls will re-lay eggs as soon as their nest/eggs/young have been removed, so to ensure that the problem does not re-manifest itself arrange to start exclusion/repair works as soon as the dependent birds have been removed.

The other option is to monitor the nest and when the chicks have fledged installation works can then be undertaken.

Once any nests have been removed the chimney stack itself must be measured. Measure the base of the stack itself, as the wire mesh box will sit on the top of the stack rising to above chimney pot height. Also measure the height of the stack from the base of the stack to the top of the highest chimney pot. You will then have the necessary dimensions with which you can build the wire mesh box.

To build the wire mesh box 4 panels of mesh will need to be cut to create the basic box shape. This can be done with light gauge wire snips. Once you have cut the 4 panels of mesh to size they must be joined together to form a rectangle. This can be achieved by either using electrical cable ties or by using ‘C’ clips along with a pair of ‘C’ clip pliers. The ‘C’ clip is placed in the jaws of the pliers and then two sections of mesh are offered up to each other and the ‘C’ clip will join the two sections together by fully depressing the pliers. Alternatively, and we would normally recommend this method unless you own a pair of ‘C’ clip pliers, simply attach the 4 panels of mesh together using appropriately coloured electrical cable ties.

Illustration 1: Protecting Chimney Stack with DIY Mesh Installation

Illustration 1: Protecting Chimney Stack with DIY Mesh Installation

Now it is necessary to form a ‘lid’ to your mesh box. If the mesh box has a flat lid both pigeons and gulls will be able to continue to perch on it, therefore the lid of the box must be formed into a point or triangle. Four further pieces of mesh must be cut to size and joined together using either ‘C’ clips or electrical cable ties to form a triangle or pyramid shape. This triangle must then be attached to the rectangle either using ‘C’ clips or electrical cable ties.

To provide a good flat surface so that the wire mesh box can be more easily affixed to the chimney stack it may be wise to consider attaching a baton to the base of the box. This can be achieved by bending one half-inch strip of wire mesh at the base of the mesh box until it is at a right angle to the vertical wall of the box itself. The wire mesh is then stapled to the baton on all 4 sides of the base of the box allowing it to be more easily fixed to the chimney stack. The wire mesh box can then be simply placed over the entire chimney stack using a few blobs of silicone to hold it in place, or, alternatively, the box can be affixed to the stack by drilling and screwing it in place. This completes the installation.

Commercially available options:

Defender Chimney Pot Spikes™ and Defender Gull Spikes™ Installed on Chimney Stack

Defender Chimney Pot Spikes™
and Defender Gull Spikes™
Installed on Chimney Stack

The industry standard method of protecting a chimney stack would be to use anti-roosting spikes if the problem is with pigeons, or a combination of gull-specific anti-roosting spikes and gull guard products if the problem is gulls. These products, pictured below, are 100% effective and can be installed by the property owner without the need to instruct a specialist contractor.

Guttering and Hoppers

Accessing a roof can be dangerous and not always possible without the use of specialist equipment and therefore we would only recommend this option on a conventional two-storey house and once health and safety issues have been addressed.

Pigeons and other birds will often perch in guttering and, in some cases, build nests, causing very considerable problems for property owners. Guttering can become very easily blocked with a combination of debris from nesting material and guano, resulting in the gutter overflowing and causing water ingress problems for the property owner. If pigeons perch on the leading edge of a gutter quite extreme soiling issues can be experienced on both windowsills and on pathway/patio areas directly below.

There is a DIY pigeon deterrent solution to this problem that will not only protect your guttering from pigeons but also prevent the build up of natural debris such as leaves and twigs, thereby making it a good option whether or not you have pigeons on your property! The principle of this installation is to install a semi-circle (or rough triangle) of galvanized steel mesh inside the gutter that will make it difficult or impossible for pigeons to perch and nest. It will, however, continue to allow water to pass along the gutter unrestricted.Illustration 1: DIY Mesh Installation to Protect Gutter

Illustration 1: DIY Mesh Installation to Protect Gutter

Materials and tools required:

  • A length of hot-dipped galvanized steel (square) mesh 1” x 0.5” x 19 gauge (ensure that you purchase the square mesh and not an octagonal mesh such as chicken wire, which is a much inferior product and much more difficult to install)
  • Some electrical cable ties (or ‘C’clips and ‘C’ clip pliers)
  • Wire snips

First you must access the guttering and hoppers to ensure that there are no nests with chicks in situ. If you find any dependent birds in nests these must be first taken to a wildlife hospital or bird rehabilitator before taking further action. A list of wildlife rehabilitators can be found at: http://www.veggies.org.uk/acd/europe/uk/rescue/rescue.htm.

It is an offence to interfere with a nest or its contents and therefore, before taking any action to remove a nest, with or without eggs or chicks, permission must be sought from the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).

When removing dependent birds it is critically important to understand that the works required to exclude the birds must be undertaken as soon as any nests or chicks have been removed, in this case from the guttering or hoppers. Pigeons and gulls will re-lay eggs as soon as their nest/eggs/young have been removed, so to ensure that the problem does not re-manifest itself arrange to start exclusion/repair works as soon as the dependent birds have been removed.

The other option is to monitor the nest and when the chicks have fledged then start installation works.

First you will need to measure the length of the gutter, which can be done by pacing out the relevant wall of the house at ground level. This will provide a rough measurement. You will then need to cut two pieces of galvanized steel mesh the length of the piece of guttering you wish to protect. The width of these pieces will be dictated by the overall size and width of your gutter. On some period buildings guttering can be extremely wide and in other cases there will be a square lead-lined gutter. In each case this method will be effective and the principle of installation is the same as for a conventional modern gutter.

You will need to cut the pieces of galvanized steel mesh so that one side of each strip is left with sharp edges. Once the two strips have been cut to size they should be offered up to each other so that the sharp edges cross over each other. The two pieces should then be attached to each other by using small electrical cable ties every 3 inches or by using ‘C’clips. These tasks can be carried out on the ground. The two pieces of mesh should then be bent into a semi-circular or triangular shape, which will roughly mirror the size and shape of the gutter. The mesh strips are then installed into the gutter so that the sharp edges of the mesh face upwards (the sharp edges are created when the mesh is cut to size). The purpose of leaving sharp edges is to prevent pigeons landing and perching on the mesh. The sharp ends of the mesh are there simply as a pigeon deterrent, not in an effort to harm or hurt a bird. Pigeons are highly intelligent birds and have extraordinary eyesight and therefore will not attempt to land on a surface where there is the potential to be harmed.

DIY Mesh Installation to Protect Hopper

DIY Mesh Installation
to Protect Hopper

Another area of your rainwater goods that may need to be protected from pigeons is the ‘hopper’, a V-shaped plastic or cast-iron funnel that connects your horizontal gutter to the vertical downpipe. Pigeons will use hoppers for both roosting and for nesting. It is common to find a pigeon nest built inside a hopper, particularly on period properties that have large cast-iron hoppers.

The principle of protecting a hopper is the same as with a gutter. In the case of a hopper a triangular 4-sided box of galvanised steel mesh is made up using either electrical cable ties or ‘C’ clips to join the 4 sections together. The box is then inserted into the hopper with the sharp edges facing upwards. This will stop pigeons nesting or roosting on or in the hopper and will also stop debris such as leaves and twigs entering it.

Commercially available options:

Defender Gutter Spikes™ with Defender Attaching Clips™

Defender Gutter Spikes™ with
Defender Attaching Clips™

The industry standard method of protecting guttering and hoppers is to use anti-roosting spikes. The Defender™ Gutter Spike is the best option to protect guttering and hoppers of all types with an almost instant installation, courtesy of the integral attaching clip which clips the whole assembly to the outer lip of a gutter or hopper in seconds. The Defender™ Gutter Spike is the only spike assembly available on the market that protects the whole of the gutter including the leading edge and the gutter itself.

The most commonly used gutter spike is a single vertical spike that attaches to the leading edge of the gutter, but which does not stop pigeons from nesting within the gutter. This vertical spike itself is not only ineffective, but the method of fixing (clamping) is often insubstantial and these spikes can easily become dislodged.

Defender Gutter Spikes™

Defender Gutter Spikes™

The final option is to use a pigeon deterrent post and wire system to protect guttering. This system, like the vertical spike, only protects the leading edge of the gutter and not the gutter itself. Not only this, but the vertical posts (Link to ‘Post and wire systems’ product review) of the post and wire system are only clamped in place and as soon as a large bird lands on the steel wire the vertical posts will collapse inwards rendering the system useless.

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Dormer Windows

Accessing a roof can be dangerous and not always possible without the use of specialist equipment and therefore we would only recommend this option on a conventional two-storey house and once health and safety issues have been addressed.

Common Roosting Area on Dormer Window

Common Roosting Area
on Dormer Window

Another common roosting area on the roof of a property is under the roof and/or gutter overhang of a dormer window in the ‘V’ that is created where the roof of the dormer window meets the main roof of the property. This area is an ideal roosting environment for pigeons as it will provide protection from the elements at the same time as being at roof height and therefore free from most forms of predation. Due to the angle of the slope of the roof these areas are rarely ever used for nesting.

Pigeons that use these areas for roosting do so only because they are protected from the elements under the overhang of the roof of the dormer window and therefore by protecting this localized area pigeons will no longer have protection when roosting and will disperse. Pigeons will rarely if ever perch on the exposed tiles of a roof where they are vulnerable to extreme weather conditions as well as predation.

