Pigeon Handling

Identification | Biology | Damage ID | Management |Handling



In rescue situations (e.g., from chimneys or basements), birds can be released on‐site, provided the entrance has been secured properly.


Translocation of pigeons is not recommended because of their homing ability. Pigeons can fly hundreds of miles and return to the original flock. Releasing pigeons back to the “wild” is impractical. Pigeons are likely to return even when released 50 or more miles (>80 km) from the problem site, or become pests in other communities.  


Carbon dioxide is the preferred method of euthanasia. All birds expire relatively quickly in a carbon dioxide environment. Cervical dislocation is another option for euthanasia for staff with training and experience. Grasp the bird firmly in one arm, and with the other grasp its head between thumb and index finger. Pull and twist in a quick jerk to break the neck.

For large-scale pigeon control projects, the most cost-effective and humane method is to use a carbon monoxide (CO) or carbon dioxide (CO2) gas chamber. These chambers use commercially available compressed CO or CO2 in gas cylinders. The chambers can be purchased commercially or be constructed by modifying a garbage can or 55-gallon (209 l) drum with a tight-fitting lid having a hole for a gas supply line. Birds will expire in 5 to 7 minutes (using CO or CO2), when the gas flow displaces approximately 20% of the chamber volume per minute. Chambers should be used in well-ventilated areas, preferably outside, to protect personnel.  


Check your local and state regulations regarding carcass disposal.