Pigeons. Just that one word can summon many different images that might come to mind. You might think of the iconic image of an elder man or woman sitting at a park bench, throwing crumbs out to a flock of patient pigeons. You might even think of how pigeons were used as messengers back in the old days of yore. Pigeons are still used in movies today, in fact the John Wick series sees pigeons taking a role as a traditional messenger bird. Some even keep pigeons for sport – to race them, that is. These birds are known to everybody and are definitely a part of life. But even if pigeons are everywhere, you may not necessarily want them on your property. I know I don’t. In fact, sometimes I find myself wondering how to keep pigeons away from my balcony. Don’t you wonder how, too?
Yes, these pigeons come around everywhere. They fly around practically everywhere I go! And, yep. They show up on my balcony too. Now, normally I wouldn’t even mind this at all. Why should I care if there are pigeons on my balcony? As long as they aren’t harming anything, then I shouldn’t really care, right?
Well… today I want to talk about pigeons and everything there is to know about them. We’ll talk about what kind of birds they are, what kind of food they eat, where you normally find them, and why they have such a bad reputation sometimes. So buckle up, because it’s going to be a long ride!
What Are Pigeons
By now I think that all of us know what pigeons are. Essentially, they’re birds – and they are commonly seen just about anywhere and everywhere. Pigeons have been around for thousands upon thousands of years. As a matter of fact, I found it quite interesting that archeologists found images of pigeons that date back all the way to 3000BC. That’s such a long time ago!
Pigeon is a word that was derived from ‘pipio’, a Latin word that means young, cheeping bird. Pigeon is not the only name by which this bird goes by, however. I found it surprising that there are actually so many different names for them, actually! Pigeons are also known as blue rock pigeons, doves, rock doves, rock pigeons, feral pigeons, and wild rock pigeons.
This species comes from the order of birds called the Columbiformes, and according to my research, there are over three hundred and fifty different varieties of pigeon recorded. Pigeons can be found everywhere, and it’s really not uncommon to find these birds in areas where humans live.
Pigeons are monogamous (isn’t it cute?) and basically have one mate for the rest of their lifetimes. They typically breed year-round, but they do have some peak periods for breeding during summer and spring. It’s not unusual to find these birds nesting on or even in buildings. You may even find these pigeons building flimsy nests on accessible balconies or ledges. While the thought of a small pigeon family on my property is cute, I still want to know how to keep pigeons away from my balcony. What can I say, the reputation of these birds precedes them!
Reputation of Pigeons
Speaking of the reputation of pigeons… to be honest with you, I haven’t really heard a lot of good things about them lately. Sure, they were useful back in the day, but it really feels as though these days, these birds have overstayed their welcome. It’s safe to say that pigeons have probably outlived their usefulness – there are probably only very few people in the world still using these birds as messenger services.
These days, pigeons are known for taking over property – all sorts of it! You can find these birds everywhere. And I do mean everywhere! From out on the streets of cities, all the way to the suburbs, and even out in the more remote areas, pigeons are simply everywhere. Another thing is that these birds, well… they breed. A lot. They’re very well known to be prolific at breeding, so if you start seeing a few around you area, chances are there are a lot more around than you know. And, well, there will probably be a lot more coming too.
I’ll be honest here when I say that I’ve heard a lot of people stating that they hate pigeons. And I do mean HATE them – can’t stand them at all, don’t want them around, want to wish them out of existence hate. But why exactly do people hate pigeons so badly? Well, let’s take a look, shall we?
Why Are Pigeons Bad?
Pigeons are frequently seen as pests. Yep – as pests. These pesky birds are quite pervasive, so much so that a lot of people consider them vermin. Pigeons are quite annoying to deal with – I mean, if they weren’t then why would I be looking for ways on how to keep pigeons away from my balcony? There are many different ways in which pigeons are ‘bad’, so let’s take a look at some of them.
Pigeons Can Be Dirty
Because pigeons are everywhere and make everywhere their home, they can honestly be pretty dirty. They can carry a lot of different parasites and diseases that they can then pass on to animals and yes, even humans. And, of course, if you have an infestation of these foul fowls (see what I did there?), chances are you are already dealing with the tons and tons of droppings that they leave behind.
You’ll find droppings all over the place. On your balcony, on your patio, on your car, on your windowsill, like I said – everywhere! And, if you get unlucky, a passing bird can do their business on you too, ruining your hair or your clothes. Gross.
Oh, and about those diseases that these birds can carry around? Ornithosis, salmonellosis, and tuberculosis are just some of them. But just those three are totally enough for me to want to know how to keep pigeons away from my balcony!