There are a number of pigeon deterrents that can be used for protecting this area of the roof but the simplest is to create a slope down either side wall of the dormer itself upon which pigeons cannot perch. DIY Slope Installation on Dormer Window

DIY Slope Installation
on Dormer Window

It is these areas directly beneath the overhang/guttering of the dormer that are the most favoured roosting areas for pigeons. The slope can be constructed from any material but the smoother and more frictionless it is the more effective it will be. A piece of UPVC is ideal as it is light, easy to install and even if provided at a relatively passive angle a pigeon will be unable to perch upon it. Many dormer windows are constructed from UPVC and therefore this material will blend in. UPVC off-cuts can be sourced, normally free of charge, from a company that manufactures UPVC windows. If a material such as plywood is used it will be necessary to provide it at a steeper angle to ensure that the slope is steep enough so that pigeons cannot perch upon it.

Materials and tools required:

  • An offcut of UPVC or plywood or any other similar material
  • A tube of silicone
  • A saw or hacksaw

To install a slope it will be necessary to measure the distance from the lowest point to the highest point of the recess. Cut two pieces of UPVC or plywood (one for either side of the dormer) to length ensuring that the depth of the material chosen will, once offered up to the sidewall of the dormer at a 45 degree angle (or more), protect the whole of the area beneath the soffit or gutter. Once the two pieces of plywood or UPVC have been cut to size they can be glued in place by running a bead of silicone directly on to both the tiles of the roof (or lead flashing) and side wall of the dormer itself. The slope is then installed at the required angle. Pigeons will be unable to continue to perch in the protected area below the soffit or gutter and disperse. It is extremely important to ensure that pigeons cannot access the triangular ‘tunnel’ created by the slope and the sidewall of the dormer so both ends of the span must be blocked off.

Commercially available options:

Defender 8™ Steel Spikes

Defender 8™ Steel Spikes

The industry standard option for protecting potential roosting areas beneath the overhang of soffit or gutter on a dormer window is to use anti-roosting spikes, pictured below. Anti-roosting spikes can be attached to the roof tiles (or lead flashing) on either side of the dormer window with silicone gel and the installation will be 100% effective.

The other method of protecting a dormer window, and the method favoured by many pest control contractors, is to use nylon bird netting. Before even considering this option please read the nylon bird netting review in the product review section.

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Areas Below Roof Level

Accessing areas at height can be dangerous and not always possible without the use of specialist equipment and therefore we would only recommend the use of a ladder on a conventional two-storey house and only once a health and safety risk assessment has been undertaken. Where accessing and carrying out work to a soffit we would strongly recommend that a suitable platform, such as a scaffold tower or static scaffold, be used.

We have looked at all the do-it-yourself pigeon deterrent options for protecting the roof and guttering, so now we will concentrate on the remainder of the building from the guttering down to ground level. A vast majority of problems associated with pigeons roosting or perching on a building will be confined to upper floors. It is rare to find pigeons perching or roosting at ground floor or basement levels. The only exception to this might be car parking areas below ground, light wells or secluded basement areas where human activity is at a minimum.

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Soffits

It is common to find pigeons accessing soffits on older properties where the soffit has started to degrade and rot, allowing pigeons to enter the interior of the box section for the purpose of overnight roosting and breeding. In most cases older properties will have wooden soffits, unlike their modern counterparts that will almost certainly be fitted with UPVC soffits. It is rare to experience problems with modern UPVC soffits but pigeon-related problems in rotten wooden soffits on period properties are quite common. As pigeons are quickly drawn to period properties due to their potential for roosting and perching opportunities it is always advisable to inspect the soffits if you suspect that there is pigeon activity on your building.

Where pigeons are using a soffit they will be doing so purely for the purpose of overnight roosting and breeding and therefore it is likely that there will be pigeon squabs (chicks) in situ, irrespective of the time of year. Always remember that pigeons breed all year round and therefore there will never be a safe time to exclude pigeons when there will be no squabs in situ. So the first job is to access the soffit and confirm whether pigeons have accessed the box section. To access the soffit you will require a ladder fit for the purpose, assuming that the property is a standard two-storey dwelling, or, if the property has more than two floors, a cherry picker (mechanical lift) or a scaffold platform. A moveable scaffold tower or static scaffold is always preferable to working from a ladder. A ladder should only be used for the purposes of an inspection rather than undertaking any works that may be required.

When inspecting the soffit you will need to look for any holes in the wood that are large enough to allow a pigeon access. Always be aware that a pigeon can squeeze through a hole that appears to be much smaller than its body. The favoured entry/exit points tend to be at either end of the soffit, normally as a result of the fact that the end panels are usually the first part of a soffit to rot away.

Illustration 1: Degraded Wooden Soffit

Illustration 1: Degraded Wooden Soffit

Many soffits on period properties are sectioned with regular internal supports that drastically limit vision through them and therefore it is highly unlikely that you will be able to confirm whether there are any nests within the soffit just by looking down from either end. The internal sections will block your view. If you even suspect that there are pigeons roosting or breeding within the soffits, subsequent to a visual external inspection, it will be necessary to remove some side wall panels to carry out a closer and more exhaustive inspection. If the soffit has degraded to the extent that pigeons have accessed the box section it is likely that it will have to be replaced anyway, so removing sections for the purposes of carrying out an inspection is not the end of the world.

If pigeons are found within the soffit, and if the soffit is reparable, then you will need to remove all live pigeons, including adults, juveniles and squabs (chicks), and then make the appropriate repairs. If any flightless dependent birds are found within the soffit they must be taken to a wildlife hospital or a bird rehabilitator. A list of wildlife rehabilitators can be found at: http://www.veggies.org.uk/acd/europe/uk/rescue/rescue.htm.

It is an offence to interfere with a nest or its contents and therefore, before taking any action to remove a nest, with or without eggs or chicks, permission must be sought from the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).

When removing dependent birds it is critically important to understand that the works required to exclude the birds must be undertaken as soon as the birds have been removed from the soffit. Pigeons will re-lay eggs as soon as their nest/eggs/young have been removed, so to ensure that the problem does not immediately re-manifest itself arrange to start exclusion/repair works immediately that the dependent birds have been removed.

Once you are certain that all the birds have been removed from the soffit, repair works can be undertaken. Ensure that repair work is of a high standard using good solid wood to replace rotten wood. Alternatively, replace with UPVC units. If pigeons have been roosting in your soffit for years rather than months they will be desperate to re-enter it once repairs have been undertaken so it must be stressed that all repairs must be 100% with no potential entry points. Please also be aware that the birds that have been excluded from the soffit are almost certain to adopt another area of the property for the purpose of roosting and breeding, certainly until such a time as they can identify alternative and more permanent roosts. You will therefore need to be responsive if the pigeons move to windowsills or exposed horizontal pipework on your property. If you are lucky the birds may simply start roosting on a neighbouring property, but they are just as likely to start roosting in even more problematic and sensitive areas on your own property. It may, therefore, be wise to continue to read through this section to get some ideas about how you can protect these other areas with DIY pigeon deterrents.

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Exposed External Pipework

Another commonly used area of a property to find pigeons roosting overnight is on exposed pipework. Most sizes of pipes will be used by pigeons for the purpose of roosting and in some cases, dependent on the size and type of pipe, also for nesting. Of course, we are talking about horizontal pipework in most cases, but be aware that pigeons can and sometimes do perch on angled pipework, such as a dog-leg on a downpipe. Pigeons will happily perch on a large soil pipe just as readily as a small overflow pipe that is protruding only a few inches from the wall of the house. The main avian criteria for a good roosting site is that the area concerned (in this case pipework) has some degree of protection from the elements, but this may just be a soffit and/or guttering immediately overhead.

Most types of exposed pipework can be protected by using DIY pigeon deterrents, but as with the installation of any type of deterrent, either DIY or commercially available, be aware that the excluded pigeons may move to another, more sensitive area of the property. So be aware of the implications of protecting your pipework before you start work and consider reading through the remainder of this section for advice on further DIY options should pigeons move to another area of your property once excluded.

Most types of external pipework are installed close to the wall of a building, normally at a distance of approximately 1 to 2” (2.5-5.0 cm) and will normally be either horizontal or vertical. It is, of course, the horizontal pipework that will need to be protected, although any spans of pipe that are provided at a passive angle may also need to be protected. Any pipework provided at an angle of 45 degrees or more need not be protected.

The most straightforward DIY method of stopping pigeons perching on horizontal pipework is to install a thin piece of plywood, or any other similar material, above and sloping down over the pipe at such an angle that pigeons will be unable to continue to perch on the pipe. The installation will be a permanent fix once installed and may actually improve the aesthetics of your property by merit of hiding ugly pipework.

Materials and tools required:

  • A drill and/or a hammer
  • A length of baton (corresponding to the meterage of pipe to be protected)
  • Screws and Rawlplugs and/or nails
  • Screwdriver and/or hammer
  • A saw
  • Thin plywood or similar material
  • Electrical cable ties
  • Gloss paint (optional)
  • Anti-roosting spikes and silicone (overflow pipe only)

Measure the length of horizontal pipework to be protected and then cut a corresponding length of baton. Attach the baton to the wall of the building immediately above the pipe to be protected by screwing into mortar joints. The height that the baton should be installed above the pipe will be determined by the width of the pipe itself and the space between the pipe and the wall of the building. The principle is to attach the plywood (or other material) to the baton by screwing or nailing in place so that the plywood spans down from the baton over the pipe itself (and resting on the pipe) at an angle upon which a pigeon cannot perch.

