What Are Dovecotes?

What Are Dovecotes?

What Are Dovecotes?

Dovecotes, Commonly known as:

Pigeon houses, columbaria, culver houses, pigeon cotes, dove houses

A dovecote or dovecot, doocot or columbarium is a structure intended to house pigeons or doves. Dovecotes may be free-standing structures in a variety of shapes, or built into the end of a house or barn. They generally contain pigeonholes for the birds to nest.

Widcombe Manor Farm DovecoteWidcombe Manor Farm Dovecote

Dovecotes were a common sight throughout Britain and across mainland Europe between the 16th and 19th centuries, but today few remain and of those that do, many are now in ruins. Dovecotes are specially constructed pigeon houses where pigeons were kept for a variety of purposes, but in the main as a source of food. Other uses for the domesticated pigeon were as quarry for falconry and as a target for shooting matches that were common in the 19th century and in which as many as 120 birds were shot for sport in each match. Dovecotes can be constructed of virtually any material (although early dovecotes were constructed exclusively of stone) and can be free-standing structures or provided as part of an existing structure or as a ‘lean-to’ addition.

 

 

Ancient Dovecote at EmbletonAncient Dovecote at Embleton

The earliest dovecotes may have been introduced to Britain by the Romans based on the fact that pigeon rearing was common in Italy with dovecotes being provided close to villas and farmsteads for the purpose of food. Over half a century ago C.D. Chalmers suggested that a number of unexplained foundations on Roman sites in Britain were the remains of ancient dovecotes, but his views have never been corroborated. Due to the lack of any firm evidence that dovecotes were introduced into Britain by the Romans it is likely that it was the Normans that first introduced the dovecote and as a result domesticated the rock dove from which the feral pigeon of today is descended.

 

One of the earliest British examples is believed to be a 12th century dovecote that was uncovered during archaeological works in Raunds, Northamptonshire. This early dovecote is circular and commonly known as a ‘rubblestone dovecote’. A number of these early rubblestone dovecotes, dating back to the 12th and 13th centuries, have been uncovered throughout southern England in recent years and with quite a significant geographical spread ranging from Devon in the south-west through to Lincolnshire in the east. These early dovecotes were built mainly to service the culinary needs of monasteries, castles and manors but were the sole preserve of the wealthy and almost certainly beyond the means of the poor. In Medieval and Norman times the building of a dovecote was a feudal right restricted to lords of the manor, abbots and barons with these privileges eventually extending down to the humble parish priest. Today very few of these structures remain intact.

 

Much Marcle DovecoteMuch Marcle Dovecote

It was in the 16th century that dovecotes became popular in Britain with a huge variety of different designs and types being constructed. Ancient dovecotes are believed to be round in shape but later in the 17th century square, rectangular and octagonal dovecotes were built, some with incredibly intricate designs. Further designs and types include ‘lectern’ dovecotes, ‘in and out’ dovecotes, ‘polygon’ dovecotes and even caves have been adapted for the keeping of domesticated pigeons. Lectern dovecotes are shaped like a reading desk, hence their common name, and normally consisted of a 4-sided building with a single pitched roof with raised parapet walls on 3 sides. In and out dovecotes, sometimes known as Irish dovecotes, consisted of tiers of breeding cubicles together with perching ledges that were built into the exterior wall of a house or building. Polygon dovecotes (polygon, in this context, meaning a building with more than 5 sides) are more often than not octagonal structures ranging dramatically in size and often housing large numbers of birds. Caves, both coastal and inland, have been used to house domestic pigeons but their use is less common than the conventional dovecote.

 

 

Breeding Cubicles, Shobdon Court DovecoteBreeding Cubicles,
Shobdon Court Dovecote

The interior of a dovecote is usually a large open space with the breeding cubicles or ledges being offered in rows around the internal walls. Pigeons would enter the dovecote in a variety of ways, depending on the size, shape and type of structure, with the most common entry/exit point (known as the flight entrance) being provided beneath a cupola on the roof of the structure. The birds would be encouraged to roost and breed within the structure and as pigeons are quite prolific breeders, bringing up to 8 young into the world each year, competition for breeding cubicles would be high.

