Should You Care About Pigeons Roosting?

Should You Care About Pigeons Roosting?

Pigeons may seem harmless, but these pest birds cause millions of dollars in damage every year to buildings, ventilation systems, machinery, statues, roofs, and much more.  Bird droppings and nesting materials left by pigeons pose physical problems and health hazards that can become very serious if not corrected quickly making prompt and effective professional bird control is often essential.

Pigeons Roosting

Pigeons find our window ledges, rooftops, bridges, and warehouses to be ideal substitutes for the natural ledges in cliff sides that they have always used as roostingnesting, and sheltering sites. When flocks grow too large and become a nuisance, killing the birds is often the first plan of action.

Potential Health Hazards:

There are many health risks associated with pigeons and their droppings.  The bacteria, fungi, and ectoparasites that they and their droppings harbor are numerous.  The four most common ways disease is passed by bird to human are: inhalation of fecal dust, food and water contaminated with bird feces, direct contact with feces, and parasitic transfer.

Pigeon droppings can expose humans to many diseases, including salmonella, Newcastle disease, candidiasis, encephalitis, orthosis, and toxoplasmosis.  In addition, they can also carry cryptococcosis, and coccidiodomycosis, which cause meningitis.  The droppings may also harbor growth of fungus, which causes histoplasmosis.  Fleas, lice, mites, and other pests often live on these birds, hitching a ride to where ever they want to jump off. Pigeons may also attract other pests, such as rats, which feed on dead pigeons and food that well-intentioned bird lovers may scatter for them.

In addition to disease, bird droppings are known for triggering pigeons on concrete stairspeople to slip and fall, which makes it especially important to rid the birds from highly trafficked areas. Source

Damage Caused by Pigeons:

These are messy birds, leaving droppings everywhere they go, particularly near their roost sites.  Pigeon droppings are not just gross, they are also full of uric acid which makes them extremely corrosive.  The droppings are the direct cause of millions of dollars in damage to buildings and other structures.  Particularly vulnerable are painted surfaces, awnings, signs, and other similar surfaces.  A tragic example of the corrosiveness of pigeon droppings is the Minnesota bridge accident in 2007, which was found to be the direct result of bird droppings eating away at the metal bridge supports until they weakened.

In addition to the damage cause by their acidic droppings, pigeon nests can also cause damage.  Pest birds will often build nests in gutters or on roof corners blocking essential drainage systems.  Every year several warehouses experience roof damage, and even collapse, when drainage systems have been blocked and standing water rises just six inches.  Bird nests can also block ventilation systems, which not only prevents exhaust of potentially harmful gases, but also has the potential to spread diseases.  Fire is also a potential hazard.  Nesting materials are usually flammable, consisting of twigs, straw, grasses and dried droppings.  When pest birds build their nests inside electric signs or other machinery there is a great risk of fire.

Pigeons are creatures of habit and highly social.  Once they have found a cozy spot the will return again and again, bringing along more of their pigeon pals. Prolific breeders, pigeons can hatch several broods a year, sometimes even laying a new clutch before the previous have even hatched.   Often our buildings and structures have architectural features such as drain spouts and eaves that make perfect nesting spots for these birds. Pigeons are comfortable around humans and they’re hard to scare away or deter.  Once a flock of stubborn unwanted pigeons have set up shop in/on your building, it can be stubbornly resistant to removal, often requiring the services of a pest control or animal control professional. As is true of many pests that invade our homes and businesses, the first step to controlling feral pigeons is to remove their food source.

Tips to deter pigeons:

  1.      Don’t feed the pigeons.
  2.      Screen drains and gutters to make your property less attractive to pigeons.
  3.      Encourage children to pick up spilled food – and teach them NOT to feed pigeons
  4.      Keep areas around trash bins and outdoor dining areas clean
  5.      Eliminate water sources such as bird baths, over-watered lawns, or kiddy pools.

If you need help to prevent or eliminate pesky problem pigeons, please contact us!

Hope you learned more about why you should take action when pigeons are roosting on your property

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

Pigeon / Pigeon Patrol / Pigeons Roosting / Vancouver Pigeon Patrol / Bird Control / Surrey Pigeon Control / Pest / Vancouver Pigeon Blog /

On Pigeon Patrol, Rufus the Hawk Rules the Skies Over Wimbledon

On Pigeon Patrol, Rufus the Hawk Rules the Skies Over Wimbledon

WIMBLEDON, England — Imagine the fluttering kerfuffle.

Roger Federer is serving for the Wimbledon title. He tosses the ball and cranes his neck.

Plop. A gift from a pigeon, right on the forehead.

Luckily, something like that hasn’t happened. At least not yet, not during a big match in recent memory.

For that, Wimbledon can thank a brown and chestnut bird of prey with keen eyes, a four-foot wingspan and bone-crushing talons. His name is Rufus the Hawk, and he plays a crucial role at the world’s oldest tennis tournament.

Every day, in the early morning, well before the matches begin, Rufus soars the skies over the All England Club, on the prowl for pigeons.

Without him, Wimbledon just might descend into aviary chaos. Pigeons could reign supreme, not just in the air, but also in the rafters, on the rooftops and across the grass courts.

The place is perfect for pigeons. “All of the grass seeds, all of the nooks and crannies, and the food waste from the fans,” Wayne Davis, one of Rufus’s handlers, said. Without Rufus, he reckoned, pigeons would number in the hundreds.

Wayne Davis, one of Rufus’s handlers, with a younger companion of the hawk. “Feral pigeons breed year round,” he said. “If you have just one pair breeding in the rafters at Centre Court, you would end up by the end of the year with about 40 more birds. You could have Roger Federer serving and clouds of pigeons wafting about.

“And pigeon poop, too, of course.”

Flocks of pigeons became a growing problem in the late 1990s, a threat to the prim fastidiousness that Wimbledon prizes above all. That was when the All England Club telephoned Davis and his family-run Avian Environmental Consult­ants.

Another of their birds was the first to patrol Wimbledon. Then Rufus the Hawk took over. He has become an English icon.

From dawn to dusk, he soars, on the prowl for pigeons. He doesn’t kill them. He toys with them, barreling from above, twisting, turning, squawking and nipping at their wings, announcing to all that the skies over Wimbledon belong to him.

“The pigeons learned he was in charge,” Davis said. “Other than a few stragglers, they stopped coming around like they did before. He scares them away.”

Rufus would have been a fearsome predator in the wild. Although he weighs just 1 pound 6 ounces, he cuts a much larger figure with his confident bearing and cascade of feathers.

He can spread his talons almost as wide as a person’s hand, and he can see 10 times better than any human. He can focus on a pigeon from a mile way.

Davis and his daughter, Imogen, feed him by hand because his weight is important. At less than a pound and a half, he can become too hungry and might have a pigeon for lunch. Maybe in front of the royal box.

They have taught him to come when they whistle.

Most often, he does.

Rufus soars and (almost) always comes back.

On one occasion three years ago, however, Imogen Davis had to chase him down at a nearby golf course. He took off again, across a road, then out of sight. She followed the jingle of his small bronze bell, attached to a talon.

She found him in the middle of a pond, standing in a thicket of weeds, hovering over a freshly killed duck. She couldn’t let him eat it. A full tummy would mean he wouldn’t come home until he was hungry again.

She waded through muck and lily pads, then through waist-high water. When she trooped back to Wimbledon, past crowds lined up to watch tennis in their finery, she had Rufus in her clutches.

One time, he vanished overnight.

Wayne Davis had left the bird in the family camper, parked outside an apartment they stay at during tournaments. Davis tucked him into the black cage that is his bedroom, and cracked a camper window just enough for ventilation. In the morning, Rufus and his cage were gone.

Someone had broken in and stolen him.

“My heart sank,” Imogen Davis said. She, her parents and her siblings had bought Rufus from a breeder when he was 16 weeks old, and he had become a member of the family.

“It was terrible,” she said. “There were a lot of tears.”

By then, Rufus had celebrity status, even a Twitter handle. The theft of Rufus the Hawk became headline news.

“Game, set and snatched,” wrote The Daily Mail.

The police said to expect someone to be in touch, demanding a ransom.

Three days went by. Then, from a phone booth, someone telephoned the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. No one knows for sure what had transpired — maybe Rufus had gotten away from the birdnappers, or maybe they decided to simply give him up — but he had been spotted in a park.

Imogen Davis, another handler, said Rufus once stayed in the Centre Court rafters overnight. The animal welfare charity picked him up. Rufus went back to work. He hasn’t missed a day since.

Imogen Davis said Rufus has taught her important lessons. Like the morning he flew into the Centre Court rafters and decided to stay there.

Two hours passed. Then five. Then 10. He still wouldn’t budge. “Luckily it wasn’t during the actual tournament,” she said, a nod to the fact that Rufus polices Wimbledon year round. She and her mother, Donna, wrapped themselves in towels and spent the night on Centre Court.

“We didn’t sleep in the royal box,” Imogen Davis said. “We didn’t sleep at all.”

The next day, Rufus came down.

The lesson was a lot like Zen: Rufus never gets ruffled. He does things in his own good time.

Has he ever, in his own good time, decided to perch in the Center Court rafters during a match?

No, Davis said. She chuckled. “But if he did, he would just stay perched up there, saying, ‘I don’t know who Roger Federer is.’”