Illustration 1: DIY Slope to Protect Pipework

Illustration 1: DIY Slope to Protect Pipework

A 45° angle will normally suffice, but the angle at which the plywood (or other material) will need to be offered will, to an extent, be dictated by how rough or smooth the material is. If using a very smooth material, such as UPVC or alloy, the break angle will not need to be as acute. If using plywood, or any material that has a relatively rough surface, it is advisable to first paint the wood in an appropriately coloured gloss paint, which will render the wood considerably more slippery and therefore more effective. Another benefit of painting the plywood is to help blend the slope in with the aesthetics of the building concerned. For a red brick-built property a terracotta paint would be used. You should be aware that you can use any material to protect the pipework, including alloy, UPVC etc., but the smoother the material the better.

Once the plywood (or other material) has been attached to the baton and laid over the pipe this should not only ensure that pigeons are unable to continue to perch, but may also potentially hide a span of ugly external pipework. It is important to mention that when providing a slope on a wider pipe, or a pipe that has been installed some inches away from the wall, the ‘V’ that is created by plywood and wall should also be blocked off with a triangular piece of wood or mesh. This is because if the gap is large enough pigeons will enter the V-shaped space for the purposes of breeding, creating a far worse problem than the original roosting problem.

Where a dog-leg section of pipe is concerned the same method can be used to stop perching/roosting, but be aware that the only section of pipe that needs to be protected is the sloping section, not the vertical section.

Another DIY pigeon deterrent option to stop perching on exposed pipework would be to provide a system or wires suspended about 3-4" above the pipe, upon which a pigeon cannot perch. This method is discussed in more detail within the roof and guttering sections. When a pigeon tries to land on a pipe protected with this system its feet will first touch the wire suspended above the pipe and as the wire moves up and down on contact the pigeon feels unsafe and will abort its landing, thereby resolving the problem.

Materials and tools required:

  • A length of fishing line or steel wire
  • Some electrical cable ties
  • Several small springs
  • Materials necessary to construct a crude bracket (if required)

We will assume that at each end of a span of horizontal pipework there will be a vertical section of pipe (downpipe) into which the horizontal section feeds – where this type of configuration is concerned installation is a quick and easy process. Simply install an electrical cable tie around the downpipe at either end of the horizontal span, some 3-4” above the top of the horizontal pipe, and to this attach a small steel spring (easily available at hardware stores and inexpensive). Tie the fishing line or steel wire to each spring and pull very tight – not tight enough, however, to stretch the spring, but tight enough to ensure that the line is highly tensioned. If the span of horizontal pipe is longer than average a central supporting bracket may be required. A central bracket/support will be required if the weight of a pigeon landing on the centre of the span forces the wire to lay flat on the pipe.

Illustration 2: DIY Wire System to Protect Pipework

Illustration 2: DIY Wire System to Protect Pipework

Much exposed pipework provided on the side wall or gable end of a property will be in an ‘H’ shape, but it is possible to find single isolated spans of horizontal pipework that do not butt up to a vertical span of downpipe, but simply disappear into the wall of the property. In these cases, or where there is only a downpipe at one end of the horizontal span, a basic bracket will need to be constructed to which one end of the wire or line will be attached.

Finally, there is one type of pipe that is virtually impossible to protect using DIY pigeon deterrent methods – an overflow pipe. There will be at least one on every building and they are often used by pigeons for the purpose of roosting. The only means of protecting a small diameter pipe of this nature is to install anti-roosting spikes. This product can be DIY installed and should be sourced via a reputable company on the Internet. To install this product a bead of silicone should be provided on the top of the pipe into which the base of the anti-roosting spike is pressed and then one or more electrical cable ties should be tied around both the base of the spike and the pipe itself. This method of protecting an overflow pipe will be 100% effective and is a quick and easy installation. The alternative is to source the Defender Pipe Spike™ which comes ready fitted with integral self-locking ties that do not require silicone and can be fitted in seconds.

Commercially available options:

The industry standard method of protecting exposed pipework is to use anti-roosting spikes. A good quality spike should be sourced from a reputable company on the Internet and the product can then be DIY installed as described above. The Defender Pipe Spike™ Defender Pipe Spikes™

Defender Pipe Spikes™

is the simplest to install as it comes ready fitted with integral fixings for an almost instant installation. Some pest control contractors may recommend a post and wire system for protecting pipework. This system is not only expensive but it is prone to collapse due to the fact that the upright posts are normally glued to the very small contact surface area on the top of the pipe and as soon as a pigeon lands in the centre of the span the vertical posts supporting the system will collapse inward.

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Windows and Windowsills

Windowsills are commonly used by pigeons for the purpose of overnight roosting and in some cases will also be used as a vantage point to exploit a food source during the day. Perching and roosting issues on windowsills can often cause both noise-related and soiling problems for property owners and yet these problems are relatively easy to resolve either with industry standard products such as conventional anti-roosting spikes (pictured below) or by using DIY alternatives.

Defender Opening Window Spikes™

Defender Opening
Window Spikes™

Although anti-roosting spikes are considered to be the industry standard method of protecting windowsills, many specialist contractors will recommend a post and wire system. These systems are not only expensive but are also prone to failure as a result of wires breaking or due to poor installation. In many cases, where the wires are installed at the incorrect height, pigeons will perch and even nest beneath, behind or beside the wires – this is common.

It is, of course, the windowsill where a pigeon will perch or roost and not on the window frame itself, although on feature windows in churches and period properties the transom, or stone cross member that forms part of the window frame itself, can be used by pigeons for perching or overnight roosting. We will cover the protection of church windows and similar feature windows under a separate heading.

It is also possible that pigeons will build a nest on a windowsill based on the fact that the window recess, together with the soffit/guttering above, will offer both adults and squabs (chicks) protection from the elements. Pigeons will also sometimes enter buildings through an open window in summer when looking for a breeding site and it is not uncommon to find that pigeons have actually built a nest inside a building in a room that is little used. It is therefore clear that windowsills must be protected comprehensively to ensure that neither perching nor roosting/breeding take place, as well as denying physical access to the building itself through open windows. If a windowsill is protected it is highly unlikely that a pigeon will fly straight into an open window – in 99.9% of cases a pigeon will first land on a windowsill and from there walk in through the open window. Therefore, protecting the windowsill with a suitable pigeon deterrent will almost certainly stop pigeons entering an occupied building. Pigeons will, of course, be quite happy to fly in through an open window in a derelict or unoccupied building.

As there are so many different window types, most of which require different products or solutions, we will discuss each window type separately.

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Sash Windows/Vertical Opening Windows

Most period properties will have been fitted with sash windows and even if the windows have been replaced over the years most property owners will choose a like for like replacement window rather than fitting a modern UPVC window. Most sash windows are constructed from wood and will either be painted or varnished, but sash windows can also be sourced in UPVC. Sash windows always open up and down rather than inwards/outwards. If your property is fitted with sash windows it is likely that the property will be a period property and, as a result, is likely to have large and wide windowsills, a common feature on this type of property. This type of windowsill offers open opportunities for perching, roosting andem> breeding.

Materials and tools required:

  • A length of fishing line or steel wire
  • A drill
  • Several screw hooks and Rawlplugs
  • Several small springs

The principle of this installation is the same as a commercially available product called a post and wire system. Thin steel wires (or fishing line) are installed approximately 3” above the windowsill, spanning the windowsill from side to side and fixed to the side wall of the window recess. When a pigeon attempts to land on the windowsill its feet will touch the wire, the wire will then move making the pigeon feel unsafe and the bird will abort the landing. This is a very simple but effective control option.

Wires should be provided at intervals of no more than 2” and the whole of the windowsill should be protected, from the leading edge right back to the base of the window frame itself. This is because if you only install a pigeon deterrent wire on the leading edge of the sill, to stop a pigeon soiling the fascia of the building for example, the bird will simply move behind the wire and perch at the rear of the sill. It is common for pigeons to build a nest at the rear of a sill when the leading edge has already been protected with a single wire.

Illustration 1: DIY Suspended Wire System

Illustration 1: DIY Suspended Wire System

Fixings should be located in the mortar course between bricks by drilling a hole, installing a Rawlplug and then screwing in a hook. Alternatively, a small length of baton can be screwed into the mortar joint and the hooks can then be screwed into the baton. The baton can be painted to blend in with the brick or stonework. The latter option would be preferable if the windowsills are very deep and several wires will be required to protect the full depth of the windowsill. The fixings should be provided at a height of approximately 3” above the sill, at the height that the wire should be provided.

Once the screw hooks have been installed a small spring should be hooked onto each one. The fishing line or steel wire should then be attached to the other end of each spring and pulled as tight as possible without stretching the springs. Each span of wire or line should be able to take the full weight of a pigeon landing in the centre of the span without the wire or line touching the sill, therefore tension is critically important. If, once provided, the wire does ground on the sill when a bird lands upon it, it will then be necessary to raise the height of the screw hook or to further tension the line or wire. It is extremely important to remember, however, that if the line or wire is too high pigeons will simply walk underneath it. Many commercially available systems fail to be effective for this very reason.

If the horizontal base of the (wooden/UPVC) window frame itself is wide, as is often the case on period properties, it may be worth considering protecting this area with another wire as it is not uncommon for a pigeon to perch or roost on the base of the frame once the sill has been fully protected. This is particularly the case if the pigeon/s has been using the sill for overnight roosting for some considerable time or has previously bred on the windowsill.

