An Urban Pest
Flocks of feral pigeons have become an increasingly common sight in many towns and cities. They thrive in urban areas in particular because there is usually a good food source and also because of the absence of predators. The result is that they can become a pest in built up areas.
What Attracts Pigeons?
More people are choosing to buy from "fast food" outlets and to eat their snacks and meals outdoors. The amount of food spillage and litter containing food waste has increased in recent years, and this source of food has been exploited by the feral pigeon population.
Feeding is one of the main reasons why flocks congregate around many shopping centres. Some people feed pigeons in the mistaken belief that the activities of the birds are harmless to humans.
Vacant buildings, structural defects and building design can all provide attractive roosting sites. Various proofing methods are available to deter roosting.
Pigeons cause many problems including:
Fouling of Buildings
Fouling occurs where birds nest or roost. Apart from being unsightly, the acidic droppings can erode stonework resulting in costly long term damage. Gutters and drainpipes can become blocked causing flooding. Ladders and fire escapes can become coated with droppings, making them unsafe to use.
Hazards to Pedestrians and Drivers
Pigeon droppings are a danger to the public as they can cause slippery pavements and roads. Startled flocks will take flight suddenly, causing hazards to pedestrians and drivers.
Encouragement of Other Pests
The feeding of pigeons attracts rats and mice, which take any uneaten food. Pigeon nests, droppings and dead carcasses provide a home for a wide variety of insects. These infestations can spread into buildings causing nuisance, damage and skin irritation.
Pigeons carry a number of potentially infectious diseases such as Salmonellosis, Tuberculosis and Ornithosis. Contamination of food by pigeon droppings or by the birds themselves can transmit these diseases to humans.
Why Pigeons Should Not Be Fed
- Human food lacks the necessary nutrients the birds require for good health.
- Feeding attracts pigeons into an area that is potentially hazardous to them - resulting in damage to wings and feet.
- Feeding results in all year round breeding which causes overcrowding in roosting sites, allowing disease to spread quickly within the flock. The birds therefore live in an unhealthy and stressful condition, exposed to parasites and disease which can be passed on to other wild birds.
- Pigeons are wild birds, capable of searching out their own natural food supply. Regular feeding by humans destroys their ability to fend for themselves and makes them dependent on humans.
What Can We All Do?
- Dispose of food carefully!
- Use litterbins provided!
- Do not feed the pigeons!