How do you get rid of pigeons?
Almost everyone that has attracted this invasive species to their yard has asked themselves this question.
Pigeons can be incredibly problematic. First, these rather large birds can take over your feeding station, crowding out all the beautiful songbirds. The pigeons scarf down as much food as possible, and unfortunately, they aren’t polite enough to leave any for the other birds.
Not to mention that pigeons make a huge mess with their waste! The feces is highly acidic and can stain the surface of anything it touches, such as your roof or car. If that isn’t bad enough, pigeon poop can carry a host of diseases and parasites!
And pigeons don’t come by themselves. Once they find your house, they tell all of their pigeon friends, and soon you have giant flocks of these birds coming to eat every….single….day.
But today I have good news.
I am sharing 8 ways to prevent pigeons.
Specifically, this post is organized into THREE different sections.
Are you ready to battle your pigeons?
How to keep pigeons off your bird feeders (4 tips)
Pigeons are considered “Bully Birds,” which means that they don’t always play nicely with the other birds that visit your feeders.
One big problem is that pigeons rarely visit alone. Typically, a whole flock of these birds arrives together, and the group completely takes over your feeding station. The pigeons don’t allow any other birds to feed and can become aggressive when protecting “their” food.
And did I mention how much they poop?
Luckily, with a few adjustments, you should have no problem keeping pigeons away from your bird feeders!
Tip #1: Use feeders that pigeons can’t use!
We have already established that pigeons are quite large, which is one reason a flock of them can annoyingly eat so much. Pigeons are also not incredibly athletic when compared to other birds that can cling and feed upside down.
Knowing these facts, we can employ bird feeders that use a pigeon’s size and lack of athletic ability against themselves.
Here are TWO types of feeders that pigeons can’t use.
- For even more options, try reading this post: 7 Bird Feeders For SMALL Birds In MY Backyard.
A. Tube feeders:
A classic tube feeder works well at preventing these unwanted birds. Pigeons are too big to fit their bodies onto the small perches that stick out.
I am currently using tube feeders made by Aspects, and I have been happy with their performance and easiness to clean.
- A. Large: 20 inches long, 6 feeding ports, and feeding capacity is 1.75 quarts.
- B. Medium: 16 inches long, 4 feeding ports, and feeding capacity is 1.25 quarts.
Make sure you don’t add a tray to the bottom of your tube feeder because this provides a large landing area for pigeons!
These types of feeders ONLY allow small birds to eat. If a large bird, such as a pigeon, lands on the perch, then access to the food is closed because the bird is too heavy.
Here are two effective options:
Weight-sensitive feeders also prevent squirrels and blackbirds (starlings, grackles)!
Tip #2: Keep the ground as clean as possible.
Now that we have discussed bird feeders that pigeons can’t use, the next step is to make sure there isn’t food on the ground for them to eat.
Pigeons like eating on the ground the best. Think of a city park that has pigeons everywhere. These birds are always walking on the ground, looking for food!.
To keep pigeons away, you must do a fantastic job of keeping the area underneath your feeders clean.
Unfortunately, this means you will need to put your ground feeders away, at least temporarily, until these invasive birds have moved on. Make sure not to dump any seed on the ground. The food must go inside the feeders and nowhere else!
Lastly, make sure to analyze the feeders you’re using to see if it’s easy for birds to dump seed. Many birds like to pick through a seed mix to find their favorite foods, and in the process, they drop A LOT of food on the ground. And guess who is on the ground just waiting for this to happen – our pesky pigeons!
- RELATED: The 15 Best Bird Feeders In MY Backyard!
Hopper style feeders or any feeder with a platform typically makes it easy for birds to discard unwanted food to the ground.
Tip #3: Use food that pigeons won’t eat.
A really good strategy to get rid of pigeons is to only offer foods in your backyard that these birds WON’T eat. Eventually, these birds will go somewhere else if there is no food for them.
So what foods prevent pigeons?
Here is my list of “pigeon prevention“ food!