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Windows That Open Outward/Inward

Many modern properties will be fitted with windows that open inward/outward and which are constructed from either UPVC, alloy or wood. Assuming that the gap between the base of the window (when open) and the sill is greater than 3” then the provision of wires spanning the sill from one side to another, as described for sash windows, will be the most effective DIY option (link to ‘sash windows’). If, however, the clearance between the base of the window when open and the sill is less than 3” then another option will need to be considered.

Specialised anti-roosting spikes are really the only option, over and above the system previously described, for protecting windowsills where the windows open inwards/outwards and where the gap between the base of the window and the sill is less than 3”, irrespective of how wide or narrow the sill is. Of course, anti-roosting spikes are a commercial product, but the good news is that they are simple to install and a DIY installation is always possible, even for someone with only very basic DIY skills.

Materials and tools required:

  • A length of anti-roosting spikes the width of the window frame concerned
  • A tube of silicone
  • Several screws and/or nails (optional)
  • Hammer/screwdriver (optional)

Anti-roosting spikes stand higher, once installed on a flat surface, than the wire-based system previously described so it will not be possible to install the spikes directly onto the sill as they will interfere with the window opening and closing. The anti-roosting spikes will therefore need to be installed directly onto the base of the frame of the window itself horizontally. Please note that the anti-roosting spikes will need to be glued/attached to the base of the wooden/UPVC/alloy frame of the individual window, not the window frame. This will ensure that when the window is closed the anti-roosting spikes will protect the windowsill and prevent pigeons landing on the sill.

Although a conventional anti-roosting spike can be fixed to the base of a window, so that when it opens outwards the spike moves with the window, there is an innovative new product from the Defender™ range that provides a simple and quick alternative. The concept is very simple indeed and the product is extremely easy and quick to install onto the base of the window frame. Other than where the window is located at height, installation should only take a few minutes and can be undertaken as a DIY pigeon deterrent installation without the need to instruct a specialist contractor. Defender Opening Window Spikes™ come as a ready-to-install assembly complete with self-tapping screws, which are installed into the base of the window frame, thereby fixing the assembly in place. The arm of the assembly then protrudes horizontally from the base of the window frame, sitting at the ideal height above the windowsill to stop perching or roosting taking place. The spikes themselves are located at the end of the arm positioned so that the pins are vertical, thus stopping a bird from landing on the sill when the window is closed. The window can, however, be opened and the whole assembly opens with the window. The spike base is provided with snap-off grooves every inch, which can simply be snapped off by hand, in order to tailor the assembly to suit the size of the window concerned. A spare clip is even provided in case the assembly has to be snapped off into more than one section! When installing onto PVC windows it is advisable to use a small blob of Defender Fixing Silicone™ to ensure that there are no water ingress problems.

This method of protection will mean that the windowsill is unprotected when the window is open, but if the sill is being used by pigeons for the purpose of overnight roosting only, the installation will be 100% effective.

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Side-Hinged Windows

This is often seen as being the most conventional of all window types but with UPVC becoming so popular and often using centrally-hinged or top/bottom-hinged windows that open in and out the side-hinged window is becoming rarer. Whether you have a single side-hinged window or a double, installation is the same. Assuming that the gap between the base of the window (when open) and the sill is greater than 3” then the provision of wires spanning the sill from one side to another, as described for sash windows, will be the most effective DIY pigeon deterrent option. If, however, the clearance between the base of the window when open and the sill is less than 3” then another option will need to be considered.

Over and above the wire system for protecting the sill the only other DIY option for side-hinged windows is the same as with windows that open inward or outward – anti-roosting spikes. Installation with the Defender Opening Window Spikes™ is described in the previous section.

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Church/Historic Building Windows

Many churches and other buildings with similar architectural features are now being converted to residential and commercial usage and, as a result, residents and tenants are having to find ways of controlling pigeon populations that have historically used this building type for the purpose of overnight roosting and breeding. Churches and pre 20th-century buildings are commonly used by pigeons due to the extensive roosting and breeding opportunities afforded them by the complex architectural features. Not only this, but churchyards are regularly used by people wishing to feed pigeons and therefore it is not only possible to experience entrenched overnight roosting problems but also daytime perching issues where the birds are exploiting a food source.

Windowsills on this type of building are often very large and wide, offering excellent roosting and breeding opportunities, but the window frames themselves can also offer the potential for overnight roosting. These are the most difficult type of buildings to protect from roosting and perching-related problems, particularly due to the fact that many are listed buildings where the owner is restricted as to what can be done to them – this includes the provision of pigeon deterrents. In most cases any remedial works undertaken to deter pigeons will be considered to be a change to the appearance of the exterior of the building and therefore may potentially compromise its listed status. It therefore may be wise to contact your local council prior to undertaking any bird control works to confirm that the proposed works are allowed within the terms and conditions of grade concerned.

Although pigeons will often be found roosting in a variety of locations on this type of building, it is most common to find them using windows or windowsills for the purpose of overnight roosting. This is because window recesses on period properties, particularly churches, are often very deep affording a roosting pigeon excellent protection from the elements. Although this type of sill can be large and wide they often slope down at quite an acute angle, thereby rendering them impossible or certainly unattractive for a pigeon to roost upon. Where the sills are flat, and assuming that the requisite permissions have been sought, a system of wires suspended above the sill will be the most effective pigeon deterrent. This method is discussed in detail in the ‘sash windows’ section.

In this type of building many of the windows will be ornate and not designed to open. Those that do open will normally have more than enough clearance over the sill in order to provide any type of pigeon deterrent, irrespective of height or other considerations. Therefore, if the DIY deterrents discussed earlier in this section are not appropriate, and this may be the case, then a commercially available product such as anti-roosting spikes would be ideal and can be installed by the property owner as a DIY installation.

The window frames themselves on this type of building will often be arched and made from either stone or possibly iron. Stone frames can offer optimum roosting opportunities for pigeons on the cross members (or transoms) and it is these areas that are most commonly used by pigeons for the purpose of overnight roosting. The cross members are normally quite wide and can accommodate a number of pigeons when roosting overnight. In a vast majority of cases the cross members upon which pigeons will roost are found close to the top of arched windows and therefore it may only be necessary to protect the upper reaches of the window rather than the whole of the frame. There is a simple and 100% effective DIY pigeon deterrent method of protecting these areas with galvanized (square section) wire mesh.

Materials and tools required:

  • A length of hot-dipped galvanized steel (square) mesh 1”x 0.5”x19 gauge (ensure that you purchase the square mesh and not an octagonal mesh such as chicken wire, which is a much inferior product and much more difficult to install)
  • A length of baton
  • A tube of silicone
  • A drill
  • Some screws and Rawlplugs
  • Screwdriver
  • A saw
  • Staple gun
  • Some small electrical cable ties
  • ‘C’ clips and ‘C’ clip pliers

The principle of this installation is to cover the cross member upon which pigeons are roosting with galvanized wire mesh. This can be done in two different ways. Due to the fact that this gauge of wire mesh is so light it can normally be installed and supported solely with several blobs of silicone gel. This is clearly the most straightforward method of installation, but there is another option to make the installation more solid and permanent. This involves providing a baton framework to the window upon which the wire mesh is attached.

Illustration 1: DIY Mesh Installation

Illustration 1: DIY Mesh Installation

In both cases the mesh should be cut to size so that the arch-shaped piece of mesh can be adhered to the flat fascia of the window frame.If the window is particularly large it may not be possible to cut the mesh panel from one single roll of mesh and therefore two separate pieces will need to be cut and joined in the centre. This can be done either with several small electrical cable ties or, ideally, with ‘C’ clips for a neater job.

Once the mesh has been cut to size a decision must be made about whether the panel will be glued in place with silicone or whether a baton frame is to be used with the mesh stapled directly to the frame. If the panel is to be glued in place then all that will be necessary to do is to provide several blobs of silicone around the flat fascia of the window frame at regular intervals and then push the mesh into the silicone. Of course, it is important to clean the fascia first to ensure the silicone has a good clean surface to bind to. This completes the installation.

If a baton framework is to be used then the baton will have to be cut to form a frame that will fit comfortably onto the flat fascia of the window frame. The baton frame should then be offered up to the window frame and installed by drilling into the mortar joints and inserting a Rawlplug and screw. The frame should only require 3 or 4 screws to complete the installation as the frame will be supporting little weight. Once the baton is in situ, and it has been treated with a preservative or painted, the mesh can be stapled directly onto the baton. This completes the installation.

Commercially available options:

A combination of DIY options, as described above, alongside products such as anti-roosting spikes will provide the most cost-effective and the most comprehensive protection.

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Bullseye Windows

These windows are normally only found on historic buildings such as town or city halls. They are circular and almost exclusively found just below the roof level. Pigeons commonly use the base of this type of circular window to roost overnight. Due to the fact that the window is round it is highly unlikely that more than one or two pigeons will be able to roost on each window. Soiling from overnight roosting can be considerable, however, even where just one pigeon is concerned and therefore it is always wise to exclude pigeons wherever possible. Illustration 1: Protecting Bullseye Window with Defender™ Anti-Roosting Spikes

Illustration 1: Protecting Bullseye Window
with Defender™ Anti-Roosting Spikes

Although there is one DIY pigeon deterrent method of protecting these windows, which we will discuss below, there is no doubt that one small strip of anti-roosting spikes is by far and away the easiest and most cost effective option. The use of anti-roosting spikes would still constitute a DIY solution as they can be installed simply and easily by the property owner. The spikes would be glued in place by using a bead of silicone and will be 100% effective.

