Pigeon Problems & Identification
Feral pigeons are the number one urban pest bird, creating a mess and causing damage where they roost, creating a need for pigeon control. Pigeons are descendants of domesticated European homing pigeons, so they have a varied diet and feel at ease making their homes in man-made structures.
Generally blue-grey in color, with irridescent feathers on the head and neck, problem pigeons often have markings in black, white or brown on the wings and neck. A short neck and small head characterize the standard pigeon; their short legs, hind toes and level front allow for both easy perching on pipes and ledges or walking on flat surfaces. Pigeons generally nest in small, flat areas away from the ground such as building ledges, air conditioning units or window sills. Occasionally pigeons may even lay eggs directly on a protected ledge.
Damage Caused by Pigeon Problems
Pigeon control is important due to the damage and disease problems these problem birds often create. The uric acid in pigeon feces is highly corrosive and can cause extensive damage to metals and other substrates it sits on for long periods. Debris from flocks of problem pigeons often build up, backing up gutters and drains which can cause flooding and roof damage.
Nesting materials and other debris has caused failures in machinery, especially rooftop air conditioning units which are a prime nesting spot for pigeons. Other frequent pigeon problems include slip and fall liability from feces or debris, plus an unclean, dirty company image. The bacteria, fungal agents and ectoparasites found in pigeon droppings are responsible for a host of serious diseases, including histoplasmosis, encephalitis, salmonella, meningitis, toxoplasmosis and more. Many companies also retain significant clean up costs due to the pigeon problems they don't resolve.
Nest building is very simple and often consists of a few stiff twigs. The male will pick the site. They prefer small flat areas away from the ground. Look for nests along building ledges, bridge supports, air conditioning units, window sills and the like. In crowded flocks, Pigeons will even forgo nest building and lay eggs directly on a protected ledge.
Pigeon are monogamous and a mating pair will typically have three or four broods a year. The female will usually lay two or sometimes three eggs at a time. The eggs are a solid bright white color. The eggs take roughly 18 days to hatch and 35 more days before the fledglings leave the nest.
Pigeons are not migratory. Their natural instinct is to stay near their birth site. This trait gives the pigeon a very determined personality when it comes to roosting at a particular site, much to the dismay of the inexperienced pest control technician. The daily cycle of a Pigeon is to roost at night, feed in the morning and loaf in the afternoon. The seasonal cycle is as follows; courtship in the early winter, nest building in late winter and breeding in the spring. However, in warm climates, breeding will occur year round. Pigeons molt once a year in late summer.