Feral pigeon, Columbia livia var
The feral pigeon that we see in our towns and cities today descends from the Rock Dove, a cliff dwelling bird that was widely found in coastal areas many centuries ago, particularly rocky coastlines. Unlike the Wood Pigeon (no relation) that nests in trees, the feral pigeon will almost exclusively nest on buildings and at height, which is why the species has adapted so well to modern towns and cities.
Apart from man, the main predator of the feral pigeon has historically been the Peregrine Falcon,
a bird that also lived and bred along rocky coastlines. Due to the inaccessibility of nesting sites on cliff faces, man was far less of a threat than were avian predators. As a result, the feral pigeon became incredibly successful as a species. Until approximately 1000 years ago it would have been
a common sight in coastal areas – large flocks of several thousand birds would have not been uncommon. It is now rare to see pigeons living and breeding on cliff faces other than in isolated areas. Nests are constructed of grass and twigs but can also contain rubbish which has pieces of plastic.
The fouling of buildings and monuments frequently occurs at places where they roost and nest. The acidic droppings react with chemicals in the stonework causing erosion of the surfaces. Accumulations of droppings can become infested with mites and insects, which are pests of stored products and houses.
They carry many diseases and can give rise to the following:
- Extrinsic Allergic Alveolitis (Pigeon Fancier’s Lung)
The following organisms and insects can be associated with birds, their nests and droppings:
- Varied Carpet Beetle
- Fur Beetle
- Larder Beetle
- Yellow Mealworm Beetle
- Biscuit Beetle
- Spider Beetles
- Case-bearing Clothes Moth
- Brown House Moth
- White Shouldered House Moth
- Lesser House Fly
- Cheese Mite
- Flour Mite
- Common Bird Mite
- Pigeon Tick etc
Other problems include
- blocked gutters and downpipes which can cause water damage by seepage coming into the property
- chimneys being blocked causing smoke problems or gasses such as carbon monoxide being forced back into the house
These problems lead to increased costs of maintenance and risk of nuisance to neighbouring properties.
Large numbers of roosting pigeons also give rise to odour and noise complaints, not to mention the risk to health and safety in terms of slipping hazards on pavements and fire escapes from accumulations of droppings.
The feral pigeon will breed throughout the year, the peak being between March and July. A normal clutch consists of two off white eggs laid on consecutive days. They are incubated for 18-19 days, it can occur that the female incubates the eggs at night and the male incubates during the day. Pigeons produce a protein-rich ‘pigeon milk’ that is like a cheesy curd that is the nestlings first requirements. Young are fed twice a day in the morning and evening. Fledging takes place after about 32 days and a further clutch of eggs can be laid when the first young are only 20 days old. It is possible for feral pigeons to produce nine broods a year, but 4 to 5 is more normal.
There are numerous techniques available to combat feral pigeon problems. Handling a pigeon infestation most often requires a combination of products and techniques. Coil, spring wire or bird point all have distinct merits for ledge applications. For exclusion, two inch netting is sufficient, we use only woven and knotted netting for large applications. Any exclusion work should be coupled with some form of flock dispersal such as trapping or shooting. Flock reduction alone is not a long term solution as long as food and attractive shelter remain at the site.
Or For Pest Control London, Essex, Hertfordshire and Kent Call 0800 633 5220
300 – 350 mm
275 – 550 gm
Blue-greys, reds, blacks
Little visible difference