How To Get Rid Of Pigeons On A Roof

How To Get Rid Of Pigeons On A Roof

Pigeons are, for many people, nothing but nuisances.  It seems that these flying pests do nothing but make nasty messes on our homes and cars, are unattractive, and can be a health hazard.  Many people wonder how to get rid of pigeons on a roof.

There are many options to help eliminate a pigeon problem on your roof.  Making the roofless attractive and inviting is one method.  Eliminating food and water sources is another. There are more drastic actions available if these first two options don’t work.

You should take an active approach to handle a pigeon problem.  Understanding pigeons and their habits can give you some clues to the best methods of keeping pigeons off your roof.  The following methods are suggestions to help you find a successful approach to your pigeon problem.

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Don’t be a Hospitable Host

If pigeons continually roost on the ridgeline or eaves of your home or the windowsills, one trick to keeping the birds is to be less hospitable.  There are measures you can take to make these roosting spaces less attractive to the pigeons.

Gutters and Pigeons

Gutters are like a Holiday Inn for pigeons.  The edge of the gutter is a perfect roost.  Often gutters hold water, which provides one more reason for pigeons to take up residence. There are several options to make your gutters less attractive to the birds.

Clean out your gutters and make sure that they drain properly to remove any standing water that may attract the pigeons.  Gutter leaf guard will also help to deny access to any standing water to the pigeons.

Making the edge of the gutter uncomfortable for roosting is also important.  The addition of spike strips to the edges of your gutter makes it virtually impossible for a pigeon to find a comfortable place to roost on a gutter edge.

Getting the Line of Ridges and Eaves

Birds of all kinds prefer to roost on the highest possible point.  The height of the ridge of your roof is attractive to the birds.  At times, the eave of your home may become a favorite hangout for pigeons if it overlooks a food or water source.

You may find that running a string along the ridgeline to the eave of your house can be an effective deterrent to pigeons.   A taut string 2 or 3 inches above the ridge or along the eave disrupts the bird’s attempt to land and perch.

Take the Flat out of Windowsills and Ledges

Windowsills and other ledges around the façade of your home can become favorite perches for visiting pigeons.  One simple method of preventing pigeons from roosting on windowsills or ledges is to turn them as vertical as possible.

Metal sheathing installed at a steep slope on a windowsill or ledge instantly makes the site unavailable for pigeons.  The slick metal doesn’t give the birds anything to grasp when landing.  IF the bird does manage to land and hold on, the extreme slope is uncomfortable, and the bird won’t stay long.

Close the Buffet

Pigeons gather where there are food and water.  If you normally keep birdbaths, bird watering stations, or bird feeders, it is time to close the free food program.  Nothing attracts pigeons faster than a free meal.

Your intent may have been to attract the songbirds and other beautiful specimens around your home.  However, if there are pigeons close by, they will soon muscle out any other birds and eat you out of house and home.  Take out the food sources and water sources until the pigeons no longer feel welcome.

One other food source that many people overlook is the food left outside for pets.  Pigeons will thrive on cat and dog food that is left outdoors.  If you normally feed your pets outside, you should remove any uneaten food.  Pigeons are opportunists and will eat almost anything any other animal will eat.

The Gel Treatment

Several repellant products are available that work in different ways to make the area unattractive to pigeons.  Most of these products are a gel form you spread over the roosting area.

Some of these products create a sticky, gritty surface that the pigeons find uncomfortable on their feet.  Once they feel the product, the birds generally leave.  They may come back and try the perch several times before abandoning the place for good.

The downside to these products is the need to reapply the gel regularly to the roosting area.  Typically, the gel is reapplied every two to three months.  However, frequent rains can shorten this time-space.

Don’t be a Pigeon Landlord

If you have gable vents on your home, proper screening is essential.  An attic space is the height of luxury for pigeons.  Warmer in winter than the outside and providing cover and shade during summer, an attic can become a pigeon dormitory before you notice.  The first sign you get maybe the odor of pigeon dropping as it wafts down from the attic into your home.

Screen your chimneys and other vents as well.  Pigeons will roost and nest in almost any opening they can find.  Not only is this inconvenient and a possible health hazard, but a pigeon nest in your chimney or boiler vent can also pose a fire hazard as well.

Getting More Aggressive

You may find that taking less proactive actions doesn’t have the desired effect. If the pigeon problems persist despite your preventive actions, there are other options to consider.

Use the Water Hose

Using a water hose to deliver a forcible stream of water to the pigeons will certainly disrupt their day.  This method is particularly effective if your pigeon visitors tend to arrive at a certain time of day in groups.  A quicks shower from a water hose will send them flying away.  It may take several washdowns to convince the pigeons that your home is not a welcoming place.

Increase the Scare Factor

Pigeons are the natural prey of several urban predators like raptors and owls.  A predator decoy is often effective and convincing pigeons to find another place to roost.  These decoys come in many styles and types.

The most effective decoys are those that move.  Pigeons are more sensitive to movement than anything else.  A static decoy will be far less effective than one that moves.  Some decoys are small kites that you can leave flying over your house.  Some decoys perch and move with the wind.

Make the Space Uncomfortable

Birds depend on their eyesight to see and avoid predators.  Anything that interferes with their eyesight makes a space uninviting for pigeons and they will tend to avoid the discomfort.  Anything that reflects light randomly can interfere with a pigeon’s sight.  You can try hanging reflective tape, foil balloons, or even old CD’s.

A Higher Tech Approach

Several companies advertise ultrasonic bird repellers.  These devices emit a high-frequency sound.  Humans cannot hear the sound, but the sound is bothersome to pigeons and they will soon vacate the area.  The results achieved with these devices are somewhat mixed.  An ultrasonic repeller is probably better used in conjunction with some of the other methods.

The End Game Approach

If all else fails, you may resort to trapping the pigeons for release far away from your home.  Trapping has some serious downsides to consider.  You must check the traps regularly.  If you are trying to do a humane job of removing pigeons, you certainly don’t want to ignore the trap.

You must also take the pigeons to an area to be released.  Unfortunately, pigeons have great homing capabilities and may beat you back.  Trapping and releasing is no sure means of removing pigeons from your area.

Calling in the Professionals

When all else fails, you can turn to professionals.  Some companies and individuals specialize in pigeon problems.  In many cases, the professionals will try the same methods we have outlined before using other methods.  In some cases, the only answer may be lethal methods of dealing with your pigeon problem.

Make certain of the methods your professional pigeon practitioner is going to use. If you have qualms about lethal control methods, be sure that your pigeon control professional knows your feelings.

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Dealing with A Perennial Pigeon Problem

Trying to relocate or vacate pigeons from your roof can be a challenge.  It isn’t just one or two birds but flocks that continue to grow.  Reclaiming your roof from pigeons can be an ongoing battle.  We hope that this article has given you some useful ideas for your ongoing pigeon concerns.

Dennis Howard

Dennis is a retired firefighter with an extensive background in construction, home improvement, and remodeling. He worked in the trades part-time while serving as an active firefighter. On his retirement, he started a remodeling and home repair business, which he ran for several years.

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