How to get rid of pigeons

In 2007, it was estimated that the UK was home to 18 million feral pigeons, a figure that is thought to have risen dramatically since.

Pigeons are one of the only bird species that breed year-round, and can produce offspring up to six times each year.

As a result, they are one of the few species of bird classified by the government as a pest due to their scavenging nature.

Over the years, pigeons have been driven towards more densely populated and developed areas where it is much easier to find sources of food and shelter.

The noise and health issues surrounding them are enough on their own for property owners to want them gone.

However, pigeons are also notorious for causing structural damage to buildings.

For that reason, it has never been more important for property owners in both residential and commercial spaces to find ways to deter pigeons from roosting and nesting.

In this article, we explore some of the most effective pigeon deterrents for developed spaces and how to manage the pigeon problem in more urbanised areas.

Are pigeons vermin?

Pigeons have existed in the UK for hundreds of years, and at times throughout history, they have been kept as loved pets and used in various industries.

The most notable use of pigeons was during the world wars, when they carried messages over long distances. Back then, and for some time after, pigeons were revered as the unsung heroes of war and hailed as the quiet, trusty companions of man. However, 100 years later, the public’s opinion and relationship with pigeons has changed dramatically, with most people referring to them as ‘vermin’.

While pigeons are not legally classed as such, they are labelled as a ‘pest species’ by local councils and also by those operating in the pest control industry. However, many people throughout the UK would class pigeons as vermin because of their scavenging nature that can be likened to rats, earning them the name ‘rats of the sky’. Pigeons rummage through litter bins, spilling waste onto the streets and, similar to rats, are known to carry harmful diseases.

How to deter pigeons

As one of the most common birds in the UK, particularly in urban areas, pigeons are here to stay.

However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t steps that can be taken to deter them. As mentioned above, one of the main reasons why pigeons are so prevalent in developed areas is the access to food, whether from litter bins or food dropped on the stress.

As ground-feeding birds, pigeons will eat almost anything found on the floor.

When trying to deter them, you should be doing everything possible to prevent access to food.

This can include modifying existing bins, or installing new ones that are harder for them to enter. Once inside, they are likely to knock more food onto the ground, attracting more birds to your property.

Physical alterations can also be made to your property in the form of parallel wires, or bird netting. Parallel wires have proven effective in keeping pigeons away from roofs, eaves and guttering because they form a barrier to the areas that are most appealing to birds. Netting is equally effective as a deterrent, making it impossible for pigeons to nest on roofing.

However, it is arguably not as aesthetically pleasing.

Another popular method to deter pigeons that is used throughout the UK is bird gels.

These sticky traps help keep pigeons away by creating a non-toxic barrier across roofs that will cause bird’s feet to become stuck. Eventually, the pigeon will be able to free itself, but the experience will likely deter them from landing in the area again.

Finally, there is the use of audio and visual deterrents. Specialists install laser and acoustic scarers in areas where pigeons are seen to congregate, or in locations where nesting has become a problem.

If you have a larger property or commercial site, these deterrent methods may not be as effective or practical.

In this instance, it is advisable to speak to a pest bird control specialist who can assist and advise you on the best course of action to remove and deter pests from your site.

How does pest control get rid of pigeons?

There are some instances where deterrents are no longer effective and pest control measures must be implemented, but how exactly does this work?

When pigeons become an issue in developed areas such as shopping centres, supermarkets, industrial sites, or sports stadia, falconry bird deterrent programs can be implemented as a safe and effective method of gaining control.

Because hawks and falcons are natural predators of most other birds, they are an ideal way of unsettling pigeons and moving them away from the area.

Pest control hawks are trained to work in urban and industrial areas, flying from perch to perch and mimicking how they hunt in the wild.

They are effective in both internal and external settings, such as warehouses, schools, and shopping centres, where pigeons are often found nesting.

The mere sight of a falcon in an area immediately alerts birds to their presence, and can cause them to relocate before the bird even takes flight. Once these predators have established themselves in the area, pest birds such as pigeons will be encouraged to move away to nest safely.

