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Usually bluish-gray with black bands and reddish feet.
Pigeons have broad and pointed wings, with small heads and short legs. They also have a wide and rounded tail. Their coat is blueish grey. They have a soft voice with guttural series of rolling coos.
Originally found wild in Europe, North Africa, and western Asia, feral pigeons have become established in cities around the world. The lack of adequate sanitation, deliberate feeding of the birds by humans, and "cliff-type" nesting sites on older buildings are the principal factors that attract pigeons to cities.
They will inhabit roofs, ledges, drain spouts, lofts, attics, caves, etc. They also frequent parks and sidewalks, where they become habituated to people feeding them. Pigeons are mainly creatures of habit and tend to feed, nest, and roost in the same place day after day.
Pigeons are a pest in most urban areas in the US. On the West Coast our local pest control specialists find pigeons affect many of our customers in cities such as Boise, Roseburg, Salinas, Spokane, Novato, and Palm Springs.
These bird-brained beauties also eat livestock manure; they're not picky, and actually pretty disgusting. (But please don't feed the birds. They do carry diseases.) Other favorite treats include seeds, grains, some fruits and green feed; but will feed on insects.
Pigeons pair for life, which may last for 15 years or longer. In urban environments, they may live for 3-4 years. Pigeons have a hearing range close to humans, but they have a poor sense of taste and smell. Remember—they eat manure. They also exhibit distinct behavioral patterns like nesting, feeding, roosting, and loafing. Nesting and roosting sites (places where they sleep or rest) may occur in the same area or be as far as 5 miles apart.
Breeding occurs year-round with 1-2 eggs per batch. The eggs hatch after 17-19 days of incubation, and young pigeons will leave the nest after 4 to 6 weeks. More eggs may be laid before the first young are gone. An adult pigeon eats about one pound of food a week. Pigeons, their nests, and droppings are of major concern because 50 or more diseases and ectoparasites are associated with them.
Pigeons are of great medical concern because more than 50 diseases and ectoparasites are associated with them, which leads to their description by non-romantics as flying rodents. Pigeon nests and droppings will also lead to dermestid beetles, flies, clothes moths, and stored product pest infestations within buildings.
Asthma - bird dropping can dry up and become dust. Once inhaled, this can trigger asthma attacks.
Salmonella - also known as food poisoning, but droppings can lead to the contamination of food.
Listeriosis, histoplasmosis, cryptococcosis - all fungal diseases that can come from growing on pigeon droppings.
How do you know if you have just a few pigeons or if you have a serious problem? Well, there are signs that the pigeons around your property may be causing problems. They include:
Large numbers of birds - just take a look around your property and see how many pigeons there are. Once one decides to set up shop, others are likely to follow. Are there a lot of birds on the ground? Are there more roosting above? Are people having trouble just walking through the area because of the number of birds?
Nesting material - pigeons use sticks, twigs, branches, leaves and even garbage to make up their nests. Is there an increased number of this material lying around? Pigeons are not famous for their neatness, so if there is an increase of debris, it could be from too many pigeons trying to nest.
Droppings - pigeons are rather notorious for the deposits that they leave behind. Are there so many that it makes it hard to walk? If so, time to call in the pros.
Got pigeon issues? Due to the problems that can come with these birds, you should have an infestation addressed right away. There are ways to keep pigeons away, such as spikes. Read more about these techniques below. Plus, you should make sure pigeons cannot get to standing water or food on your property. Get rid of garbage or food that has been spilled, so pigeons may find a spot less appealing.
There are many techniques for excluding pigeons from an infested structure. Exclusion strategies include structural modification, bird netting, plastic and metal spikes, monofilament and steel lines, and trapping. In addition, gels, paste, and liquids can also be used for excluding the birds from the structure.
Structural modification: Birds like to land on flat surfaces. When the building ledges are angled (45 degrees), it prevents birds from landing on building edges. Sheet metals, styrofoam blocks, wood, stone, and other materials can be used to give the desired angle.
Bird netting: There are several types of bird nettings that can be used for exclusion. In general, netting provides the best long-term control in keeping the birds out of a structure. In warehouses and commercial buildings where bird activity is a major concern, bird nets can be used to prevent the birds from getting into overhead pipes, roof air conditioning units can be netted off from the birds, etc.
Plastic and metal spikes: Spikes can be used as a physical barrier in preventing the birds from landing on an area, such as perching on ledges and beams of buildings. Spikes have sharp pointed edges extending out at angles. They can be installed around ledges, roof peaks, eaves, window sills, or any places that are prone to roosting. Because netting and spikes are more effective long-term control methods, they are the preferred methods.
Pigeon repellents are available in different formulations such as gel, paste and liquids. They differ considerably in cost, effectiveness, and texture (thick and tacky, jelly like or viscous).
Choose the one that works best based on the experience. These repellents are not non-toxic and because of their "sticky" properties cause the birds to move elsewhere.
If you’re dealing with pigeons, you should contact a pest professional to figure out how to eliminate these pests. As you may have noticed, pigeons can get droppings on buildings, damaging the appearance of these structures. Their droppings can also pollute zones of human activity as well as food. A Western Exterminator expert can ascertain how to handle the situation and help you know how to inhibit these birds for the future.
Pigeons aren't the only birds home and business owners need to be concerned about. Seagulls and starlings are known to cause damage and spread disease as well. With proper identification, our specialists can create bird control plans specifically made for you to ensure your property is bird-free.
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