How to Get Rid of Pigeons: Drive Them Away for Good!

We've collected six best methods to get rid of pigeons and prevent any harm
Phyllis McMahon
Phyllis McMahon
Research Writer
Phyllis teaches English Literature at a local college and loves writing in her free time. She’s also a great cook – her British beef Wellington is something the best res read more
Reviewed By
Chas Kempf
Chas Kempf
Expert Consultant
Chas works in a professional pest control company and knows all the nuances of this job. Also, he’s a fantastic tennis player and loves to organize BBQ parties for his fam read more
Last updated: August 07, 2023
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Learning how to get rid of pigeons is essential if you spend a lot of time dealing with nuisance bird droppings. This can be a problem for people with small balconies or larger yards and learning how to keep pigeons away is easier than cleaning up after them. In larger groups, pigeons can cause excessive volumes of noise and if they get in the trash, they tend to create an unsanitary mess that can attract other vermin. Many people don’t like the idea of killing pigeons and in all honesty, this is a flawed approach anyway. After all, if you shoot one pigeon, it’s not going to be much of a deterrent for others. In this article, we will take a closer look at how you can get rid of pigeons without hurting them.

What Do Pigeons Look Like?

How to Get Rid of Pigeons: Drive Them Away for Good!

Pigeons are a common sight in urban, suburban and rural areas. They are medium-size birds with short legs and small heads. They may vary in color, but most pigeons have a gray-blue coloration with iridescent purple features on their chest and neck. Pigeons have two dark colored bands on the tail feathers and wings.

Pigeons tend to nest at high points, such as: roofs, columns, transit stations, eaves and even sports stadiums. When pigeons are encountered outside the city they are usually found near manmade structures including barns, bridges, grain elevators and others. Pigeons can be a pest because they eat plants and crops and they generate a lot of droppings. The droppings contain acid that damages the paint on cars, it’s hard to clean away and it can spread histoplasmosis and other diseases (more on this later).

Some people confuse pigeons with doves because they are roughly the same size. But, mourning doves are a little smaller and they have longer pointed tails.

What Harm Can Pigeons Do?

Pigeons can cause a lot of harm and the primary cause of concern is the droppings.

We’ve already mentioned that pigeon droppings can spread a number of diseases. Let’s take a closer look at them. They are: Toxoplasmosis, Histoplasmosis, Salmonella, Pigeon Ornithosis, Psittacosis, Cryptococcosis,and even Encephalitis! But, there are other health related threats because pigeons are hosts for many ectoparasites, including: flies, ticks, fleas, biting lice and mites. These parasites also carry diseases that they can spread to humans and other mammals. Larger collections of droppings are an ideal breeding ground for bacterial and fungal growth that is yet another health risk.

If you have pigeon nests on your house or in your yard, these are inhabited by a variety of insects and other pests that are unhealthy for you and your family.

Pigeon droppings are also slimy and slick, they make a surface hard to walk on and slipping injury damage lawsuits exceed $100K annually. At this point, it’s likely that skeptical readers are convinced that pigeons are more than a simple nuisance bird.

So, the next logical question that most people ask is, how to get rid of pigeons naturally? The initial step should be the removal of any easy to access food sources including the trash. Next, it’s important to install pigeon deterrents that will deter the pigeons and certain other birds from landing or nesting near your home. This may seem simple, but it may be necessary to try a few different approaches before you find a method that works for your home.

8 Best Ways to Get Rid of Pigeons

If you want to learn how to get rid of pigeons there are six proven methods that can try:

1. Install A “Scare-Pigeon”

How to Get Rid of Pigeons: Drive Them Away for Good!

Pigeons have their own natural predators, such as: hawks, falcons and other birds of prey. Most people won’t have the patience or facilities to train their own bird to hunt pigeon intruders. But, there is a workable alternative, scare pigeons! These work on the same principles as scarecrows that can be found in many fields to protect crops. At the basic level that can be a life-sized and life-like model or a simple silhouetted. But, the more technical and realistic deterrents, such as: a solar powered scarecrow tend to work better. They move erratically and emit loud raptor noises that a pigeon, grackle or even a goose will not like. These bird deterrents can be moved around the property to ensure that the interlopers are convinced that they are real.

2. Use Reflective Surfaces

Using reflective tape and other surfaces is a great way to get rid of pigeons without using poison. Anything that can reflect light has a good chance of working, such as: metal foil, old cd’s suspended on string and other items.