While pigeons will eat many different types of foods, you will want to avoid using their FAVORITES. This is especially true if any of these foods might fall to the ground. Here is a list of some things they LOVE to eat:
- Sunflower seed
- Millet (both white and red)
- Cracked corn
- Canary seed
You will want to be careful when purchasing CHEAP birdseed mixes. Typically, these less expensive food products contain a much higher percentage of things like milo, millet, and cracked corn. These grains do not cost as much as other types of birdseed, which is why they appear in such high quantities in cheap food.
But as you can see, pigeons LOVE milo and millet (along with House Sparrows)! And the biggest problem is that most songbirds that you actually want won’t eat this stuff. They prefer foods like peanuts, sunflower, and safflower.
Tip #4: Feed pigeons separately.
I know that many people actually enjoy feeding pigeons and having them around, but they just don’t want them scaring away all of the other birds that visit.
If this describes you, then this strategy may be perfect!
Instead of trying to get rid of the pigeons, you are going to feed them as much as they want to eat. But you are going to do this in a location that is far and away from your other bird feeders. This technique works because it keeps the pigeons distracted and away from your primary feeding station.
To set up an area to feed pigeons, remember these two things:
- Pigeons prefer feeding on the ground. So I’d recommend getting a few trays that you can fill with food. My favorite feeding platform is made by Woodlink.
- Fill the feeding trays with foods that pigeons LOVE, but not many other birds enjoy eating. This includes milo, bread, and oatmeal. Cracked corn also works well and this food is incredibly inexpensive!
Now you just need to find a spot that is away from your main bird feeding station!
How to get pigeons to leave your yard.
My first four tips were designed to keep pigeons off your bird feeders.
But if these persistent birds have taken an interest in sticking around your yard, you may need to implement a few additional strategies to make them leave.
There must be something pleasing about your backyard that makes them want to stay. Your job is to take this thing away or annoy them so much their only choice is to leave. 🙂
Tip #5: Get rid of places where they roost and nest!
One reason that pigeons stick around your yard is they may have found a place that they enjoy roosting or nesting. This could be on a windowsill, roof, or any other spot that feels safe.
Pigeons that never leave your yard will make a huge mess with their poop. Also, you may think that a “cooing” pigeon sounds relaxing, but try to imagine dozens of them doing it all at once throughout the entire day! I’ve heard from people that say the non-stop cooing is maddening!
Luckily, there are some inexpensive products you can purchase that will help deter pigeons and keep them away. Both of these products are safe as well (you won’t find me recommending anything that hurts a pigeon).
Bird-X Stainless Steel Bird Spikes View Price - Amazon
This product has a simple concept to get rid of pigeons; put stainless steel spikes wherever these birds like to land!
As you can see, there is a ZERO chance of a large pigeon landing on top of these spikes. The birds will get discouraged and have to move on somewhere else. And don’t worry, this solution is 100% humane. The pigeons can see the spikes and never actually land upon them and get hurt.
Bird spikes are easy to install with screws, nails, or ties. They are also incredibly durable since they are made from stainless steel. They even have a flexible base, so the spikes can be placed on a curved surface.
Once you know what to look for, my guess is you will start noticing bird spikes on a lot of buildings. For example, they are common on many large signs to prevent nesting birds.
The only negative to bird spikes is the physical appearance of them on your home or building.
Bird-X Bird-Proof Repellant View Price - Amazon
Similar to the bird spikes listed above, bird gel needs to be placed on areas that pigeons frequent. Look for places that they commonly land to roost or nest.
You will need a caulking gun to spread the gel. Apply anywhere that pigeons tend to sit, such as on ledges, window sills, rooftops, rafters, light poles, gutters, beams, or signs. The gel is very sticky and unpleasant, and pigeons won’t want to get it on their feet.
The gel does not harm the birds and is made from non-toxic materials. This product is not like a sticky trap for rodents, which agonizingly kills pests once trapped. Bird gel is designed to make it uncomfortable.
Once applied, the gel lasts about a year, depending on your local weather. The nice part about bird repellant gel is the fact you can’t tell it’s even there, so the aesthetics are much better than bird spikes.
Tip #6: Pigeon Proof Your Home.
If pigeons don’t leave your home alone, then you need to spend some time “pigeon proofing.”