 

As the main purpose of a dovecote was to provide food, and as the pigeon squab (or chick) was seen as a delicacy, squabs would be ‘farmed’ when they achieved a certain age and size (normally 4 weeks of age). In the 16th century eating pigeon meat became much more popular with ‘pigeon pie’ becoming a delicacy and often described as ‘food fit for kings’ – this rather dispels the myth that pigeons are disease carriers! As a result of this popularisation, pigeon meat not only graced the tables of the monarchy and the rich, it became a standard food for the masses and it was commonly said that every family should eat squab at least once a week. Some squab ‘farms’ were believed to house anything from 10,000 to 30,000 birds to satisfy this demand.

 

Cross-section of Classic DovecoteCross-section of
Classic Dovecote

In order to access breeding cubicles and remove squabs an ingenious system had to be designed based on the inaccessibility of nests and the sheer height and size of some of the larger dovecotes. For smaller dovecotes a free-standing ladder was used for access but for larger structures a ‘potence’ was used, although more commonly for round rather than square or rectangular dovecotes. The potence consisted of a large vertical wooden pole situated in the centre of the interior and which was pivoted both at the base and at the top, allowing the pole to rotate 360°. Several lateral arms were joined to the vertical post at right angles to which ladders were attached. As the main pole was rotated the lateral arms and ladders also rotated around the interior allowing access to all the breeding cubicles.

 

 

Dovecote at GodminsterDovecote at Godminster

Although the provision of food was the main purpose of the dovecote, there was one interesting and highly valued by-product that had a dual purpose – pigeon guano! Pigeon guano was, and still is, considered to be one of the finest fertilisers in the world and was a highly prized commodity as a result. In the Middle East (where eating pigeon flesh was forbidden) dovecotes were built simply to provide manure for growing fruit and this practice continued for centuries. In France, Italy and Spain guano was used extensively on hemp crops and for the fertilisation of vineyards and in England it was considered to be an extremely potent manure. It was often said that pigeon guano was worth 10 loads of other sorts (manure).

 

 

Dovecote at Weetwood HallDovecote at Weetwood Hall

In the 16th century pigeon guano was sought after for a different reason – it was found to contain saltpetre, which was used for the manufacture of gunpowder. This secret was brought across from Germany and sold for a payment of £300, which would have been a huge sum in those days. This dramatically changed the role of the dovecote in light of the fact that guano was potentially valued more highly than the birds themselves and to protect this resource armed guards were often placed outside dovecotes to stop thieves stealing the guano. Production of saltpetre from pigeon guano ended in the late 18th century when it was found to be naturally occurring in South America.

 

 

Dovecote at Kings PyonDovecote at Kings Pyon

Although the commercial use of dovecotes died out in the 19th century with many magnificent examples being allowed to fall into disrepair due to neglect, they have experienced something of a re-birth in the 21st century with dovecotes being used for the control of the feral pigeon, a direct descendent of the domesticated dovecote bird. Dovecotes and pigeon lofts are now commonly used for the control of the feral pigeon in towns and cities all over the world, with the notable exception of the USA.

The principle of using a dovecote (or pigeon loft) as a pigeon control option was pioneered by the Pigeon Control Advisory Service International (PiCAS International) and can be loosely described as a form of birth control. Pigeons are encouraged into a dovecote by the provision of a dedicated public feeding area, sited immediately beside the dovecote, where the public will be asked to feed the birds at the same time as being asked to cease feeding elsewhere. Pigeons will then take up residence in the dovecote (based on the close proximity of a good reliable food source) and once breeding starts all eggs are removed, as laid, and replaced with dummy eggs. Where a pigeon loft is used for the purpose of control rather than a dovecote the facility would be sited on the roof of a building or even within the roof of a building, rather than at ground level. Pigeons would be encouraged into the loft by the provision of food and once breeding starts eggs would be removed and replaced in the same way as with a dovecote facility.

 

Bailiffscourt DovecoteBailiffscourt Dovecote

This humane, effective and cost effective method of control is rapidly replacing the extreme use of lethal control, commonly used to control pigeon populations in the 21st century. Schemes using dovecotes, or artificial breeding facilities as they are now commonly known, have achieved staggering results where provided as a control option, often reducing pigeon flock size by as much as 50% and in some cases by as much as 95%. Pigeons will readily use a dovecote facility for the purposes of breeding and providing that some basic rules are followed this method of control, based on a concept that is more than 1000 years old, will provide any property owner or local government body with a cheap, popular and highly effective means of controlling feral pigeon populations. Source

About Pigeon Patrol:

Pigeon Patrol Products & Services is the leading manufacturer and distributor of bird deterrent (control) products in Canada. Pigeon Patrol products have solved pest bird problems in industrial, commercial, and residential settings since 2000, by using safe and humane bird deterrents with only bird and animal friendly solutions. At Pigeon Patrol, we manufacture and offer a variety of bird deterrents, ranging from Ultra-flex Bird Spikes with UV protection, Bird Netting, 4-S Gel and the best Ultrasonic and audible sound devices on the market today.

