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Pigeons are capable of devising quite complex strategies for getting into buildings, often waiting outside warehouses etc. for regular opening and closing times. I’m sure that everyone has seen them gathering when they know that it’s almost time for their favourite benefactor to deliver food.

Legend has it that the Feral Pigeon, (Bos Duiwe, Rock Dove, City Dove etc.) first came to our country as another of Cecil Rhodes’ repatriation schemes, and that the ancestors of today’s millions were used to ferry messages behind enemy lines during the 2nd World War.

Well, regardless of this illustrious beginning, Pigeons are now responsible for the majority of Bird Infestation problems being experienced both commercially and domestically. Part of the problem is that a pair of pigeons, which mate for life, have the capacity to produce 320 babies over a potential period of twenty years sexual maturity. One really doesn’t need to be a mathematical genius to calculate how quickly a population grows at those rates. This is often why the problem seems to “suddenly” appear … they were there all along, but two years can make a big difference to the numbers.

If one adds to this the fact that there are virtually no natural predators (except the occasional lucky cat that isn’t afraid of heights), and the way they have perfectly adapted to the urban environment, scavenging for scraps of virtually anything edible, it is hardly surprising that they are becoming avian terrorist number one.

Even so, if it weren’t for the problems that they cause, one may accept their growing presence as simply part of life’s rich tapestry. Sadly, however, the numbers are only the beginning. Pigeons infest property by way of nesting or roosting. Roosting is usually somewhere comfortable to sit during the day or to sleep at night when they are not busy making families. Often they will have a daytime roosting spot, possibly close to a food source, and a night time roosting spot which protects them from the elements and those who wish to do them harm, and they may travel quite large distances from one to the other.

Like us, they also want somewhere warm and snug to bring their young into the world and they will often try to get into ceilings through unprotected roof edges, or they will enter commercial buildings to find a secure corner. Air-conditioners are a favourite because of the heat generated.

Pigeons are about the only Birds that will, in the absence of other materials, or even as a cement, use their own droppings to build a nest. Once set, the structure is quite sound and they will add to it in each new season. We have seen many situations where stalagmites of droppings reach over a metre in height when left uninterrupted. When dry, these droppings harbour over 40 known diseases including Salmonellosis, Cryptococcosis, Histoplasmosis and Ornithosis, the latter two causing blindness and even death.

Accumulating and decaying Bird droppings create offensive odours and will attract flies and other disease carrying insects, especially during summer. The droppings are exceptionally corrosive and can irreparably damage fresh paint on buildings in a matter of a few weeks. In fact, such is the corrosive property that, left unchecked, the droppings will go on to burn their way through the concrete or plaster beneath the paint. Needless to say, if you are unlucky enough to have your car decorated by them, the paint will be badly stained, sometimes requiring professional buffing even if caught early.

Should you be unfortunate enough to have a nesting Infestation, there is a strong chance that the Birds will leave behind a nest full of lice.

Last, but definitely not least, the droppings contain a whole gathering of microorganisms that are generally pretty bad for the health.

If you are experiencing infestation or contamination caused by Pigeons, Bird Deterrent Specialists has the solution. Please don’t hesitate to contact us on +27 (0) 21 797 7788 or [email protected].