Birds do not like flashing lights; it makes them disoriented and this is not how they want to feel when they fly.

Wrapping their favorite surfaces in these materials or having them moving around in the wind to catch light may scare them away. Reflective scare tape is a popular option because a single roll can last a long time and they are easy to tack on vertical surfaces near a pigeon’s favorite roost.

3. Set A Motion-Activated Sprinkler

Pigeon poop can cause a lot of damage to the plants in your yard and any cars that are parked on the driveway. One of the more human nuisance bird removal techniques is to give them a spray of water at an unexpected moment to give them a scare. A sprinkler system alone may be effective, but if the pigeons are very persistent it may be necessary to take this technique to the next level. There are motion-activated sprinkler models that can be programmed to scare birds at any time. These may have subsystems that emit loud noises or flashing lights that all birds will find disturbing. The sensors can be controlled remotely and the range of motion can be specifically defined to areas where nuisance birds land, feed or attempt to nest. The best models can project a jet of water a long distance and they can be moved if the pigeons get comfy in a different location.

5. Try an Ultrasonic Bird Repeller

Ultrasonic bird repellers emit high-frequency sound waves that are inaudible to humans but very irritating to birds. These sound waves will deter pigeons from roosting or nesting in the area, and will eventually drive them away. Most ultrasonic bird repellers can be easily mounted on a wall or fence, and some models come with stakes for ground installation. Read our review article on the best ultrasonic bird repellers for more detailed info.

6. Use A Pigeon Repellent Gel on Roosting Areas

How to Get Rid of Pigeons: Drive Them Away for Good!

When pigeons are roosting on your roof or other high structures that you have around your home it can be a difficult problem to solve. Access may be difficult for you because you cannot simply fly up there to shoo the pigeons away. The best solution is to coat roosting areas with a layer of pigeon repellent gel that makes these areas less attractive. There are many gel products on the market that can be used on a wide variety of surfaces. But, they are not a great option for surfaces that people can reach or touch easily, such as: window sills, railings and other locations. These gels are usually clear and they can remain active for longer than you might expect. The concept is simple, the pigeon lands on the gel, they hate the sticky surface and they leave. There are no toxic chemicals or poisons and the pigeons are not harmed at all. Heavy smearing of the entire roof should be avoided because the birds can get stuck and they may hurt themselves trying to escape.

7. Install Anti-Roosting Spikes

Ledges are prone to pigeon roosting which can lead to a buildup of poop on those ledges are the areas below. If you take the time to install anti-roosting spikes in those areas they will reduce the available space for them to get a foothold. Some products have protrusions that are larger, they revent sitting or even standing in-place and the birds move on. These spike strips are usually made from a long-lasting, durable material that can withstand the elements. This is typically a plastic polycarbonate surface that is clear to preserve the aesthetic appeal of your home.

The maintenance requirements are very low and a simple rinse will keep them clean and fresh. These products are usually sold in kits that contain a number of strips to secure in-place. Before you order, measure the size of the ledges that you want to cover and consider your options. These kits usually have an adhesive to secure the strips or you can use tie-downs, nails or screws as needed. Anti-roosting spike strips can be effective, but pigeons are pretty smart and they can roost around or under the covered areas. These spikes work best when they are installed on ledges that are open to the sky with no vertical surfaces nearby. The spikes work equally well if you’re investigating how to get rid of grackles or other nuisance birds.

8. Seal Off All the Entrances

We tend to think of birds as highly resistant to the effects of the cold, the sun and predators. To a certain extent, this is true, but they don’t enjoy excessive heat and cold and predators are an ever-present threat that will try to avoid. So, when you are evaluating a response to pigeons landing or roosting on or around your home it’s important to bear these essential needs in mind. If you take a look around the exterior of your property you may see places where pigeons can get extra protection. If you can prevent easy access to these areas your home is a less attractive prospect for pigeons and other nuisance birds.

Small openings into the home can be filled with silicone caulk and larger sections of hardware cloth can secure more substantial gaps. Nets can be hung to cover the rafters to prevent pigeons from nesting there. All birds like attic spaces with easy access because predators are not a major problem and they are protected from the elements. After the access points are secured it’s a good idea to prune back nearby trees that touch the walls.

This will discourage pigeons from nesting and roosting in or near the attic.