The other option involves meshing the entire window with galvanized wire mesh held in place with silicone.

Materials and tools required:

  • A length of hot-dipped galvanized steel (square) mesh 1”x 0.5”x19 gauge (ensure that you purchase the square mesh and not an octagonal mesh such as chicken wire, which is a much inferior product and much more difficult to install)
  • A tube of silicone
  • Wire snips

To undertake this installation a piece of wire mesh should be cut out and formed into a circle using wire snips. You will need to cut a mesh circle that is approx. 2” larger than the circumference of the window recess and then bend the 2” overlap back so that it is at right angles to the remainder of the circle. The circle of mesh is then offered up to the window recess with the wire mesh overlap facing into the recess – the overlap will lie flat against the internal wall of the recess. Simply push the nozzle of the silicone gun through the wire mesh and place several large blobs of silicone inside the recess and directly onto the mesh overlap which will be lying flat against the window recess. The silicone will adhere the wire mesh overlap to the interior of the recess, thereby avoiding compromising the aesthetics of the window. The installation is complete.

Commercially available options:

Defender 4™ Anti-Roosting Spikes

Defender 4™ Anti-Roosting Spikes

The industry standard method of protecting windows and windowsills is to use anti-roosting spikes. This product is considered to be 100% effective where this application is concerned.

There are other commercial pigeon deterrent products available, which include the post and wire system. These systems can be provided as a DIY installation by the property owner concerned but installation is complex and expensive. Commercially installed systems often degrade and become ineffective very rapidly, in the main due to poor installation. Post and wire systems will also need to be installed by drilling into the stonework and this may be prohibited if the building has a listed status or is of historical significance.

Balconies

One of the most common problems facing those living in apartments with balconies is the potential for pigeons to roost and breed on the balcony itself. Pigeons are normally attracted to balconies due to the fact that they offer excellent overnight roosting and breeding opportunities. A balcony on a low or high-rise block mimics a cliff face, which was the original habitat of the pigeon. In the case of a balcony, however, there is far greater potential for roosting and breeding than on a narrow ledge on a cliff face.

It is unusual to find more than one pair of pigeons roosting on a single balcony and therefore the problem is unlikely to become entrenched, as it might do in other roosting and breeding environments. Although pigeons are not particularly territorial they seem to prefer one balcony per pair - this may be due to the fact that in most cases apartment blocks will have one balcony per unit resulting in multiple options for those birds looking for a breeding site.

Once a pigeon has gained access to a balcony it is extremely likely that the next step will be to build a nest and start breeding, this normally being the main purpose for choosing a balcony in the first place. Pigeons will usually build a nest on the floor of a balcony unless there are plant pots or other infrastructure in situ where a nest can be sited off the ground. Pigeons are partial to building nests in plant pots and indeed anything else that may lend itself for the purpose. Otherwise, if they build a nest on the floor of the balcony it is highly likely that they will choose a secluded area or a corner. It is also extremely common to find a pair of pigeons attempting to build a nest in a hanging basket or even on a shelf provided at height. If a pair of pigeons is not actively breeding then they may just roost on a satellite dish, hanging basket bracket or anything similar provided at height within the balcony recess. If you do not have a pre-existing problem with pigeons on your balcony, but see that occupiers of adjacent units are experiencing problems, the best preventative measure is to remove as much infrastructure from the balcony as possible. The less infrastructure on a balcony the less private and protected a pigeon will feel.

Where balconies have been provided on high-rise apartment blocks they are usually built in one vertical section with the roof of one balcony being the floor of the balcony above. This is normally the case whether the balconies are recessed or sit proud of the fascia of the building. A pigeon will rarely fly directly onto the floor of a balcony without first landing on either the balcony rail, the floor of the balcony (beneath the balcony safety panel) or on another balcony or windowsill. This is because the bird first has to confirm that the balcony is safe. A pigeon will not normally enter a balcony, even if it has a nest with young in situ, if there is a human presence. The bird will first land in a safe area, commonly known as a ‘staging post’, to survey the balcony, confirm it is safe and then enter the balcony. The only exception to this rule is if the occupant of the apartment has fed or actively encouraged pigeons into the balcony area or if the apartment has been unoccupied for some time. It therefore follows that if the staging post/s can be protected to prevent pigeons gaining access then it is unlikely that the birds will attempt to access the balcony itself for the purpose of roosting or breeding. Clearly, physical prevention such as netting or meshing the entire balcony will be 100% effective in relation to excluding pigeons altogether, but most apartment owners are reluctant to compromise the view from their balcony with net or mesh.

All balconies will have a balcony rail and protective safety panel that are, in most countries, a legal requirement. The safety panel or railing will normally be constructed from either glass, concrete, wrought iron or steel. In the case of wrought iron or steel it is unlikely that the safety panel will be solid, thereby giving free and easy access to pigeons through the ironwork or steelwork. The safety panel on most types of balcony will leave a gap just above the balcony floor allowing pigeons to land on the lip of the balcony floor and walk into the balcony itself. The only exception to this rule would be where the balcony is made from cast concrete – in this case the floor and walls of the balcony would be integral, leaving no gap for pigeons to enter the balcony recess at floor level. As all balconies will have a handrail, or in the case of concrete balconies the top of the outside wall, pigeons will use the handrail or the top of the wall as a staging post, just as they do with the gap between the floor and the base of the safety panel.

Although there are many different designs and types of balcony, we will look at the two most common designs. Balconies that are flush with the fascia of the building (i.e. recessed balconies) and balconies that sit proud of the fascia of the building. In both cases these balconies can be protected using DIY pigeon deterrent methods.

Before starting work to exclude pigeons from your balcony always carry out an exhaustive search of the balcony itself and all the infrastructure within it to confirm that there are no nests in situ. If pigeons are actually breeding on your balcony and have either eggs and/or young you will then need to either wait until the squabs (chicks) have fledged before starting work or take the squabs to a rehabilitation centre so that they can be hand-reared. A list of wildlife rehabilitators can be found at: http://www.veggies.org.uk/acd/europe/uk/rescue/rescue.htm.

It is an offence to interfere with a nest or its contents and therefore, before taking any action to remove a nest, with or without eggs or chicks, permission must be sought from the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).

Recessed balconies

Of all the balcony types this is the easiest to protect, whether conventional pigeon deterrent products are used or whether DIY options are considered. Having said this, and irrespective of whether the balcony is recessed or sits proud of the fascia of the building, if balconies to either side or above/below your balcony remain unprotected, pigeon-related activity is likely to continue irrespective of what action you take.

As the pigeon will normally feel the need to access a staging post prior to entering the balcony itself, the first thing you will need to do is to protect all the potential landing points. As previously discussed, these will be either the handrail or the floor of the balcony below the safety panel. The handrail can very simply be protected by installing a line or wire that sits several inches above it. The line or wire will be attached to the wall at either end of the balcony recess and run from one side of the balcony to the other, just above the handrail. As soon as the feet of the pigeon touch the wire, which will move up and down, they will feel unsafe and abort the landing. The space below the safety panel can simply be blocked with wire mesh or a solid material such as plywood.

Materials and tools required:

  • A drill
  • Two Rawlplugs and 2 screw hooks
  • A length of fishing line or stainless steel wire
  • Two small springs
  • A piece of plywood or similar

To install this DIY pigeon deterrent option first drill two holes into the side wall of the balcony recess approximately 3.5” - 4.0” above the handrail. Push a Rawlplug into each hole and then install the two screw hooks. Hang one small spring from each screw hook and then tie off the fishing line or stainless steel wire to the other end of the spring. Pull the wire or line as tight as possible without stretching the spring. If the width of the balcony is greater than average it might be necessary to install a central support in the span of wire or line. When a pigeon attempts to land on the rail its feet will first touch the wire, making the bird feel unsafe and the bird will abort its landing.

Illustration 1: DIY Suspended Wire System to Protect Balcony Rail

Illustration 1: DIY Suspended Wire System to Protect Balcony Rail

Once the wire or line has been installed over the handrail then you must deny access to the area beneath the safety panel so that pigeons cannot land on the lip of the balcony floor and walk under the safety panel. The most effective method of denying access is simply to block the entire space with a single span of plywood or any other material you may have to hand. This completes the installation.

The only other option for protecting a recessed balcony is to net the entire frontage of the balcony with either a fine galvanized stainless wire mesh or with nylon bird netting. This method will be 100% effective in respect of excluding pigeons but may compromise the view from the balcony and could make the occupant of the apartment feel as if they are living in a cage. If this installation is considered to be an option then it must be made clear that nylon netting of the type that can be purchased from a garden centre or DIY store is not suitable. This net is too thin and may result in birds flying into it and becoming hung-up and trapped in the net. This type of netting will also degrade extremely rapidly resulting in it being completely ineffective. Good quality netting should be purchased (ideally anti-litter netting) and the gauge of netting should be 50mm square or 2.5” x 2.5”, certainly to deter pigeons. If you are experiencing problems with other species of birds then you may need a smaller/larger gauge of netting. If using wire mesh instead of nylon bird netting a hot-dipped galvanized steel (square) mesh 1”x 0.5”x19 gauge should be chosen (ensure that you purchase the square mesh and not an octagonal mesh such as chicken wire, which is a much inferior product and much more difficult to install). If using nylon bird netting we strongly recommend that you read the Nylon Bird Netting product review before even considering this option.