Contact us at 1- 877– 4– NO-BIRD, (604) 585-9279 or visit our website at www.pigeonpatrol.ca

Pigeon / Pigeon Patrol / Pigeons Roosting / Vancouver Pigeon Patrol / Bird Control / Surrey Pigeon Control / Pest / Vancouver Pigeon Blog / Birds Inside Home / Pigeons in the cities / Ice Pigeons/  What to do about pigeons/ most common types of sparrows , Damages Caused by Sparrows, How To Keep Raccoons Away, de-fence, What Are Dovecotes?

Birds That Are Considered As Pests

Birds That Are Considered As Pests

Looking for more information about which birds are considered pests? Read on to learn more!

The Birds That Are Pests

There are six types of birds found in Canada can be classified as nuisance pests, which are the house sparrows, starlings, pigeons, woodpeckers, gulls, and Canada geese

The house sparrow is a bird of the sparrow family Passeridae, found in most parts of the world. It is a small bird that has a typical length of 16 cm and a mass of 24–39.5 g. Females and young birds are coloured pale brown and grey, and males have brighter black, white, and brown markings

Starlings are small to medium-sized passerine birds in the family Sturnidae. The name “Sturnidae” comes from the Latin word for starling, sturnus. Many Asian species, particularly the larger ones, are called mynas, and many African species are known as glossy starlings because of their iridescent plumage

European Starling Identification, All About Birds, Cornell Lab of  Ornithology

Pigeon

Next on the list is the Pigeon, Also known as the rock dove. Pigeons are known for causing diseases and damage due to their droppings. The droppings trigger human slips and falls as well as accelerating the aging of structures and statues.. Other pests that live on these birds are fleas, lice, mites, ticks and more. Pigeons vary in color but most of them are bluish gray with 2 black bands on the wing and black tip to the tail.

Rock Pigeon Source

Woodpeckers

Woodpeckers are part of the family Picidae, that also includes the piculets, wrynecks, and sapsuckers. Members of this family are found worldwide, except for Australia, New Guinea, New Zealand, Madagascar, and the extreme polar regions. A woodpecker will attack for many reasons. The attack can be for food, shelter or to attract a mate. The reasons for attack include finding insects for food, often carpenter bees, or for a nest cavity or roosting site, or for other social reasons.

Gulls

Gulls, or colloquially seagulls, are seabirds of the family Laridae in the suborder Lari. They are most closely related to the terns and only distantly related to auks, skimmers and even more distantly to waders

 

Canada Geese

The Canada goose is a large wild goose species with a black head and neck, white cheeks, white under its chin, and a brown body. It is native to arctic and temperate regions of North America, and its migration occasionally reaches northern Europe

 

How to identify Birds

Canadian bird pests vary in length, overall size, and colouration. The smallest pest bird species, house sparrows are approximately 14 to 18 cm long with a wingspan of 19 to 25 cm. At the other end of the spectrum, Canada geese boast a wingspan as long as 182 cm and range from 90 to 120 cm in length. Some of the most common bird colourations include shades of grey, white, black, and brown. Pigeons, which rank as arguably the most colourful bird pest, may appear with streaks of light blue, green, lilac, peach, and various other shades.

Signs of an infestation

Birds are not exactly stealthy creatures, and infestations usually become evident with the increased presence of adult birds, the frequent occurrence of chirping and other noises, the sighting of nests, and an increased quantity of droppings in the area.

Birds Removal

Modifying the surrounding environment can aid property owners in ridding buildings of nuisance birds. Netting or spike strips can be strategically positioned to deter or prevent birds from landing and nesting. Noise devices, such as generators that mimic the sounds that natural predators make, work best in agricultural settings, while visual scare tactics are effective in the short term or when paired with other prevention and exclusion techniques. For particularly aggressive birds and those protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, call a fully licensed pest control professional to take care of the problem legally and effectively.

