Pigeons, while seemingly harmless and gentle as seen strolling around the park, are far from just that. Pigeons can cause a lot of harm not only to humans but also to livestock we might have on our property and other assets. What can we do to keep them away?
Pigeons like to roost on flat balconies of barns, houses, awnings, and apartments. You can stop pigeons from pooping on your balcony by placing strips of mylar tape. The shine from the tape will make it difficult for pigeons to see where they’re landing and choose a different landing spot.
Pigeons are a pest, plain and simple. If they’re around, you’ve probably seen their droppings all over and it isn’t pleasant either. Here are some simple ways you can help get rid of pigeons and keep your home and balcony clean as can be.
Why Should I Keep Pigeons Away?
While seemingly harmless from the few paragraphs above, pigeons are bothersome to have around. They poop everywhere and not only is that gross and unappealing, but it’s also dangerous.
Pigeon poop is toxic and can actually corrode buildings if left and not cleaned. If they poop into things like grain bins and water, your livestock might also feel the effects. Without properly taking care of their business, you can run into some real problems.
The fact of the matter is that if you have pigeons pooping on your balcony, you have more to worry about than just the poop. Fortunately, there are some things you can do to not only stop it after it has happened but prevent it from happening in the first place.
So, if you’re trying to keep pigeon poop off of your balcony and out of your life, I have some great tips for you!
Tips to Keep pigeons From Pooping On your balcony
Prevent Pigeons from coming to your Balcony in the first place
According to Penn State, pigeons (along with starlings and swallows) are one of the only birds in the United States that you don’t need a permit from the Fish and Wildlife Service to trap, bait, or remove from your property.
The best way to get rid of your pigeon problem is to prevent it in the first place.
Pigeons are scavengers so they are constantly looking for food and water that’s easy to find. You can prevent them from coming to your place by ensuring any pet or livestock food is kept in a clean and closed container.
Also, if you use a water trough you can make sure that the water is not so full that a pigeon could stand on the sides of the trough and drink but not so shallow that they could stand on the bottom either.
You can also get yourself some cats and even think about considering a catwalk along balconies to give the cats better access to those pesky pigeons. Cats are natural predators and are eager to help around the homestead. If you feed them, they’ll help you. Kind of a “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours kind” of thing!
You can also consider putting plastic strips in your doorways or down long hallways that a pigeon might use to access rafters or ledges they are roosting on to keep them from pooping.
If you’ve ever seen the big strips of plastic that go into a commercial cooler (like at a gas station) those would work, or even if you can just find some heavy-duty plastic, that will work great.
This Farm Plastic Supply Clear Plastic Sheeting is a great option as it is not only heavy-duty and can withstand being outside in the elements, but it is also large enough to fit in doorways without much trimming.
The University of Nevada gives another great prevention tip by explaining that you can discourage feeding pigeons in any sort of manner. If you live near a park, discourage people from feeding pigeons as a pastime and try to educate them on the hazards of pigeons. If you have bird feeders, consider holding off until you can control your pigeon problem.
Exclude pigeons from certain areas of your property
Pigeons hate to be excluded from anything. Rafters, ledges, birthday parties, you name it. And I thought I have FOMO!
Exclusion can take many forms starting with closing off all vents and openings that a pigeon might be able to fit through. You can close these vents off with things like mesh or screens so that airflow is still possible but a pigeon squeezing through is not.
For bigger openings (like doorways) you can use the plastic sheeting mentioned above or you can even use big, heavy curtains to make it even more difficult for the birds to pass through. If living is not easy for a pigeon in one household, they will move to another to find a better spot to hang out.
When it comes to rafters and ledges, it’s a good idea to take a look at them and notice if they are all flat surfaces. If you’re dealing with all flat surfaces, you can start making them harder to live in.
You can take boards of sheet metal and start creating 45-degree slopes on your balconies or ledges so that it is not only harder for the pigeons to stand on but it’s so much harder to have a nest, build a nest, raise eggs, and live in altogether.
If you’re dealing with pigeons in more of a rafter-type environment, you can try closing the spaces just above the rafters with something like spray foam. Spray foam like this Loctite 2378565 Foam Sealant is a great option as it is incredibly easy to work with. If you close the gap where the pigeons are trying to stand you will have a lot fewer pigeons coming around.
Also, if your pigeon house guests are using a pipe to stand on and utilize as their living quarters, you can try taking a fishing line and running it above the pipe in a tight line. This will make it much more difficult for the birds to stand on the pipe with that line in the way.
Lastly, for exclusion, you can try putting things like porcupine wire in the spaces that the birds are occupying to make it more uncomfortable for them.
The more uncomfortable for them, the better for you. Those birds will be packing their bags!
If you’d like, check out this article on 8 Scents That Pigeons Hate (And How To Use Them) for more ideas on ways to get rid of those pesky pigeons!
Use Mylar Tape to Make pigeons feel unwelcome On Your balcony
The University of Missouri recommends using mylar tape as a reflective, shiny surface that has the potential to kick off a lot of heat and reflect light into the eyes of unwelcome pigeons if used correctly. You can take this tape and place it about every half foot on your balcony and while this will not damage your home or your balcony, it will make the birds feel very unwelcome.
