Common Name: Feral Pigeon
Scientific Name: Columba livia
Introduction: The feral pigeon that we see today are descendants from the Rock Dove, a cliff dwelling bird that was widely found in rocky coastal areas centuries ago. They adapted quite well to urban environment, are known to feed in flock and are the most troublesome bird pest which lives close to man. Feral pigeons are found in Britain and worldwide.
Biology:Feral pigeons are capable of breeding throughout the year. Their main breeding periods are between March and July. Usually there are about one to two eggs per nest. The incubation periods are between 17-19 days with fledding taking place between 30-35days. Feral Pigeons can lay a second clutch of eggs when the first young are about 20 days old and can have up to nine broods per year. The adult pigeons are between 300-350mm in body length and weigh between 280-560gm. They feed on bird seeds, bread, cake, grains, livestock feed, spillage food etc. These foods are mostly given or fed to them by humans.
Habits: pigeon droppings deface and accelerate deterioration of statues, buildings, equipment, goods or product and even foul areas where people may walk or work. Pigeons will find adequate buildings and structures to roost, and nest with food and water often in adequate supply. They often live and feed in flock especially when being fed by humans.
Potentials harm: apart from deterioration and damages to product cause by pigeon's droppings, they can also clog gutter downspouts and air intakes; render fire escapes hazardous with their nest and droppings. Their droppings and feathers can contaminate large quantities of livestock feed and food destined for human consumption e.g. mills, factories warehouses etc. Although there is little evidence, they are known to transmit diseases such as ornithosis, (a mild form of psittacosis) and salmonellosisa. Pigeons are also known to carry ectoparasites which include bugs, fleas, ticks, and mites, some of which will bite people.
Professional control: include trapping; there are a number of different types of traps that can be used by professionals in order to catch feral pigeons. Traps must be visited every 24 hours and all animals or birds caught in the traps must be fed with food and water. If animals or birds are killed after being caught, it must be done humanely, (a killing form which will not pose any cause of suffering). (The Protection of Animals Act 1911 and Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981).
Shooting: police permission must be obtained especially in urban areas for this form of pest control in London.
Proofing: using mesh or wire netting.
Stupefying baits: the stupefying agent must be an approved chemical under the Food and Environment Protection Act 1985
Hygiene: the most important factor that determines the size and population and best long and short term to pigeon's population.