Materials and tools required:

  • A length of nylon anti-litter netting or hot-dipped galvanized steel (square) mesh 1”x 0.5”x19 gauge (ensure that you purchase the square mesh and not an octagonal mesh such as chicken wire, which is a much inferior product and much more difficult to install)
  • A length of baton
  • A drill
  • Several Rawlplugs and screws
  • A screwdriver
  • A staple gun or tacks

To install this DIY option simply install the baton around the periphery of the balcony recess, drilled and screwed in place. Then staple or tack the nylon bird net or wire mesh to the baton. If using nylon bird netting the net must be stretched as tight as possible during the process of installation so that it is not baggy or sagging. The benefit of this installation is that the entire net/mesh assembly is reversible and can be removed and replaced if required.

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Balconies That Sit Proud of the Fascia of the Building

This type of balcony is much more difficult to pigeon-proof based on the fact that the balcony will have 3 sides rather than just a frontage (as with a recessed balcony). The same criteria applies, i.e. that staging posts will need to be protected, but anyone looking to net or mesh their balcony will find that this type of balcony is considerably more problematic to protect. The other problem associated with this type of balcony, certainly compared to recessed balconies, is that there will be many more staging posts available to pigeons on windowsills and particularly on the balconies of other units adjacent. This is because a balcony that sits proud will offer far more panoramic views, not only of other balconies, but also of the entire fascia of the building. This allows a pigeon to be considerably more responsive to danger.

The type of DIY system described for recessed balconies (wire or line suspended above the handrail) is a possible option for this balcony type but it will be considerably more difficult to provide based on the fact that the balcony has three external sides rather than just one. In most cases this system would be too complex to provide as a DIY option. The same applies to netting or meshing this type of balcony. It can be netted or meshed but it will be a complex installation. If wire mesh is used it will need to be made up and provided in panels (one for the front and one each for either side) and if nylon bird netting is used a steel retaining wire will need to be provided around the periphery of the recess, to which the netting would be hooked.

A far simpler method of protecting a balcony of this type would be to use pigeon deterrent anti-roosting spikes. This product can be installed as a DIY installation by the occupier and should only take a matter of minutes once the appropriate anti-roosting spikes have been sourced. A high quality anti-roosting spike should always be used and, ideally, sourced from the Internet. An alternative to a conventional anti-roosting spike would be to install a pipe spike. The benefit of a pipe spike, particularly the Defender Pipe Spike™, is that it comes ready fitted with all the fixings required to install the product in seconds.

Materials and tools required:

  • A length of anti-roosting spikes
  • A tube of silicone and a silicone gun
  • A quantity of electrical cable ties
  • A length of plywood or similar

The basis of this pigeon deterrent DIY installation is exactly the same principle as with protecting a recessed balcony, i.e. protecting all the staging posts and other areas where the birds may potentially land. To protect the balcony handrail simply run a bead of silicone along the top of the rail and then press the strip of anti-roosting spikes into the silicone. Then wrap an electrical cable tie around the base of the anti-roosting spike and the handrail itself and pull tight. Continue all the way around the handrail. For each metre of anti-roosting spikes approximately 6 electrical cable ties should be used. Alternatively, the Defender Pipe Spike™) comes ready installed with self-locking ties which allow for a quick installation without the need to use silicone. If young children are resident in the apartment and concerns are raised in respect of safety, an alternative to anti-roosting spikes is a product called ‘barrier coil’. This product is simple and quick to install, as with anti-roosting spikes), but the product is considerably more expensive than anti-roosting spikes. The product is simply a coiled wire stainless steel wire that is stretched out along the surface to be protected and which will prevent pigeon from landing.

The area between the safety panel and the floor of the balcony will also need to be protected to stop pigeons landing on the floor of the balcony and walking in. This can either be achieved by using anti-roosting spikes glued to the floor of the balcony with silicone gel or by blocking the gap with a piece of plywood or any other material you have to hand.

Commercially available options:

The industry standard method of protecting a balcony is to install pigeon deterrent nylon bird netting to physically prevent pigeons entering the recess. If using nylon bird netting we strongly recommend that you read the Nylon Bird Netting product review before even considering this option.

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Light Wells

Light wells are normally associated with period properties as a means of achieving extra light to interior rooms of a large building. They are, however, once again becoming popular in newly designed buildings and particularly where cutting edge architecture is concerned.

Pigeons are attracted to light wells because they offer seclusion in areas where there is little or no human access. Pigeons use light wells almost exclusively for the purpose of overnight roosting and breeding. Pigeons will breed and roost in several areas within a light well: on windowsills that look into the well, exposed pipework provided within the well and also on the floor of the well, although pigeons will normally only nest on the floor, not roost.

All the pipework can be easily protected using DIY pigeon deterrent options and these installations are described in the exposed external pipework section of this document. All windows and windowsills can be easily protected using DIY options and these installations are described in the windows and windowsills section of this document.

The only area that may be more difficult to deter pigeons from using is the floor area of the light well. If, however, a row of anti-roosting spikes is installed around the periphery of the floor area, and particularly in the 4 corners of the well, this should deter pigeons from attempting to build a nest. This is because pigeons like to have their backs to the wall (or be in a corner) when breeding at ground level and would be reluctant to build a nest in the middle of an exposed light well floor area. In reality, most light wells are relatively small in size and therefore it may be possible to install anti-roosting spikes across the entire floor area thereby rendering the floor impossible to nest upon. Simply clean the floor area very well, allow to dry thoroughly and then glue the anti-roosting spikes directly to the floor, assuming that it is hard standing, or, if the floor is earth or gravel, the spikes can be attached directly to strips of baton which are then laid onto the ground achieving the same effect.

Prior to undertaking any of these works you must ensure that there are no nests with squabs (chicks) in situ. If you find any dependent birds in nests these must be first taken to a wildlife hospital or bird rehabilitator before taking further action. Alternatively, you can wait until any squabs have fledged, but be aware that pigeons breed all year round and therefore an opportunity may not present itself for some considerable time. A list of wildlife rehabilitators can be found at: http://www.veggies.org.uk/acd/europe/uk/rescue/rescue.htm.

It is an offence to interfere with a nest or its contents and therefore, before taking any action to remove a nest, with or without eggs or chicks, permission must be sought from the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).

Commercially available options:

The industry standard method of protecting a light well is normally to net the entire well just below roof height with nylon bird netting. This can be an expensive operation and the cost will be dependent on the height and design of the building concerned. Nylon bird netting degrades rapidly when provided in this way (horizontally) and of course if it rips, or if the net comes away from the retaining wire to which it is attached, birds will enter the netted area and then will not be able to find a way to get back out. This is a very common problem and one which can cause really extreme and expensive problems for the property owner. Not only this but there can be serious legal implications for anyone found to have trapped birds and caused suffering as a result. Bear in mind that the most expensive aspect of providing nylon netting at height is access, particularly if it is a light well that is being netted. This is because a light well will normally be located in the centre of a large building and therefore access is sometimes impossible and always problematic. The cost of access can often cost more than the operation to install the netting. Also, in many cases, period buildings that have light wells will also have complex roof lines, making the fitting of nylon bird netting far more difficult and expensive.

Defender 8™ Steel Anti-Roosting Spikes on Plywood Board

Defender 8™ Steel Anti-Roosting
Spikes on Plywood Board

The most effective commercially available product for protecting light wells and the infrastructure within them is anti-roosting spikes. This product is cheap and easy to install and the installation can be carried out by the property owner rather than having to instruct a specialist contractor.

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Garden Areas

Many pigeon-related problems start in the garden, either as a result of the property owner themselves feeding wild birds or their neighbours doing the same thing. This is an extremely common catalyst for a range of bird-related problems. We are all encouraged to feed wild bird populations, particularly in the winter months when natural food levels are low, and as well as the small garden birds we sometimes attract pigeons and doves.

Pigeons are certainly not a problem in relation to scaring smaller birds away as they are one of the most passive species of wild bird, but pigeons will perch on buildings whilst waiting for food to be provided and this can cause soiling problems for property owners. Interestingly, it is common for pigeons to roost on the property either side of the garden in which the food is being provided and this can, in some cases, cause friction between neighbours. In more extreme cases this friction can develop into minor wars between neighbours and these can continue for years before a resolution is found. It is therefore always wise to be extremely aware of what species you are attracting by providing food and whether the birds that do visit your garden are causing problems for your neighbours. Also be aware that controlling pigeons once they have established a feeding pattern can be difficult if not impossible, particularly where the problem has become entrenched.

Once feral pigeons have identified your garden as a daily feeding site their numbers will grow daily and it is not unusual to have between 100 and 200 birds visiting a domestic garden each day if the food supply is not restricted. In the case of most other species of wild bird you can determine which species are attracted to your garden by the type of food that you offer, but pigeons will exploit just about any food type. Once pigeons have established a feeding pattern and broker your garden into their daily feeding rounds they may even start to look at your property, and indeed those of your neighbours, as a possible roosting and breeding site. This is when the problems become entrenched with neighbours demanding that you stop pigeons feeding in your garden. Pigeons are never more comfortable than when they are roosting and breeding on a residential property and particularly one that offers both bed and breakfast!