This Bird Deterrent Top Value Double Sided Reflective Tape is designed specifically for birds, so while you could just use regular Mylar tape this will do a better job in the getting-rid-of-pigeons department. It is heavy-duty to withstand being outside and so reflective!
Place Revolving Lights and Bright Flags Around your Balcony to Deter Pigeons
While pigeons can cause quite the headache, they aren’t a fan of things that give us headaches either! They don’t like revolving lights or big bright flags. While this might seem a bit obnoxious if you live in town, it can help you to get those birds off your balcony.
Take something small and simple like a revolving, battery-powered night light and put that out on your balcony with some double-sided industrial strength tape. Or, you could get some colorful flags and hang them on your balcony.
Use Sticky Spray to Make Pigeons Uncomfortable
Applied a lot like mylar tape, sticky spray (or brush on adhesive) is used to make pigeons uncomfortable. Simply spray it on your ledges and balconies and the birds won’t enjoy stepping on it.
Stick spray can also damage their nests if they pull bits out with their sticky feet. It makes collecting harder and living more difficult for them and can be great for keeping them away.
The only issue with this is you need to make sure you either reapply or check to see if your product is drying out in the sunshine. Also, it can be kind of messy if you’re applying it with a brush!
Make Loud Noises that scare pigeons away
Again, this one might be a bit obnoxious if you live in town, but it can help you if it is a good fit for you. To do this, you can either make noise by hitting pots and pans around pigeons or you can use a speaker/noise machine and play sounds from that.
This should help stop them before the pigeons poop on your balcony.
Set pigeon Traps Around Your Balcony To Prevent Them From Pooping
According to the University of Florida, there are a few different types of traps you can use. If you are looking at a smaller problem, a bob trap is best and if you’re looking at a larger issue, a loft trap would work better for you.
Either trap is about the same, the bird goes in to retrieve the bait and the bird is trapped inside.
Set out bait where you want to set the trap, then when you place the trap make a line of bait going into the trap to help lure the birds inside.
Please however, as a disclaimer, contact a local pest control professional before using this method.
Use Lifelike Scarecrows to frighten pigeons away
There was a study on scarecrows and pigeons and it was found that scarecrows work for pigeons but only if they are lifelike. Unfortunately, no cutesy smiling scarecrows with rosy, round cheeks for this one!
You can do this by dressing your scarecrow in regular clothes and creating almost a face mask by tipping the hat down. Use gloves on the fingers instead of exposed straw or lining to help avoid the pigeons taking it for nesting.
The more lifelike, the better!
I highly recommend moving the scarecrow around from time to time. This will ensure that the pigeons don’t get used to the scarecrow’s positioning and won’t realize that he’s fake. Place the scarecrow in areas where pigeons are pooping on your balcony.
Where Did Pigeons Come From?
Pigeons were first documented over 5,000 years ago in Mesopotamia. Being that they’ve been around for so long, it’s pretty obvious that they are one of the most well-known and recognizable birds in the entire world. Just about everyone has seen a pigeon at least once in their time. Or, if you live in a city, you likely see one every time you walk down the street!
According to Missouri State University, pigeons (otherwise known as Columbalvia) came to the United States from Europe. They were supposed to be domesticated animals, but they ended up escaping and creating the feral populations that we know today.
Pigeons make nests out of basically anything that they can find. They use common things you see in a bird’s nest (like straw and leaves, sticks and grass), but also use things like garbage to create homes for themselves and their families. Talk about a smelly house!
The University of Florida presented an article about how pigeons prefer to live in cliffside caves but will settle for artificial ones, like in architecture or unkept buildings (or under your roof!).
Pigeons can live up to 15 years in the right environments and will eat just about anything, with grain as their main dish. They often target farms because grain is plentiful there. Pigeons are also not picky eaters and will gladly snack on garbage and food scraps. Their main source of food, in fact, is from humans feeding them by hand or through bird feeders.
Wrapping it up!
Overall, pigeons are no fun to have around. While they might seem like fun birds they can be very harmful. Remember, prevention is key and if you can’t prevent it, you can exclude, trap, DIY, whatever works for you to get rid of them and stop them from pooping on your balcony.
Best of luck tackling your pigeon problem!
Gould, J. L. (1982). The map sense of pigeons. Nature, 296(5854), 205-211.
Haag-Wackernagel, D., & Moch, H. (2004). Health hazards posed by feral pigeons. Journal of Infection, 48(4), 307-313.
Harlin, R. W. (1994). Pigeons. Veterinary Clinics of North America: Small Animal Practice, 24(1), 157-173.
Johnston, R. F., & Janiga, M. (1995). Feral pigeons (Vol. 4). Oxford University Press on Demand.
Shao, G. N., Kim, H., & Imran, S. M. (2016). https://www. sciencedirect. com/science/article/abs/pii/S092633731500346X.
Zack is a Nature & Wildlife specialist based in Upstate, NY, and is the founder of his Tree Journey and Pest Pointers brands. He has a vast experience with nature while living and growing up on 50+ acres of fields, woodlands, and a freshwater bass pond. Zack has encountered many pest situations over the years and has spent his time maintaining and planting over 35 species of trees since his youth with his family on their property.
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