If you’ve needed to remove pigeon nests before you will already know where you should focus your efforts. Clean away the old bird nests, put on rubber gloves and clean away the poop with a bleach solution. These seal the access points to prevent future nesting with nets. These methods work well when they are used in conjunction with other deterrents to make your home less welcoming for pigeons and other nuisance birds.


How do you get rid of pigeons on a roof?

If you want to learn how to get rid of pigeons off a roof there are few options that are known to work. It may be necessary to use a few approaches and observing the pigeons can help you to understand what is working and what isn’t having the desired effect.

The first step is to learn how the birds are getting onto the roof and where there are cracks or holes that they can use as an access point. These holes should be sealed, caulking is effective for small holes and large holes can be covered with nets or wire mesh. Another option is to install a physical wire fence barrier around the external perimeter of the roof space.

To keep the pigeons off the roof the following five approaches are worth attempting and some are likely to work better than others, they are:

  • Consider adding a “shock track” strip to make attractive rooftop areas uncomfortable.
  • Add a stainless-steel wire or wire coil to the roof ridges to deter perching and roosting at those locations.
  • Pigeons like solar panels because they offer some protection from the elements and airborne predators. Installing a metal grid around the outer edges of the panels will deter the pigeons and other birds from getting under them.
  • If you have a roof design that has nooks these can be a draw for nuisance birds. Placing nets or wire in these areas can prevent pigeons from building a secure nest.
  • If you have a flat or commercial roof that is attractive to pigeons there are two deterrents that may help. First, it may be a good idea to electrify the parapets that can be used for perching. This would not be a sufficient electrical shock to kill the bird, but it won’t want to stick around for long. Second, the HVAC units offer some protection for nesting birds and they should be netted.

How do you get rid of pigeons on a balcony?

Most balconies are smaller and easier to control if you follow these seven simple steps:

  • Adding “shock tracks” strips to a balcony will deter pigeons and other nuisance birds. The birds are not hurt if they come into contact with these strips but they do receive sufficient negative stimulation to make potential perches less attractive.
  • Adding stainless-steel wire and/or wire coils to the rails will make these surfaces a less attractive perch for pigeons.
  • Reflected sound and light will deter nuisance birds from balconies, decks, patios and other home adjacent outdoor areas. Reflective surfaces can give a bird an unwanted surprise that will frighten them away. Some great options include: old aluminum pans, mylar balloons, old CD’s and more. These should be hung in a position where they receive sunshine that can disorient the pigeons and many other birds.
  • Nets can prevent birds from getting onto the balcony, but this can be cost prohibitive and it can degrade the aesthetic appeal of the home. But, adding nets is extremely effective and the best examples are invisible.
  • Spikes are anti-perching stips that you can place in popular perching areas. They are usually made from stainless-steel or plastic and they are secured in-place with an included adhesive, screws, nails or tie-downs. They are a good option for flat areas where birds need to be moved to a different location.
  • Gel repellents can be smeared on perching spots, they make the surface sticky and birds don’t want to land or walk on it. Eventually dirt, dust and debris will make the gel less effective and it will need to be reapplied. Gel repellents are a bad option if smaller birds use the areas because they can get stuck and hurt as they try to escape.
  • Using plastic predator scarecrows can be very effective if they look realistic. The best models even make believable noises and they can be moved around multiple balconies to portray the illusion of movement. This is necessary, because if the predator approach is not mixed up the birds will become accustomed to the lack of a genuine threat.

How do you get rid of pigeons in a barn?

When pigeons get into a barn the gloves need to come off and a shift from prevention to removal is required. Placing pigeon traps can be effective if they are lured in with food and water. This approach can take several days and patience is needed to capture the pigeons. Every city or region will have specific guidelines to follow when you release or dispose of the birds. This is a time-consuming process and it can be dangerous if you’re placing traps at high points in the bar. For this reason, many people hire a pest control specialist to deal with the problem safely.

Final Thoughts

In this article, we have taken a closer look at some of the techniques and tools that can be used to deter pigeons and many other nuisance birds. These are all viable options if you have the time and resources to put these methods into action. Learning how to get rid of pigeons is easy and putting those plans into place is much harder. Pigeons can be pretty smart, stubborn and resilient and a method that works at one home may not work at another. Attempting a DIY approach is a great way to save money, but safety must always be the primary concern and working at height is always a risky option. If you’re in any doubt about your capabilities contact a specialist and they can remove the pigeons efficiently and humanely.

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