How to prevent Birds from invading

Monitor water accumulating at likely nesting sites, fix any broken or deficient drainage systems, cover outdoor garbage containers tightly, eliminate any notable sources of food.

Habitat, Diet, and Life Cycle

Habitat

Many of the pest birds in Canada are migratory species which fly south when the temperatures approach the freezing point. Many pest birds have a widely distributed population and benefit greatly from the development of cities and the distribution of human populations. Some species construct nests and raise their young in elevated areas, while others nest on the ground. Birds generally prefer to live in the immediate vicinity of a water source but have no trouble flying reasonable distances to collect food. Most species adapt well to various surroundings.

Diet

Pest birds mainly eat fruits, seeds, grains, and insects. Many species live in close proximity to people and often feed on human food like bread, popcorn, peanuts, cake, discarded restaurant fare, and similar items. Much to the dismay of farmers, pest birds frequently target crops and livestock feed, as well. Gulls and Canada geese in particular maintain special dietary preferences. Gulls often feed on fish, rodents, and carrion, while the geese mostly consume plants like cattails, clover, and grass.

Life Cycle

Without exception, birds mate and rear their young in the spring and summer months. On average, pest birds produce one or two broods each year. House sparrows, however, can produce as many as five generations annually. Most birds require an incubation period of two weeks, though the eggs of both Canada geese and gulls require nearly a month of incubation. Newly hatched birds then leave the nest after an average of two to four weeks of preening. Depending on a variety of factors, nuisance birds typically live between 2 and 10 years.

Commonly Asked Questions

How worried should I be about birds?

Pest birds can carry parasites like fleas, mites, and ticks, and transmit diseases to humans and livestock. Pigeon excrement often contains the fungal diseases histoplasmosis and cryptococcosis, which are especially dangerous to people with compromised immune systems.

Many bird species are noisy and can damage buildings and equipment. Not only are pest bird droppings unsightly, they can stick to buildings, potentially eroding the structure.

Pest birds can also create drainage issues and fire hazards by nesting in the small crevices, drains, and gutters of buildings. Many bird species are also aggressive towards humans or native bird populations.

However, dealing with pest birds can be difficult, due to the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, which protects certain species from trapping and relocation practices. Any attempt to remove a pest bird must also comply with the Fish & Wildlife Act.

While netting, spike strips, noise devices, and visual scare tactics may be valid options, often only a professional, licensed pest control service can meet the regulatory standards required when it comes to removing and keeping away pest birds.

 

About Pigeon Patrol:

Pigeon Patrol Products & Services is the leading manufacturer and distributor of bird deterrent (control) products in Canada. Pigeon Patrol products have solved pest bird problems in industrial, commercial, and residential settings since 2000, by using safe and humane bird deterrents with only bird and animal friendly solutions. At Pigeon Patrol, we manufacture and offer a variety of bird deterrents, ranging from Ultra-flex Bird Spikes with UV protection, Bird Netting, 4-S Gel and the best Ultrasonic and audible sound devices on the market today.

Contact us at 1- 877– 4– NO-BIRD, (604) 585-9279 or visit our website at www.pigeonpatrol.ca

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Pigeon Identifications and Problems

Pigeon Identifications and Problems

Pigeon Identifications and Problems

Feral pigeons are the number one urban pest bird, creating a mess and causing damage where they roost, creating a need for pigeon control. Pigeons are descendants of domesticated European homing pigeons, so they have a varied diet and feel at ease making their homes in man-made structures, here is some of the pigeon identifications.

Generally blue-grey in color, with iridescent feathers on the head and neck, problem pigeons often have markings in black, white or brown on the wings and neck. A short neck and small head characterize the standard pigeon; their short legs, hind toes and level front allow for both easy perching on pipes and ledges or walking on flat surfaces. Pigeons generally nest in small, flat areas away from the ground such as building ledges, air conditioning units or window sills. Occasionally pigeons may even lay eggs directly on a protected ledge.

Damage Caused by Pigeon Problems

Pigeon control is important due to the damage and disease problems these problem birds often create. The uric acid in pigeon feces is highly corrosive and can cause extensive damage to metals and other substrates it sits on for long periods. Debris from flocks of problem pigeons often build up, backing up gutters and drains which can cause flooding and roof damage.

