Many will disagree with the fact that pigeons should be considered pests – mostly people who live in areas where the pigeons are scarce – but the truth is that their ability to adapt to the urban and rural settings as well as multiply incredibly fast has earned them this title. While these birds have originally descended from a species known as rock doves whose habitat consisted of remote cliff areas, feral pigeons now have no problem living among humans. Moreover, since numerous people feed these birds and water sources can be found almost anywhere, their exponential multiplication doesn’t come as a surprise.
In addition to their numbers, what else qualifies pigeons as pests?
If you live in a zone with a high pigeon population and you haven't been hit by their droppings once, you can consider yourself lucky. However, it's not only their innate ability to spot and hit a new set of clothes. The pigeon droppings cumulate to a few tons per year and cleaning up the mess costs municipalities millions of dollars.
Furthermore, the acidic nature of the feces eats into the walls and roofs of buildings and deteriorates it, which adds a few extra millions of dollars for repairs and renovations. At the same time, as the droppings dry out, they begin emanating particles that transmit viruses like Chiamdiosis and Psittacosis (similar to influenza and respectively pneumonia). Studies are still carried out to determine the risk levels of these infections. Finally, in rural settings, their diversified diet in association with their high numbers makes them the perfect predator for crops/vegetables/fruits.
How can you get rid of a pigeon infestation?
At first, you might be tempted to opt for shooting them and this solution could be appropriate in rural areas where the numbers aren't that great and gun control is not heavily enforced. However, chances are that even in this case shooting the pigeons might prove ineffective, simply because you cannot kill them faster than they can spawn new baby pigeons. An integrated approach to the pest problem comprises of:
Traps with live pigeons inside
.22 BB gun shots
In essence, countering the development and natural habits of the pigeons on several levels might diminish their numbers enough and/or force them to move their colonies.
Pest control approaches in the urban areas
It's fairly evident that the rural methods wouldn't have the same success rates in large cities with big pigeon colonies. Therefore, municipalities prefer to opt for the introduction of natural real/fake predators in the habitat of the pigeons as well as feeding them with contraceptive-filled seeds. The idea is to either reduce their numbers or determine them to relocate to less sensitive regions like the outskirts of the main cities.
However, the current approach does not exactly solve the problem, but relocates it. Nevertheless, one thing is for certain: pigeons cannot be allowed to multiply at this rate within human inhabited territory because soon enough, the birds will become unmanageable as their number escalates!