For this reason, falcons and hawks are great working in large open spaces on development grounds, or over factory roofs where pigeons tend to nest.

Using predator birds as a means of pest control is not only safer, greener and more efficient, but it also ensures that property owners are operating within the law.

How to get rid of pigeons but not other birds

Pigeons can quickly invade an area, driving away other birds, and with it their beautiful birdsong and welcomed presence.

While pigeons may not be desirable guests to have on your property, you may still want other birds to enjoy the area.

There are several ways that you can actively discourage pigeons from feeding, roosting and nesting on your property, starting with cutting off their source of food.

Unlike many other bird species, pigeons are primarily ground feeders and will always be on the hunt for littered food on the floor.

By ensuring that there are no food sources available to them, they will likely be discouraged from staying in the area and will move elsewhere.

You may also find that a key reason pigeons are in the area is because they have found a place to nest on your property.

Pigeons are unlikely to stay in an area lacking in both food and shelter, so it is essential to use deterrents, as described above.

Pigeons will nest on window ledges, in open chimneys, roofs, and just about anywhere they can find shelter. By making these places inaccessible, you will notice a drastic decrease in your pigeon population.

How to get pigeons out of a building

It is not uncommon for pigeons to seek shelter inside properties, especially in larger sites such as warehouses, factories and shopping centres. That type of building often has big open doors, or windows, that make it easier for birds to access them and find a place to nest.

The law states that once a bird has nested, the bird, its eggs, and the nest cannot be moved.

That is why immediate action must be taken to remove pigeons from your building.

Not only is the health and safety of the bird and the building’s occupants at risk the longer it is there, but often it will encourage more birds to enter too.

Several steps can be taken to get pigeons out of a building, starting with identifying and closing all possible entry points.

By securing any cracked windows and open doors, you can stop pigeons from moving freely in and out.

The next step is to create a less inviting environment for pigeons by securing areas that provide a safe shelter for them to nest; this may include putting up spikes, wires or filling in any gaps that birds can nestle into.

Finally, it is not enough to remove pigeons there already, which is why you will want to implement a robust bird deterrent system that will keep them away from your building in the long term.

Many forms of pest control and deterrents can help ensure pigeons will find other places to roost and nest. It is, however, always advised to seek out the expertise of a Bird Control Solution specialist who can create a system tailored to the needs of your property.

Best products for pigeon control

There are many great products on the market that can help you create a comprehensive pigeon deterrent system. The most popular and widely used in the UK are as follows:

Stainless Steel Bird Spikes

These spikes are highly effective for deterring pigeons from congregating on ledges and roofs. They are relatively easy to install, cost-effective and are a humane way of keeping the pigeon population away.

Bird Repellent Discs

A simple but effective solution, bird repellent discs are shiny mirrors that will distract pigeons when flying towards your property and will deter them from coming closer without causing them any harm.

Audio and Visual Systems

Many audio-visual systems on the market can help to deter pigeons from nesting on your property. These often use motion-activated high-frequency noises and lasers to scare away pigeons without causing them any harm. This option is often effective when used in conjunction with other deterrent methods because it encourages pigeons to nest elsewhere.

If you would like any help, or advice, on how best to approach your pest bird problem, feel free to get in contact with our team at Urban Hawks.

How to deal with a pigeon problem

For more than 25 years, the team at Urban Hawks has provided bird control solutions for many diverse industries and domestic clients throughout the North West.

With a comprehensive understanding of how best to manage the relationship between predator and prey in an urban environment, we ensure any pigeon problem can be solved.

Through the use of our Bird Proofing solutions and our Falconry Dispersal and Disruption programs, our team has been able to resolve all manner of pest bird issues on a range of commercial sites such as supermarkets, shopping centres, waste disposal sites, sports centres and more.

Get in touch

At Urban Hawks, we pride ourselves on our excellent customer service and nurturing relationships with clients.

All of our employees are qualified to address any pest issues you are experiencing.

If you are located in the North West and would like to learn more about our Bird Control Solution services, don’t hesitate to contact us today on 0151 345 6854 or send an email to us at