Nesting materials and other debris has caused failures in machinery, especially rooftop air conditioning units which are a prime nesting spot for pigeons. Other frequent pigeon problems include slip and fall liability from feces or debris, plus an unclean, dirty company image. The bacteria, fungal agents and ectoparasites found in pigeon droppings are responsible for a host of serious diseases, including histoplasmosis, encephalitis, salmonella, meningitis, toxoplasmosis and more. Many companies also retain significant clean up costs due to the pigeon problems they don’t resolve.

Source

About Pigeon Patrol:

Pigeon Patrol Products & Services is the leading manufacturer and distributor of bird deterrent (control) products in Canada. Pigeon Patrol products have solved pest bird problems in industrial, commercial, and residential settings since 2000, by using safe and humane bird deterrents with only bird and animal friendly solutions. At Pigeon Patrol, we manufacture and offer a variety of bird deterrents, ranging from Ultra-flex Bird Spikes with UV protection, Bird Netting, 4-S Gel and the best Ultrasonic and audible sound devices on the market today.

Contact us at 1- 877– 4– NO-BIRD, (604) 585-9279 or visit our website at www.pigeonpatrol.ca

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History of Pigeons

History of Pigeons

History of Pigeons

Where Are They Found?

The history of these pigeons were originally found wild in Europe, North Africa, and Western Asia, pigeons have become established in cities around the world. The species is abundant, with an estimated population of 17 to 28 million feral and wild birds in Europe alone and up to 120 million worldwide. These birds were introduced into North America in the early 1600’s. Window ledges and tall buildings mimic the rocky cliffs originally inhabited by their ancient ancestors in Europe. The pigeon has a long history of association with humans, having been used for food and entertainment for over 5,000 years. Source

How Many Species Are There?

Pigeons live worldwide except in the coldest regions and the most remote islands. About 250 species are known; two-thirds of them occur in tropical Southeast Asia, Australia, and the islands of the western Pacific, but the family also has many members in Africa and South America and a few in temperate Eurasia and North America. All members of the family suck liquids, rather than sip and swallow as do other birds, and all pigeon parents feed their young “pigeon’s milk,” the sloughed-off lining of the crop, the production of which is stimulated by the hormone prolactin. The nestling obtains this “milk” by poking its bill down the parent’s throat.

 

Pigeons are gentle, plump, small-billed birds with a skin saddle (cere) between the bill and forehead. All pigeons strut about with a characteristic bobbing of the head. Because of their long wings and powerful flight muscles, they are strong, swift fliers. Pigeons are monogamous; i.e., they mate for life, and the survivor accepts a new mate only slowly. The female lays two glossy white eggs in a flimsy nest that barely holds them. The female generally incubates the eggs by night, the male by day. The incubation period is 14 to 19 days, but the young are cared for in the nest for another 12 to 18 days. Source

 

 

 

 

Contact Us For Any Questions!

(604) 585-9279

 

About Pigeon Patrol:

Pigeon Patrol Products & Services is the leading manufacturer and distributor of bird deterrent (control) products in Canada. Pigeon Patrol products have solved pest bird problems in industrial, commercial, and residential settings since 2000, by using safe and humane bird deterrents with only bird and animal friendly solutions. At Pigeon Patrol, we manufacture and offer a variety of bird deterrents, ranging from Ultra-flex Bird Spikes with UV protection, Bird Netting, 4-S Gel and the best Ultrasonic and audible sound devices on the market today.

Contact us at 1- 877– 4– NO-BIRD, (604) 585-9279 or visit our website at www.pigeonpatrol.ca

Bird Gone, Pigeon Gone, Seagull Gone, Pigeon problems, pigeon spikes, 1-877-4NO-BIRD, 4-S Gel, Bird Control, Pigeon Control, bird repellent, Bird Spikes, sonic bird repellent, stainless steel bird spikes, bird spikes Vancouver, Ultra Sonic Bird Control, Bird Netting, Plastic Bird Spikes, Canada bird spike deterrents, Pigeon Pests, B Gone Pigeon, Pigeon Patrol, pest controller, pest control operator, pest control technician, Pigeon Control Products, humane pigeon spikes, History of pigeons, pigeon deterrents, pigeon traps, Pigeon repellents, Sound & Laser Deterrents, wildlife control, raccoon, skunk, squirrel deterrent, De-Fence Spikes, Dragons Den, Canada bird spikes, Canada pigeon, pigeon control, pigeon patrol, pigeon. Kill pigeons, crow, starling, Pigeon Habitat, Pigeon identifications, Pigeon Spikes, Ultrasonic Pest Repellers

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