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National Wildlife Control Training Program vol. 1.

Pigeon Control

Scientific Name: Scientific Name:  Columba liviaPigeons loafing on a girder. Columba livia


Pigeon squab on nest in attic
Description: shows bird among fecal pellets in darkness of an attic
Photo Credits: Kirk LaPierre, A1 Saver Services

Pigeon squabSign

Usually very easy to see as pigeons are not shy around people.


  • Deface buildings with droppings
  • Contaminate facilities with droppings
  • eat stored grains; droppings may kill vegetation, deface buildings and cause health or safety hazards


Habitat ModificationPigeons next to porcupine wire

  • Remove food
  • Ban the feeding of pigeons
  • Nest removal (protect yourself against disease)
  • Install 45 degree angles on ledges.
  • Exclude pigeons with netting and various ledge spiked products
  • Description: Porcupine wire products, properly installed will deter roosting. Photo Credits: DavePurwin, Desert Wildlife Services, Inc.

Birth Control

  • Nicarbazin (is the active ingredient)--birds eat the pellets and are unable to lay fertile eggs. This product may help minimize the growth of goose populations before their numbers become intolerable. See our vendors if you wish to purchase this product.


sticky bird repellent
  • Sticky "glue" or tactile repellents. These may be of temporary use where dust and potential staining is not a consideration.  If you decide to use them, be sure to follow directions carefully. Also never use on an unprotected surface as the glue can be very difficult to remove
Avitrol bird repellent
  • Avitrol®-This restricted use product works by frightening a flock through the distress of birds who get a lethal dose.
Owl effigy by Stephen Vantassel
  • Effigies and audible repellents rarely work over a long period of time. Note bird standing on top of the owl effigy.



pigeons in live trap Description: shows many pigeons caught within a low-rise cage trap. Photo Credits: Critter Control, Inc.


  • Pellet guns, where legal, can be an effective control measure for small populations.


  • Consult with licensed pesticide applicator



  • Pigeon Droppings can contain e-coli bacteria. An artical in Northampton's Daily Hampshire Gazette of Oct. 29,1999. The town of Belchertown, MA had a boil water order. The reason was pigeon droppings washed into towns water tower and test prove that the droppings contained E.coli. The DEP did not think that pigeons carry E.coli.
  • Cleaning up droppings

Legal Issues

  • Pigeons are not Federally protected as they are an invasive species to the United States. However, some communities have adopted laws to protect them.

Living With Pigeons


Publications & Resources

Pigeon Control--Michigan State University HTML

Pigeon Control--Purdue Univ.

Urban Pest Birds-Univ. of Nebraska-Lincoln Urban Pest Birds University of Nebraska-Lincoln



  • April 6, 2007. Court has pigeon problems. Small Town Papers New Srvc.
  • Britain: Mother killed by pigeon disease

The first recorded death from pigeon lung, caused by proximity to feral pigeons, has raised fears that a sharp increase in the birds' population poses a previously unsuspected threat to health.
Doctors say a 37-year-old mother of five contracted the illness as a reaction to pigeons nesting outside her home. It is the first time that a death has been linked to feral rather than captive-bred pigeons and doctors are urging GPs to watch for asthma-like symptoms.

An estimated 2,000 people a year in Britain are catching infections from wild pigeons, which carry up to 60 diseases. In five years the number of pigeons in British towns and cities is estimated to have doubled. In Trafalgar Square alone there are 30,000 to 40,000.

The case of the mother, from Rotterdam, Holland, was reported in the medical journal Pediatrics last week.

Dr Gideon du Marchie Sarvaas, who treated the family, said: "The fire escape at the back would get pigeon debris on it and was cleaned regularly by the mother and one child at a time. That, we think, is why the mother had the most severe symptoms and died. The father, who did no cleaning, was unaffected." The children are being treated for the illness.

Dr Tim Wreghitt at the Public Health Laboratory Service said 60% of pigeons are infected with disease. "Inhaling dust from dried faeces can give you an infection," he said. He said that under-reporting made assessment difficult: "We made it notifiable in this area and tripled the number of cases.

"Nationally we are only seeing the tip of an iceberg. Cases have increased steadily since the 1970s and the total is 300 a year, but I think those could be multiplied tenfold."

Tony Higginbotham, 32, who works for a pest control company, contracted a bacterial disease from pigeon droppings. "I was wearing full protective equipment but I still got it. I had flu-like symptoms and headaches, couldn't stand the light and was off my food," he said. "I was off work for almost a month, but it was six months before I was 100% again."

There is no coherent government policy. The environment department spends thousands of pounds to keep pigeons off the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square, yet licenses vendors to sell food for the birds. Nearby, Railtrack
fines people who feed pigeons at Charing Cross station.

  • Britain: Disease alert over pigeons after death

A coroner warned people to keep well away from pigeons in public places after an inquest heard yesterday that a man died from a rare ailment known as pigeon fancier's lung, even though he never kept the birds himself.
Arthur Oliver, 49, probably contracted the breathing disorder in his youth from dust in the lofts of pigeons owned by his father, although his only contact was helping him to release them on race days.

Mr Oliver, who was due to marry in a few weeks, had suffered breathlessness earlier, but the first serious signs of the disorder, known as extrinsic allergic alveolitis, appeared only last month, ten years after his father
died and the birds were taken away.

Recording a verdict of accidental death, Stanley Hooper, the South Yorkshire Coroner, issued a warning against making contact with pigeons in places such as Trafalgar Square. "The threat is very real as these birds are everywhere
and not just homing pigeons."

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