Pigeon Control in Bracknell
August is the month where we will be asked to carryout more solar panel void installations than any other month; feral pigeons were once domesticated and kept as a food supply, their close association with mankind means that these birds still live around us, nesting and roosting on our buildings and that they are dependant on us for food.
Other species of birds have all evolved to feed on a certain food supply; carrion eaters like red kites and seed eaters like finches all base their breeding seasons on the supply of food and the season; swifts and swallows migrate here and will attempt to raise two broods in that relatively short window of opportunity. This doesn't apply to the feral pigeon as they have four characteristics that many other species lack.
Firstly, pigeons are monogamous and they pair for life: this saves wasted time on breeding displays and courtship making more time for brood rearing, this also creates a strong bond between the pair and they are devoted parents with a strong protective instinct towards their offspring. Secondly, the young pigeons called squabs will stay in their nest until all the flight feathers are fully formed; in other species the young leave the nest as soon as possible to disperse and evade predators. With the flight feathers not fully formed they cannot fly away from some predators and so a few get taken; its about not all your egg's in one basket or rather nest.
The most important feature of feral pigeons that makes them so successful is that they can eat just about any food, from discarded pizza to a handful of bird seed. This material is stored in the birds crop and partially digested and turned into a thick 'milk' which can then be fed to the young birds, sparrows time their broods with the aphid population and this is what they feed their chicks - no aphids means no food supply and therefore a failed brood. Pigeons can find food all year long and given access to that supply they will raise up to eight broods a year, the female lays two egg's and that means each breeding pair will bring around sixteen young adults into the world every year.
The last part of the pigeons unique strategy is that they still live alongside mankind, an open window into an unused room or a missing roof tile means an opportunity for the birds to start nesting; they will look for dry sheltered spots safe from predators and close to a food supply. Many well meaning people throw out bread for these birds, you'll often see people feeding pigeons in parks and open spaces and this along with their habits brings the feral pigeon into conflict with us.
Some birds will keep a clean nest, taking away fecal material and therefore keeping parasites at bay but not the feral pigeon. They will build a very careless nest that has the base of a few twigs all stuck together with their faeces, the fact that they will also deposit all around the area means that this matter quickly builds up into a dense mat of nutrient rich waste.
This waste contains bacteria as you'd expect but also harmful viruses and even fungus: all of which are harmful to us through breathing in spores or contamination of solid or any liquid run off; the pigeon waste is that harmful it is considered hazardous waste on its removal and it requires specialist management.
The Health and Safety Executive has some guidance on working with bird droppings and we take careful precautions - follow this link to read more.
What harmful things can be found in pigeon poo?
There are a variety of harmful bacteria, viruses and fungus: from the fungus you can get some severe respiratory illnesses such as histoplasmosis and crytococcosis, and candidiasis which can also effect the skin. From bacteria you can get the type of illnesses associated with food poisoning from salmonella and E.coli both of which can be extremely serious. Viruses include avain influenza and West Nile Virus although a mosquito spread disease, this can be transmitted from infected birds living around human habitation.
More information can be found about the hazards on our Balcony Cleaning and Pigeon Prevention page: click here to move onto that page.
How do we get diseases from the birds?
Through contact with any of the birds fecal matter, feathers and of the birds themselves, the birds are also host to parasites like bird mites that will bite us when the birds arn't around. If birds are in loft spaces where stored water tanks are kept they can contaminate that water supply with their fecal matter and if they can fly or perch where food is prepared or stored then harmful bacteria can easily be spread to us. Finally you can inhale airbourne fungal spores from their droppings.
Ultimately preventing birds from flying into, perching on and nesting on our homes and businesses is the way to keep safe from any harmful effects.
How long do pigeons live for?
The numbers vary due to obvious things like a good roost site and a plentiful supply of food but on average its between 3 to 5 years with the ability to go on for 15 years with the right factors.
Why do pigeons clap their wings?
Male pigeons like to show off and they do this by taking off in a steep climb, loudly flapping their wings - almost clapping. This is donew to draw attention to themselves, they follow this by folding their wings behind them and gliding "Look girls here I am!"
We are not anti-pigeon; our concern is that pigeons spread disease, cause damage to buildings and generally make peoples lives a misery when they are roosting and nesting in large numbers on peoples homes and business properties. The General LIcense GL 35 allows for the distruction of feral pigeons - our approach is not to kill the birds but exclude them from our buildings and denying them nest sites: a more humane and long term management plan that does not involve killing the birds.
For more information on GL 35 follow this link: