Feral pigeons have become a symbol of modern urban life, often found grouped together in town centres and cities across the UK. However, their presence has been known to cause problems for property owners, businesses, and members of the public in some spaces. When feral pigeons begin nesting, their population grows, occasionally resulting in damage to buildings and, in extreme cases, concerns for public health. As a result, controlling feral pigeon populations in urban areas is essential. In this article, we share what you need to know about feral pigeons, from the protection they have in the UK to effective methods to deter them, and the advantages of hiring bird control specialists to do so.

What is a feral pigeon?

Feral pigeons are descended from domesticated pigeons that have reverted to a wild state after being released. Originating from rock doves, pigeons have adapted incredibly well to modern city life, finding food, water, and shelter wherever they can. As a sociable species, feral pigeons flock together and thrive in crowded areas that have accessible food sources. They are easy to spot in most populated areas with their distinctive grey plumage and iridescent neck feathers. Historically, pigeons were used domestically as messenger birds, and during the first and second world wars, homing pigeons saved countless lives by carrying messages across enemy lines. After the war, many of these domesticated pigeons were released into the wild and bred the feral pigeons we find in today’s urban spaces.

Are feral pigeons protected?

Despite feral pigeons being seen by many as a nuisance pest species, in England and Wales, they are protected under the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981 along with other wild birds, nests, and eggs. As it stands, it is an offence to damage or destroy the nest of a pigeon or harm the bird.

How to deter feral pigeons

There is a variety of safe ways that pigeons can be deterred from roosting or nesting on your property.

Below, we list some of the most used pigeon deterrents to help you understand the effective methods we recommend to our customers.

  • Bird netting: You may have seen bird netting in place on buildings in urban areas, where it is a popular deterrent. The netting can be installed to cover rooftops, window ledges, balconies and other areas of your property that need protection from pigeons.
  • Bird spikes: Bird spikes are another commonly used deterrent, particularly in populated areas. They create a physical barrier that makes it almost impossible for pigeons to land, or nest, on your property. Bird spikes can be installed on ledges, windowsills, rooftops, and other areas of your property where pigeons are likely to land.
  • Audio repellents: There are many audio deterrents on the market designed to keep pigeons away. However, the most popular are ultrasonic devices. These emit high-pitched sounds that can only be heard by pigeons, deterring them from nesting nearby.
  • Modifications: Pigeons tend to congregate in areas with a regular source of food, water, and shelter, which is why modifying your property can help make it less appealing. These changes can include closing open bins, encouraging the general public not to litter or feed the pigeons, and repairing any windows or other areas that allow pigeons access to your property.
  • Unpleasant smells: This repellent is only recommended for small numbers of pigeons, but it has been found that a blend of citronella and peppermint oil emits a scent they find unpleasant.
  • Falconry deterrent: Falconry deterrents are a solution provided by specialist bird control professionals like Urban Hawks. Falcons and hawks are natural predators for most pest birds (feral pigeons included), making falconry one of the most effective deterrents. As soon as the pigeons spot their natural predator, they will immediately be discouraged from staying or returning to the area.

If you are currently dealing with a large pigeon infestation, we always recommend employing the services of a professional pest bird control company who can advise you on how best to proceed. The effectiveness of each of these deterrents will vary depending on the number of pigeons, the type of property you have and how they respond.

Why is it best to hire bird control specialists to deter feral pigeons?

As mentioned above, pigeons are a protected species, and so we always believe it best to hire bird control specialists who possess the necessary knowledge and experience to solve your problem. Our team can accurately assess the extent of an issue, identify roosting areas, and implement the proper procedures. The benefit of hiring bird control specialists is that we recognise every location is different and each pigeon problem requires a tailored solution. Able to call on decades of experience in the sector, our team devises a customised strategy that tackles your site’s specific challenges. We aim to never harm the birds, but instead prioritise humane methods of deterring pigeons and keeping them away from your site. We possess an in-depth understanding of relevant British law governing birds and wildlife, and so we always ensure our methods are compliant.

Get in touch with our Urban Hawks team!

We hope that this article has been helpful in understanding how to deter feral pigeons and what you can do to protect your property from this ever-growing species.  We believe that by taking proactive steps to control feral pigeon populations in the UK, we can help protect urban spaces while complying with legal requirements and preserving wildlife.

If you have any questions and want to learn more about how to get rid of pigeons, or any of our Bird Control Solutions, don’t hesitate to contact us today on 0151 345 6854 or email us at info@urbanhawks.co.uk