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Bird Control Manchester

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Pest control for pigeons on our homes


Just as squirrels (who Manchester Pest Control have covered in a previous blog post) are sometimes referred to as ‘rats with bushy tails’, it is pigeons that have been awarded the equally unflattering title of ‘rats with wings’ – although if you live, work in or regularly visit urban parts of Manchester, Stockport and Cheshire, you will probably have a good idea why this title is so apt. The feral pigeons that occupy our town and city centres are a regular nuisance with their sheer numbers and with the mess that they make. In fact, it has not been unknown for cities such as Manchester to introduce birds of prey in an attempt to address the growing problem.


Why are pigeons a pest?


There are many different types of pigeon varieties, with the feral pigeons (or ‘rock dove’, as this species is known) being the one that has typically garnered the worst reputation for itself. Although a diet of seeds, berries, insects and cereals should be quite enough for them, living alongside humans has provided the feral pigeon with a much greater range of foodstuffs to tuck into and these greedy pests will feed from bins and discarded fast-food cartons, and will even brazenly steal food from tables at outdoor cafes if plates are briefly left unattended or customers are distracted. And where you find large numbers of pigeons feeding on rich food that is not a normal part of their diet, you will also find pavements, benches, and areas below roosting sites decorated with their excrement.


If you are used to seeing feral pigeons every day, you may not know that the woodpigeon is the UK’s commonest pigeon species, and the largest in size too. The woodpigeon can be found in parks, woods, gardens and throughout the British countryside, where it can be a particular nuisance to farmers, routinely making raids on farm crops. Like the feral pigeon, they are highly persistent and do not remain scared away for long, usually regrouping before making another raid when they think the coast is clear. If you have a garden with a bird table, you’ll know that woodpigeons can scare the smaller birds away and will eat voraciously until you chase them off yourself. They also have a nasty habit of fouling bird baths, which could then be a source of contamination for other birds.


Pigeon guano and disease


Guano is another word for bird excrement, and as we’ve already outlined above, pigeons spread a lot of it about.


Have you ever parked your car somewhere overnight and returned to find that pigeons have been nesting above it? If so, the staff here at Manchester Pest Control fully sympathise, as chances are you will have found the entire roof of your vehicle covered in pigeon mess. If you don’t clean it off quick, it has corrosive properties that can take the paint off your car. It can also damage the stonework of buildings, so is pretty strong stuff.


If you come into contact with pigeon guano by accident, or if you are having to clean it from your car or property, try to avoid contact against the skin and be sure to wash your hands or affected areas thoroughly afterwards. You should also take care to wear a protective facemask over your nose and throat if you discover pigeons have been roosting in your loft or some other enclosed space and there is a large amount of guano to clean up. There is a bacteria prevalent among pigeons which can cause Psittacosis in humans, and people may become ill after inhaling the bacteria which can become airborne when guano dries.


Salmonella bacteria may also be present in pigeon guano. At present though [January 2014], no evidence has been found that suggests pigeons can be carriers of the bird flu virus, although do revisit the Manchester Pest Control website and blog every now and then for potential updates – we’ll do our best to keep the public informed of any health risks.


Pigeons and Your Home


Whether you live in a town flat, a country cottage or suburbia, you may find pigeons a direct problem if they are constantly paying visits to your home and garden, causing damage to plants and property, or scaring away the birds you do want to see in your garden.


You may find their constant cooing outside your window early in the morning and throughout the day an irritation as they court and roost on window sills and in the eaves of houses, or within your home itself if they can infiltrate the roof space. We have already mentioned the diseases associated with guano, but it should also be noted that a dead pigeon in your water tank is a potential source of contamination to your home’s water supply. Externally, dead birds, guano and nesting material can cause gutters and drains to become blocked which may lead to your home suffering water damage.


One potential cause of pigeons targeting your home is if you have neighbours who feed them on a regular basis. The law can’t help you much here if the neighbour refuses to accept they are causing the problem, unless a very clear risk to public health can be cited in your favour. And if you kill or injure a pigeon, or destroy their nest and eggs, you could be eligible for a fine or imprisonment under the 1981 Wildlife and Countryside Act.


Manchester Pest Control – a humane and long-term solution

On top of the legal implications, culling pigeons hasn’t been known to work as reducing their numbers just seems to result in those that remain breeding more to make up for their depleted numbers, and then they rapidly become a nuisance again. If there is plenty of food still available for them, there is no reason for them to move on, and pigeons from other areas may quickly move in as well.

At Manchester Pest Control, we can help you keep pigeons away by fitting pigeon-proof netting and anti-roosting spikes to the affected parts of your property. This is both a humane and long-term solution to the problem – we have the experience and the know-how to be sure of it.

Manchester Pest Control, keeping properties in Manchester, Stockport and Cheshire safe from pigeon incursions since 1999.

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