Pigeon Dilemma

Calgary_G(3b AB)April 13, 2005

Help! I've had a pair of pigeons set up camp in the corner of my balcony. I noticed them snooping around a few weeks ago, but they've since built a "nest" (a few scraps of straw) and now there's two eggs in it. Can anyone had baby pigeons on their balcony tell me how much of a mess they'll make? I need to decide now whether to block access to the nest (it's behind my recycling bin) and let the eggs die (still cold at night) or to leave them alone.

Any advice appreciated,


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PVick(6b NYC)

Get rid of the eggs. It will be a bit difficult, because mommy pigeon will sit during the night and daddy pigeon will take his turn during the day. But chase them away and get rid of that nest and those eggs. Block any areas where they can achieve any kind of "privacy" for their nests. And watch out for them, because they will continue to try to lay/hatch their eggs out there.

If you allow the eggs to hatch, there will be a big mess; the real problem is that the baby birds (and their parents) will stay on your balcony until they learn how to fly - which can take a couple of months.

Once you allow the babies to hatch on your balcony, you will have the problem every year - they'll be back to lay eggs over and over and over.

Pigeon babies hatched on my terrace a few years ago - I did not notice them until they were already hatched, in a cold February. I simply could not harm the babies, and they stayed there until mid-April.

Since that time, they come back every year to lay eggs. But I try to stay vigilant. Last year, I got rid of 9 eggs; so far this year, I've gotten rid of one.

The pigeon poop is annoying enough, but they'll also get very comfortable on your balcony and begin pecking at (and possibly destroying) your plants.

So my advice is - get rid of that nest and eggs. Don't just block access and allow the eggs to die - those pigeon parents will find a way to get to their eggs, believe me.


    Bookmark   April 14, 2005 at 7:52AM
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Calgary_G(3b AB)

Thanks for the advice. They seem to be pretty neglectful parents at any rate... The nest was abandoned pretty much all evening (I checked several times) until past midnight, but they were back this morning. Not sure how long the eggs can go without incubation, so maybe they're already doomed.

I'll probably be moving (to a larger apartment in the same building) in the summer, so I'm not so concerned about them returning, however, I AM concerned about them tearing up my plants.

Thanks again,


    Bookmark   April 14, 2005 at 10:46AM
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jenny_in_se_pa(USDA7 Sunset 32)

PVick and I have both been there done that. It may appear that they aren't around but they are. Mom is usually there on the eggs at night and she goes out during the day to eat. Soon as they hatch, Mom eats by day and watches babes at night and Pop watches babies by day and is kicked out of the house at night to fend for himself. LOL

Yes they do make a mess (poop mess) in the corner that they are born in and each season, I've had to routinely keep checking the various areas out on balcony to make sure that they (or their progeny) don't come back to nest as their passed-down from generation to generation routine. LOL

BTW, the above pic of the baby sleeping on its back, which seemed to be a favorite of one of regular posters, was on its back because when I walked over, Dad saw me and made a bee-line out of there, tripping over the baby causing it to flip over, while he ran to go fly off. LOL Whenever Mom was there with them, she looked at me and I at her and we went about our business. ;-)

As adults before they flew off for (just about) good, they looked like this:

    Bookmark   April 18, 2005 at 2:22PM
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roxcandy(z5 MKE, WI)

Jenny, you have a beautiful balcony and I love your pics! I occasionally get a pair of pigeons. I actually feed them time to time, esp. in winter, as it thoroughly entertains my cat to watch them. We rolled up our grass carpet for the winter and in early spring--lo and behold, those pigeons wanted to start nesting inside the roll. I saw them pull a dead vine in there, and later they were kissing and mating right out in plain view! (Had to cover poor kittie's eyes.) So ... I stopped up the carpet roll ASAP to keep them out. Due to my cat, I knew I couldn't let them nest there. Now that spring is here, I finally rolled out the carpet and taped it down. The birds come back occasionally, which is fine. Congrats on your beautiful space.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2005 at 3:32PM
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jenny_in_se_pa(USDA7 Sunset 32)