Take a walk around your house and look for areas where pigeons are sitting and using. Specifically, here are some things you should look for:
Install covers on open vents:
- Open vents provide spaces for pigeons to build nests. Luckily, there are inexpensive screens and covers you can purchase to cover the vents. Make sure to buy the correct shape and size.
- Don’t forget to check your attic for any vents that need sealed!
Cap your chimney:
- Pigeons are known to block chimneys with their nests. Birds can also get stuck and perish inside them.
Bird-proof your garden:
- An inexpensive way to prevent pigeons and other birds from getting into your garden is to install netting. Just make sure to check the nets every day to make sure no birds become tangled or trapped.
Tip #7: Try this sound machine.
CLEANRTH Advanced Ultrasonic Bird Repeller View Price - Amazon
Using a sound machine is a unique way to try to get rid of pigeons.
Here’s how they work:
The machines use ultrasonic sound to scare away birds. Humans are not able to hear ultrasonic noises because the frequency is too high. But birds can hear the noises just fine.
These bird repellers are motion-activated, which means they won’t omit any sound until activated by a bird traveling in front of it. The CLEANRTH sound machine featured above can detect warm bodies up to 82 feet away, and the loud sounds cover an area of 5,000 square feet!
What I like about ultrasonic sound machines is they are humane; no bird has ever been hurt by a loud noise!
I want to provide a warning about bird repelling sound machines. Most people seem to have success using them, but there are some mixed reviews. Here are a few potential problems:
- Birds aren’t scared of the noises: It seems some pigeons are not affected when the machine starts emitting ultrasonic sound.
- Hard to attach to a roof: If you’re having problems with pigeons on top of your house, a sound machine may not be the best option unless you get creative.
Tip #8: Trap and release.
Tomahawk Double Door Pigeon Trap View Price - Amazon
If trying to deter and scare away pigeons won’t work, then you can always trap them!
Just make sure to drive as far away from your home as possible before releasing them. I have read you need to take them at least 5 miles from your home, but I would try to take them even farther. Just know that pigeons are reasonably smart, and they may be able to find their way back to your house.
Trapping your pigeons may work temporarily, but it doesn’t solve the underlying issue of why these birds are attracted to your yard.
4 Strategies That DON’T Work (Well)
There are a few techniques that are commonly recommended for preventing pigeons that I want to discuss. Specifically, I don’t think they work entirely well. Feel free to try them, but you have been warned!
When it comes to scaring pigeons, people usually try using a fake hawk or owl somewhere on their property to give the impression that a powerful raptor is nearby.
While it sounds like a good idea, pigeons and other pest birds get used to the decoy quickly, and it’s usually not effective after a few days. But these decoys aren’t very expensive, so it may be worth a shot? The worst-case scenario is that you have a hawk or owl decoration in your yard!
2. Reflective objects and devices:
This strategy involves hanging up reflective material around your yard and hoping the constant flashing will keep pigeons away.
Results are mixed for this technique. I have found that it can work temporarily, but the birds eventually get accustomed and come back. You also are going to have reflective material hanging all over your yard!
3. Chasing them away yourself:
You can always resort to chasing away the pigeons yourself, either by yelling at them or banging pots and pans. While this strategy is free, you are probably going to get sick of doing this, and your neighbors will have a good laugh.
4. Feeding pigeons rice:
Have you ever heard that feeding pigeons dried rice will make them explode? Supposedly that once the rice starts expanding inside their stomachs, the birds are unable to regurgitate the food, and the eventual outcome is a pigeon explosion.
While this makes an entertaining story, it is just not true. If you feed pigeons rice, they are just going to tell their bird friends to come to your house to get a free meal because another crazy person believes the “pigeon eating rice makes them explode” myth.
I hope you learned how you can stop pigeons from coming to your bird feeders and house. I know these large, invasive birds can be incredibly annoying, so I wish you luck in your battle against them.
I’m confident that by trying a few of the strategies listed above, you will annoy the pigeons enough to get them to go somewhere else.
Thanks for reading! Before you go, can you please answer one question for me?
What is your favorite strategy that prevents pigeons?