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Pest Pigeon Control and Cleanup

Close-up of a pigeon walking on a cobblestone pavement.

Pigeons are the most common pest birds here in the Bay Area and throughout California. They are not native to North America, but were brought here some time in the 1600's to be raised as food. As with many imported species, they have thrived here to the point that they're often encountered as pests.

The pigeons encountered as pests in our area are rock pigeons (Columba livia), also sometimes referred to as rock doves. They have been popular food birds for thousands of years because they breed prolifically and are easy to raise. For many years, they were raised in barnyards in the country and rooftop coops in cities as a source of food.

The pigeon's popularity as a food source waned after the Great Depression, but the pigeons remain. They have been raised as domestic animals for so long that they are almost entirely dependent on humans for their survival. Human feeding, whether intentional or by way of garbage that we discard, is their primary source of food; and our buildings and other structures are their favorite roosting areas.


Why are Pigeons Considered Pests?

Pigeons are considered pests for health, safety, and property damage reasons.

In terms of health, pigeons create a health risk mainly through their droppings and their parasites. Pigeon droppings contain the causative agent for a fungal respiratory disease called histoplasmosis. It's usually not a very serious condition if it's confined to the lungs, but it can be fatal if it becomes systemic. The elderly, people who are already sick with other illnesses, and those with compromised immune systems are at the greatest risk.

Pigeons also directly transmit several other potentially serious diseases including cryptococcosis, psittacosis, salmonella, trichomaniasis, and others. Many of these diseases can be circulated through buildings when the causative agents are drawn into the intakes for HVAC systems.

In addition to the diseases directly transmitted by pigeons, the birds also serve as reservoirs for a number of diseases that are then transmitted to humans and other animals by mosquitoes that feed on the pigeons. Most important among these are various strains of encephalitis that can infect humans and domestic animals (especially horses). All of these diseases are potentially deadly.

Pigeons also cause property damage by way of their droppings, which deface buildings, vehicles, and statuary and can be corrosive. Their feathers can also clog ventilation ducts, and they can cause air-conditioning equipment to stop working or mechanical equipment to overheat when their feathers block the cooling intakes.

Around airports, pigeons can cause hazards to air navigation. They can cause damage to both large and small aircraft when struck in flight, and can cause engine failure or fires if sucked into jet engine intakes.


Pigeon Control

Pigeon nest built on top of pigeon spikes on a steel girder.

There are many approaches to pigeon control. The one we usually use is a "spike-less" approach that avoids the use of bird spikes, which are expensive to install and not especially effective, as the picture here shows. Even when properly installed, bird spikes don't always keep pigeons away.

We also provide cleanup services to remove the birds' droppings and feathers, and can apply disinfectants or insecticides if needed to sanitize the area or kill any displaced parasites. This sometimes becomes necessary in cases where there were a great many birds in a semi-enclosed space, such as an attic or a church bell tower.

Bust-A-Bug provides pigeon control and cleanup services to both residential and commercial customers in Brentwood and the Bay Area. We can remove pigeons from homes, commercial buildings, parking garages, bridges, theater marquees, lighted signs, and almost anyplace else where pigeons roost. Our spike-less approach does not kill or harm the birds and is completely humane.

Please contact us for more information about bird control or any of our high-quality pest management services.