Thanks roxcandy! Yeah, when those pidgeons get to going out there, that's when I have to break that stuff up. They make such a cooing racket. LOL

    Bookmark   April 26, 2005 at 7:20PM
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whytephoenix(z9a Houston)

My balcony is screened but I had a really peculiar bird problem on the roof last year:

I planted some silver thyme in one of my rooftop pots, which I access through the window near my computer. I watched it grow through the summer, and finally I decided there was enough to start using and wrote it into the menu. One day as I sat here typing, I noticed a little sparrow perched on the edge of the pot, looking at me! This happens once in a while; sometimes jays eat acorns that fall into my pots. I smiled and continued whatever I was doing. Sometime later I looked up and there he was again! I stood up to get a closer look, and the bird pulled up a piece of thyme! I opened the window and waved him off, and he took off with it, likely to embellish his nest.

I called the cat over and convinced him to sit in the window, where he often watches birds himself. But his vigilance was limited. A few days later, there was nothing left of the thyme but a tiny sprig, which hung in there a few weeks before dying. And I had to take a recipe off my grocery list because it hurt my pride to buy fresh herbs when I'd waited all summer to have my own!!

Still, it entertains me to think of the little sparrows in their variegated, pungently scented nest.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2005 at 8:51PM
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roxcandy(z5 MKE, WI)

Whytephoenix, that is a cute story! I bet that little sparrow has a very cozy nest! I'm unique in that I live in the city and work in the 'burbs--I feed the little birdies here at work with a stick-on bird feeder--but all we get at home are pigeons. So, I feed and love them up too...tho they sure aren't as cute as tiny sparrows or finches.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2005 at 5:25PM
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My sister had pigeons nesting on a windowsill of her bedroom in her third floor apartment. Suddenly she noticed a lot of itchy spots all over her body. It turned out to be some sort of mites from the pigeons! Better get them out of there!!!

    Bookmark   May 1, 2005 at 6:57PM
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Calgary G - that is my exact situation. Does anyone know how long it takes for the eggs to hatch. I've already gotten rid of one, but am wondering how often I should be checking. Also, when will they stop coming around - they are driving me crazy!!!

    Bookmark   March 31, 2006 at 12:26PM
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jenny_in_se_pa(USDA7 Sunset 32)

A couple weeks ago, I had to get rid of 2 eggs myself. They kept coming back for about 2 weeks to try to build another nest and whenever I saw them, I tried to chase them away - which is hard when I'm at work all day but I just kept at it whenever I was home.

From my original experience with them, I think it took maybe a month for the eggs to hatch. After that, they grew quickly and looked like full grown adults in about 2 more months. They did a little practice flying off my containers and eventually flew away.

It seems that February/March and then later on in summer, are the mating times, and you have to be vigilant.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2006 at 8:32PM
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PVick(6b NYC)

Speaking of pigeons - just found Mommy sitting on a nest jammed up behind the pot with my fig tree. I've obviously not been vigilant enough...........


    Bookmark   April 1, 2006 at 10:48AM
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jenny_in_se_pa(USDA7 Sunset 32)

Yeah PV, I know the feeling. I had to chase off yet another pair yesterday morning when I heard them going at it under my shelves. :-\ Just have to get past this time of year....

    Bookmark   April 2, 2006 at 7:39AM
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Hello! I have a big pigeon dilemma. I have a small ledge outside my apt building. On the floor above me, the pigeons tend to poop all over this ledge. When I say poop, there is an abundance of it!! How do I prevent this? How do I clean this (it is so unsanitary!)? Someone mentioned an orning of some type outside my windows. Any ideas? Anything you have would help tremendously!