Pigeons Can Damage Your Property
Pigeon waste is definitely disgusting. Their droppings can attract other vermin too, so if you have plenty of dung around your property you can expect flies, roaches, mice, and rats to start coming too. These droppings are also very acidic, and because of this you will likely find that it leaves stains. In some cases, it can eat away at the surface beneath, too. Pigeon feces is so caustic that it can cause damage to roofing, and in some severe cases you might end up needing a full roof replacement sooner than you normally would!
Pigeon nests are also known to cause problems with gutters and even eave troughs, further causing damage to roofing.
Pigeons Are Bad for People With Asthma
Yep… if you have asthma, prepare to get more frequent attacks. These birds usually have all types of things in their feathers – dander and dust for example, that can get released in the air every time they fly off. Every time pigeons flap their wings, you get all that dander and dust into the air. And if they hang out a lot on your balcony, well, you can expect that all of that stuff gets inside your house – unless you permanently close all your windows and doors (but that’s just not feasible).
Pigeons Can Give You Other Issues, Too
If aggravating your asthma and giving you some sort of serious disease wasn’t enough, you can even get skin issues from these birds, too. You might end up with some sort of rash or even scabs because of these fowl. Because of this, you should do your best to never touch these birds. If you have kids, you better make sure that they stay away, too! Pigeons may look innocent, but they can cause all sorts of problems you simply don’t want.
Pigeons Suffer Too
As bad as it is for us to be around these birds, the fact is that pigeons suffer from all of this too. The fact that pigeons are all over the place, and the fact that they breed very prolifically, means that they often suffer from issues of overcrowding. These birds end up becoming more aggressive and pesky too, because of the competition for food. So really, it’s important to keep these birds away. Trust me, I’m here to find out how to keep pigeons away from my balcony. But I won’t just start shooting at them – it’s illegal to shoot a wild bird or a nesting bird, even with a pellet gun or an airsoft gun.
How to Keep Pigeons Away From My Balcony
Yep, we’ve finally made it to the most important part of this whole article – how to keep pigeons away! I won’t bother to dilly-dally… let’s get right to it!
Tip 1: Put Something Shiny Up
These fowl aren’t fans of shiny things. So if you want to deter them from coming to your property, you can put up shiny things to scare them away. Mylar balloons work well for this purpose, but you may have to replace them often. You can put up shiny wind chimes to help deter them, and these might work better as you don’t need to replace the chimes at all. However, if you feel as though you’ll get annoyed by the chimes, one more option is to put up an aluminum foil pan – it’s shiny and reflective enough. Just poke a hole through, then tie it to your balcony railing. Oh, it’s also a possible to use decoy hawks and owls, or even shiny (rubber) snakes.
Tip 2: Bird Spikes
No… not spikes to kill the birds. I mean anti-roosting spikes. Basically, these are spikes that you can find in most hardware centers or home/garden stores. They’re basically lines of spikes that can be attached to anywhere you want the birds to stay off. These spikes prevent pigeons (and any other birds sadly) from perching on your balcony railings. Unfortunately they don’t quite come that cheaply, but the good thing is that they are quite effective and will last you many years to come.
Tip 3: Repellent Gel
If you’re renting, you may not be able to use things like bird spikes. If that’s the case, you can use temporary solutions like commercial repellent gels. These gels basically coat whatever solid surface you want, giving it a tacky or slippery layer to make it impossible for pigeons to perch. However, because this gel does start wearing off after exposure to the elements, you’ll have to be reapplying it every so often.
Tip 4: Slinkies!
Do you still have those slinky toys you used to play with? If you remember the toys that I’m talking about, then you can use it to help make your balcony railing less inviting to fowl. By attaching the slinky along the top, you make it difficult for the birds to perch and find a comfortable spot. Eventually they will realize that your place isn’t very nice for them!
Tip 5: Make a Barrier
Of course, this is only an option if you don’t mind putting up mesh screens and the like. This is a great way to keep the birds out, but you will have to clean the mesh screens every now and then to make sure the dust and any droppings get cleaned off. This is not a very practical solution for everyone though.
Pigeons can be pests, but they still are animals too. Try to be humane in the methods you employ to deter them from hanging out on your property. Of course, if the infestation is just too much, you can also simply call an exterminator for advice. I hope that I’ve put together a really good and informative guide that will help you with keeping these feathery fowl out of your balconies. Finally, don’t forget to always clean up any droppings they leave behind – so you can avoid disease and more vermin!