Once you have become aware that pigeons are exploiting food provided for smaller birds you should stop all feeding immediately. This cessation of feeding need not continue indefinitely but it is critical to stop feeding before the problem becomes entrenched. After 4-6 weeks you can start to feed again, but if pigeons start to arrive again each day you must stop feeding immediately and give it a little longer. Pigeons will eventually give up, but if you have a long-standing and entrenched problem prior to withdrawing the food then it is likely that the birds will hang around for weeks or even months in some cases. There is little or nothing you can do to resolve this problem other than installing some of the DIY pigeon deterrent devices discussed on this page. Controlling pigeon numbers once a daily feeding pattern has been established is not only difficult but also can be highly distressing for both the property owner concerned and for their neighbours.

If you do not wish to stop feeding altogether, but need to stop pigeons exploiting the food that you do provide, then you will need to feed exclusively on a bird table or via hanging bird feeders as both facilities can be protected from pigeons. The principle of this DIY method of protecting your bird table or hanging bird feeder is to physically prevent pigeons getting near the food whilst at the same time continuing to allow small birds to access the food. If you normally just throw bird food on the ground in your garden then you must stop doing this and start to use a bird table or hanging bird feeder exclusively.

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Bird Table

Most bird tables are fashioned from the same basic design of a flat base with a lip all the way around it to stop the food rolling off and a roof above to protect the food when it rains. This type of bird table is relatively easy and cheap to protect using the following method.

Materials and tools required:

  • A length of hot-dipped galvanized steel (square) mesh 1”x 0.5”x19 gauge (ensure that you purchase the square mesh and not an octagonal mesh such as chicken wire, which is a much inferior product and much more difficult to install)
  • A pair of wire snips
  • A staple gun
  • Some electrical cable ties
  • A saw
  • One or two hinges and screws
  • Two clothes pegs

The first step is to cut 4 pieces of galvanized wire mesh that will cover, completely, the 4 sides of the bird table. Staple these in place to the upright posts that form the supports for the roof. You will then need to cut several holes in the mesh no bigger than the size of the largest bird you want to feed on your table. These holes must clearly be smaller than a hole through which a pigeon could squeeze (approx. 2-3 inches square). Below each of these holes you should provide a small perch so that a small bird can first land on the perch prior to entering the meshed table area through the hole. These perches can be fashioned from a small branch of a tree or shrub. You must also ensure that the lip around the edge of the bird table itself is high enough so that food does not spill onto the ground below because, if it does, pigeons will simply wait under the table for scraps to fall off.

You will then need to make a larger, hinged access point that you will use when you are placing food on the table. This can either be achieved by cutting and hinging a door into the roof of the bird table or by providing a hinged access point on one of the 4 meshed panel sides. To hinge a door in the roof, which is by far and away the easiest method, simply cut a hole in the roof large enough to allow you to place the food on the table and then install a hinge on the piece of wood you have cut out, hinging it back in place.

Illustration 1: Bird Table Protected with Mesh

Illustration 1: Bird Table
Protected with Mesh

Alternatively, if you choose to make an access point in one of the mesh walls then you will need to cut a hole out of one of the mesh panels that is large enough to push the food through onto the table. You will then need to cut another piece of mesh, approximately 1.0” larger than the hole you have made and then hinge it (by using electrical cable ties) over the hole. You have now made a door that can be opened and closed when filling the table with food and that is hinged via the electrical cable ties. To keep the door shut simply use two clothes pegs hooked over the base of the door and the mesh panel itself.

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Hanging Bird Feeder

Pigeons will often stand below a hanging bird feeder waiting for the smaller birds to peck the contents of the feeder and as crumbs fall to the ground the pigeons will quickly consume them – this is very common. It is relatively simple to protect a hanging bird feeder by creating a wire mesh cylinder around the feeder, which allows small birds to enter and exploit the food within and which also stops any crumbs falling to the ground below. An added advantage of this type of DIY pigeon deterrent is that the small birds which feed within the cylinder are less vulnerable to predation from birds of prey and cats.

Materials and tools required:

  • A length of hot-dipped galvanized steel (square) mesh 1”x 0.5”x19 gauge (ensure that you purchase the square mesh and not an octagonal mesh such as chicken wire, which is a much inferior product and much more difficult to install)
  • A pair of wire snip
  • Some electrical cable ties
  • Two clothes pegs

First decide how large you wish the cylinder to be and cut out an appropriate length of wire mesh. The cylinder should be able to accommodate the bird feeder within it and still provide enough room for small birds to move around freely once inside. Once you have cut out your square of mesh, roll it into a cylinder of the desired sized and then use electrical cable ties to hold the cylinder together. You will then need to cut 2 circles of mesh (assuming that you are making a round cylinder) that will form the base and the lid of the cylinder. Attach one of these circles to the base of the cylinder with electrical cable ties. You will now have a mesh cylinder with a base but no lid. In order to access the feeder to fill it each day you will need to make a hinged lid. Simply use one or two electrical cable ties to hinge the lid and then use one or two clothes pegs to keep the lid closed.

Illustration 1: Hanging Feeder Protected with Mesh Cylinder

Illustration 1: Hanging Feeder
Protected with Mesh Cylinder

Once your cylinder is made and has a hinged top and a static base you will need to cut several holes into the side wall of the cylinder in order to allow small birds to access the interior of the cylinder. As with protecting a bird table, these holes will need to be in the region of 2-3” square depending on the size and type of small birds that visit your garden. Small perches made from branches of a tree or shrub can be provided below each hole as perches for small birds to land on prior to entering the cylinder.

The only thing left to do is to line the base of the cylinder so that any food that falls out of the feeder as the small birds are feeding will fall into a cup at the base of the cylinder and not onto the ground below. A round plastic food container such as a margarine tub would be ideal for this purpose. If you choose to use a food container for a base it will probably be easier to identify the container before starting work and build the cylinder to fit the food container rather than the other way around. Make one or two very small holes in the base of the container so that when it rains it will not fill up with water.

It may take small birds a few days to investigate the feeder with the new cylinder around it, but sooner or later a more adventurous bird will enter the cylinder and then the rest of the flock will follow.

Area-wide controls

This section is aimed at those who have responsibility for controlling pigeons on a site (residential or commercial) or throughout a town or city. Examples of sites include hospitals, residential estates, high-rise commercial or residential buildings, marinas and railway or bus stations. Where area-wide controls are concerned town and city councils will normally be the only body that has responsibility for bird control. Most councils, however, are extremely reluctant to become involved with issues relating to pigeon control. London is a perfect example of a city that would benefit from a working area-wide system provided by neighbouring councils in tandem with each other as well as local businesses.

Controlling pigeons and other bird species on a building, or group of buildings, may involve the use of many of the specific DIY pigeon deterrents found throughout this page. In most cases, however, these controls can be complimented by the use of measures that are only appropriate where entrenched or growing pigeon-related problems are concerned and where there is a clear need to provide some sort of area-wide system. Many UK based companies with site-wide problems rarely work together with their local authority’s Environmental Health Department to provide anything more than a piecemeal system based on culling and the installation of pigeon deterrents.

The greatest problem facing those who have responsibility for bird control on a site or for a group of buildings is that most pigeon deterrents will simply move the problem from A to B without actually controlling or reducing flock size. On a hospital site, for example, there are many favoured roosting and breeding opportunities created for pigeons and other birds by the extensive infrastructure of pipework and plant on flat roof areas. To protect every area comprehensively would be prohibitive on the grounds of cost alone. The DIY pigeon deterrents discussed within this page, and indeed commercially available products such as the anti-roosting spike, can be 100% effective if installed correctly and in the right areas, but on a large site there will always be alternative roosts available for displaced birds to move to.

Where a town or city is concerned officers representing the local government body will sometimes be required to provide area-wide controls that are designed to benefit the whole community. The conventional approach to resolving area-wide problems is normally culling, but this approach, far from being an effective means of reducing flock size, has been scientifically proven to increase flock size, rendering this control option a complete waste of both time and money. More in-depth information on area-wide controls can be sourced from the Pigeon Control Advisory Service International.

So how can cheap but effective DIY methods of control be provided when dealing with entrenched pigeon-related problems on large sites or for town and city environments? We will look at sites and groups of buildings first:

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Site-wide controls

Clearly, when roosting or perching problems exist in sensitive areas of any site or group of buildings it is imperative to reduce or stop these problems in the cheapest and most effective manner possible. Budgets provided to facilities managers for the provision of bird control are often very small, in some cases non-existent, and therefore finding the right control at the right price is virtually impossible, certainly when using commercially available products. The DIY controls discussed elsewhere on this page will allow facilities managers to exclude pigeons from these areas by installing DIY pigeon deterrents or a combination of DIY deterrents and conventional products such as anti-roosting spikes. As we have already discussed, the problem is not how to protect ledges and windowsills to stop perching and roosting problems, the real problem is where the birds will go once they have been excluded from their existing perching or roosting areas. On most sites there is likely to be an endless number of perching and roosting opportunities for pigeons and therefore as soon as one area has been protected pigeons will simply move to another possibly more sensitive area of the site.