    Bookmark   May 1, 2006 at 2:44PM
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I have found the best way to approach the pigeon problem is actually a fairly simple one. This is what you will need:
1- pepper spray (preferably military grade)
2- a towel
3- some string
4- a skillet
5- a camping stove
6- nonstick cooking spray
7- seasonings

What you do is torment the pigeons for a while with pepper spray for several days for kicks. After you have gotten your laughs you bring out the towel and string. At this point you need to throw the towel over one of the pigeons. Wrap the pigeon up tightly but allow its head to stick out. Then, proceed to tie the pigeon down. Turn on the camping stove and heat the skillet. Apply nonstick cooking spray to the skillet liberally. Make sure the pigeon can has a good view of the skillet. Proceed to crack the eggs and fry them right in front of the pigeon. Go ahead and cook up some bacon and toast. Apply salt and pepper to taste. Then eat your breakfast in front of the pigeon. FYI, pigeon eggs taste like quail eggs. The pigeons usually come back and roost again. So, you will be able to get a delicious breakfast every now and again. Hope this helps.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2007 at 9:11PM
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jenny_in_se_pa(USDA7 Sunset 32)

adambellestam - OMG LOL!

This past summer through to present, the pigeons have been the worst that I have ever had them. Over that period, I have had nearly 10 nesting couples try (and a couple succeeded) to breed out there. It has been a nightmare continually chasing them away but obviously I can't be home 24/7 to do that.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2007 at 8:10AM
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YEAP, I've got the same problem. It's the very reason I refuse to plant any type of vegetable on my bacony. I fear the birds will poo all over what I would have to ingest.Here in Chicago in ur downtown area, they have put large fake OWLS on the highrise buildings. The pegeons are scared to death of owls and you can't blame them with eye's like they have. I plan on finding me some for sure. I also am concerned for my cat walking through that stuff and coming back inot the house. GROSS!!!!!!

    Bookmark   April 27, 2007 at 11:00AM
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jenny_in_se_pa(USDA7 Sunset 32)

Fake owls don't work here on the pigeons. They eventually sit on the head like it's another place to perch. Actually your cat might be helpful for keeping the pigeons away assuming it is trained to use the litter box... but you can also use Liquid Fence sprayed around to try to keep it from digging and pooing.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2007 at 1:04PM
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paul_(z5 MI)

Fake snakes & owls are a bit more effective if moved to a new location every day or so.

DO get rid of the pigeons now. They are filthy critters -- morning doves are just as bad by the way. Let some doves nest on my balcony once. Will never happen again. In contrast, the robins who later nested in the same area were much cleaner [mom carried the poop away].

    Bookmark   May 12, 2007 at 1:46PM
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jenny_in_se_pa(USDA7 Sunset 32)

Well I went out there yesterday and saw 2 fledgings about ready to fly sitting on one of my lilacs. I have been chasing pairs away and destroying eggs all year including through the winter when I could get out there, but missed this latest pair - most likely hatched and hidden during some of the snow and ice storms that we had in late March and early April. :-\

    Bookmark   May 13, 2007 at 7:29PM
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This is my first spring in the city, and about a month ago my room mate told me a pigeon had built a nest on our balcony underneath a tarp that we use as shelter in the winter. It was rolled up in the corner beside an old couch we keep there as well.
I checked it out and noticed a few eggs, diceptively white and clean. The 'nest' was pretty pathetic, a small ring of twigs, so I disregarded it and it left my mind until a week after when I looked again and saw that one of them hatched! MAN those things are ugly creatures, and horribly messy as well.
I disposed of the second egg before it hatched, but now i'm left with a (fastly) growing pigeon on my balcony.

I've since moved the couch aside and moved the tarp slightly to that the nest isn't so sheltered as it was, but I'm sure I'll have to wait for the baby to learn how to fly before I can clean it all up.
Oh, and it's kind of sad how unprotective the parents are. Every time I come outside the parents fly away leaving the young unprotected. Sad.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2007 at 7:08PM
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jenny_in_se_pa(USDA7 Sunset 32)

gham - don't worry. They are VERY protective and be assured that the parents will return post haste! They can't really do anything against something as big as a person though (I've never seen a pigeon become aggressive), but they are very dedicated to their chicks. I just bought some "Bird-B-Gone" spikes to put out on my balcony ledge corner where they tend to congregate the most and would eventually like to line the entire ledge (but the spikes are a bit expensive). