Home remedies: How to get rid of pigeons

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You likely will need a combination of tricks, and probably even a succession of them, to get rid of pigeons around your house. These pests are very determined.

While objects such as fake owls, scarecrows and plastic snakes might work temporarily if you move them around often, the pigeons usually will figure out the ruse and return. Commercial pigeon control devices are available and work well, but they tend to be pricey. Some creative tricks and home remedies may be able to solve your problem.

Make your garden as inhospitable to pigeons as you can. If you are feeding other wild birds, give them only thistle and black sunflower seeds, as pigeons won't eat these. Deprive the pests of any other food sources by keeping your rubbish bins tightly covered and feeding your pets indoors. Remove any standing water, even birdbaths, and cover or empty pools that aren't being used. Block entrance areas wherever you can, using bird netting where feasible, as this is a highly effective tool.

Eliminate housing opportunities or render them un-livable. Remove any nests that you find. When the pigeons attempt to rebuild, remove those too. These birds don't like having their nests disturbed, and since their nesting period is five months long, they'll be anxious to get their homestead established. When your property becomes too troublesome, they'll be forced to abandon it for a less hostile home site.

Make your own bird spikes, which are highly effective since pigeons don't like sitting on pincushions. Stick wooden barbecue skewers through pieces of leftover foam packing, or even plastic peanuts, and tape them into position. Carpet tack strips also work very well. You can make beds of nails out of old boxes by cutting the flaps off, turning them upside down and driving nails or screws through the bottoms. Tape the boxes to favoured perching spots. Try using electrical or double-sided tape to affix the heads of thumb-tacks pointy side up to odd or uneven objects where pigeons are fond of perching. Position the tacks close enough together that the pigeons can't just sit down next to them.

Use double-sided tape to stick a row of old CDs to ledges, windowsills and porch rails. Many pigeons are repelled by the shiny objects. Alternatively, tie some CDs together in a row with cord or string so that they lie flat next to each other. Hang and dangle them from balconies, brackets or other problem areas where the breeze can move them around.

Cover affected areas completely with wide, commercial-grade, two-sided tape. These pests do not like sticky landing sites.

Shoot pigeons with non-lethal weapons such as a super-soaker water gun. The birds despise being drenched by these things, which sometimes are strong enough to knock them off a perch. You also can try shooing the birds away with a slingshot or wrist rocket. A home-made disposable glove gun works similarly, and, like a slingshot, is effective if you have the time to sit around and take pot-shots at pigeons. Cut a finger from a rubber glove and stretch about 1.25 cm (1/2 inch) of the opening over one end of a 15 to 30 cm (6 to 12 inch) piece of PVC pipe. Secure it with tape. Load a pebble into the open barrel, grasp it through the glove and stretch it back toward you. Ready, aim, fire!