One beautifully simple and inexpensive method of dealing with this problem is to provide an artificial breeding facility in a secluded area of the site, for example on a flat roof. Of course, choosing the right area can be problematic and some expertise is often required. If in doubt the Pigeon Control Advisory Service International will confirm whether the proposed area is suitable. The basic criteria is to find a secluded area of the site, ideally removed from areas of human activity and ideally an area where pigeons are already in evidence, and then provide an artificial breeding facility in the form of a pigeon loft. The principle of this control is to encourage pigeons that have been displaced by the installation of pigeon deterrent products to take up residence in a loft (where their breeding can be controlled) and start to use it as an overnight roost and breeding facility. If the correct type of facility is provided pigeons will explore and start to use the loft almost immediately. The birds will then start to use the loft as a permanent roost and breeding facility and if eggs are removed once a week and replaced with dummy eggs (a 5-minute job) flock size will reduce dramatically as well as soiling problems throughout the site.

One large NHS hospital in Nottingham (Nottingham City Hospital) brought in the Pigeon Control Advisory Service International in to advise them on alternatives to killing pigeons in 1999. This was based on a massive and adverse reaction from both staff on the site and animal rights groups to the proposal to start killing pigeons as a method of control. The Pigeon Control advisory Service International advised the use of purpose-built lofts provided throughout the large site on flat roof areas. The lofts would be complemented by a regime of installing pigeon deterrents in sensitive areas of the site designed to stop soiling and move the birds into the lofts. In 1999 the hospital launched the programme with an estimated 1200 pigeons resident on site. Over the following years pigeons were encouraged into the lofts and eggs were removed on a weekly basis. The eventual result was that by 2005 pigeon flock sized had reduced from 1200 pigeons down to 63 pigeons without killing a single bird. This represents a 95% reduction in pigeon numbers in 5/6-year period. The hospital’s previous regime of regular pigeon shoots had actually increased flock size resulting in the massive overpopulation identified by the Pigeon Control Advisory Service International in 1999. An extraordinary result, and not only that, but as the hospital used recycled staff clothing lockers instead of purpose-built lofts, which the birds took to immediately, the cost of operating this system was virtually nil.

The ideal ready-made loft would be an 8’ x 6’ garden shed with a door at one end and no windows. These sheds, in the UK, would cost in the region of £200-£300 but a similar facility can be easily constructed from scrap timber or indeed wall-mounted nesting boxes could be provided as an alternative, costing only a few pounds in materials.

To create a loft from a basic garden shed you should first make a long access point in one of the exterior side walls just below roof height and running along the entire side wall where this is possible. The access point should be in the region of 6” high. Immediately below the access point a landing stage will need to be affixed to the exterior side wall of the loft. This landing stage should be approximately 9-12” wide and be provided with a lip (about 1-2” high) around the periphery. Grain will be provided on the landing stage for the first 2-4 weeks after the loft has been sited to encourage the pigeons into the facility - the purpose of the lip is to stop the grain rolling off the landing stage.

Interior of a pigeon loft

Interior of a pigeon loft

The interior of the loft can be fitted out with very basic plywood shelving and compartmentalised into breeding boxes measuring approximately 12” wide x 15-18” deep x 12” high. Alternatively, plastic boxes can be adapted for use as breeding boxes with the added advantage that they are easy to clean and will help to reduce the potential for insect infestation, thereby maintaining good health within the flock. The breeding boxes should be provided on one end wall (the end wall without the door!) and the side wall opposite the wall where the access point has been provided. Shelving should start at the top of the wall and continue down to 3 or 4’ above floor level. If flock size is large, boxes can also be provided on the other internal side wall below the access point. One or two broom shafts should also be provided, at height, as perches within the loft to accommodate non-breeding birds. The floor of the loft can be covered with sand, woodchip or sawdust so that when the loft is cleaned out, possibly once a month or even less, the sand/woodchip/sawdust can simply be swept out and disposed of. It should always be borne in mind that pigeon guano is one of the best fertilizers known to man and therefore it can be spread on ornamental gardens or used as a fertilizer for growing vegetables. If you wish to use the resultant guano in this way the floor should be covered in plastic, stapled to the floor, and then it can be easily swept up every few weeks.

Once pigeons have started to use the loft for roosting they will, very quickly, start to use the breeding boxes and breed. At this point it is critical to visit the loft at least once a week and swap any real eggs for dummy eggs. If eggs are just removed and not replaced with dummy eggs the hen bird will immediately re-lay resulting in more frequent egg collections and also welfare issues for the hen. If the hen has to continually re-lay each time her eggs are removed she will start to experience health-related issues; a calcium deficiency is one of the first and most serious problems. Based on the fact that this is a humane and effective control system that is designed to result in a small but healthy flock, these issues must inevitably be taken into consideration. Dummy eggs can be sourced from any specialist bird shop or racing pigeon organization and if there is a choice the solid eggs are better than the hollow eggs as the hollow egg must be filled with exactly the right quantity of sand.

In some cases where PiCAS International has recommended the use of lofts to its clients the loft has been used as a means of containing pigeons in one place and then, at night when the birds are roosting, pest controllers have entered the loft and slaughtered all the birds within it. In each and every case where this has happened pigeons have steadfastly ignored the loft subsequent to the cull, rendering the facility useless. It is therefore important to understand that a loft cannot be used for the purpose of killing pigeons and if it is, both the loft and the resource that went into providing it will be wasted.

As there will no longer be young birds born to the flock once the loft is established, flock size will reduce extremely quickly as older birds die of natural causes and are not replaced. As can be seen from the Nottingham City Hospital example, the reduction in flock size can be dramatic and yet the system costs virtually nothing to provide or maintain. Another large UK hospital site, Heath Park Hospital in Cardiff, has been operating a Pigeon Control Advisory Service International recommended loft-based system for many years to deal with a deeply entrenched pigeon problem on the site. Within 2 months of providing 2 lofts (8’x 6’ garden sheds) in an area of the site that was experiencing severe pigeon-related roosting problems the hospital’s representative was removing over 40 eggs a week.

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Town and city-wide controls

This section is purely for those who have responsibility for controlling pigeons on behalf of a council or a public body. The controls outlined in this section will be appropriate for large urban areas where deliberate and persistent feeding of pigeons by the public is believed to be the root cause of the problem. Although it is rare, commercial waste can be responsible for sustaining pigeon populations in urban areas and where this is the case the issue of available food must be resolved prior to any other action being taken.

Pigeons feeding

Pigeons feeding

Where public feeding of pigeons has been identified as the main source of the problem in an urban area the only realistic and effective method of controlling both pigeons and pigeon feeders is to provide a specific area where pigeons can both be fed and their numbers humanely controlled. The Pigeon Control Advisory Service pioneered this type of area-wide control where persistent pigeon feeders are catered for as well as the pigeons that they feed. This control option is now seen as being the only effective means of controlling pigeon populations in an area-wide situation.

The principle of this control option is to draw pigeons away from their existing roosting and breeding sites, as well as their daytime feeding areas where they inevitably cause problems for property owners, by using pigeon feeders to feed birds within a designated feeding area. A small piece of land, possibly a park or green area, is identified as a donor site for a designated feeding area and via an extensive public education programme pigeon feeders will be encouraged to feed exclusively within this area. It is the ultimate carrot and stick approach whereby the feeder is provided with a tailor-made facility in which to feed, but if the feeder continues to feed outside the designated area they will be fined. The approach appears to be palatable to both feeder and those tasked with controlling pigeons within a local government body.

The designated feeding area very effectively resolves the age old problem of deliberate and persistent feeding of pigeon populations, but if provided in isolation the system will not control flock size. It is therefore necessary to provide an artificial breeding facility in the form of a dovecote (a tall pigeon loft on legs) that will be sited within the designated feeding area. The purpose of this facility is not only to provide pigeons with a perching place whilst visiting the feeding area, but it also doubles as a breeding facility where pigeon flock size can be controlled via birth control. Once pigeons have been using the facility for several weeks some of the juvenile birds will start to roost overnight on the dovecote and then, as adult breeding birds also start to use the dovecote for the same purpose, they will begin to explore the potential to breed within the facility. Once breeding starts to take place the dovecote is then visited once a week and any eggs that have been laid are removed and replaced with dummy eggs. This method of birth control has been proven to reduce overall flock size by as much as 95%.

Although this control option can be provided as a stand-alone control, any local government body considering implementing a programme of this nature should be aware that in order to ensure that this control fulfils its true potential it will be necessary to undertake complementary enforcement action. This would include the policing of feeding that takes place outside the designated feeding area as well as undertaking an exhaustive survey of existing overnight roosts in order to take the necessary action to exclude roosting pigeons from derelict and unused properties. Those excluded pigeons will then take up residence in the dovecote provided where their breeding can be controlled. Other actions would include an extensive public education campaign and the production of printed matter (posters and leaflets) confirming what the council is trying to achieve and why.

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What do I do if I find a baby pigeon?

Pigeon squabs 8 days

Pigeon squab - 8 days

If you are implementing any of the controls outlined in this page you may find a baby pigeon in a nest and need to remove it in order to continue with the installation of your deterrents. We have already provided links to a web page that provides contact details of rehabilitators throughout the UK and we have also guided you to the Pigeon Control Advisory Service UK for advice on the humane control of pigeons in the UK. If, however, you are unable to get your baby pigeon/s to a wildlife rehabilitator the same day you may need some advice on caring for the birds overnight. The National Wildlife Rehabilitators Association in the USA has a page on their website that offers excellent advice in respect of handling, feeding and accommodating baby birds and we would strongly recommend that you read this page prior to undertaking any bird-proofing works. The following link will take you directly to the page: http://www.nwrawildlife.org/documents/jacobs_birds.pdf.

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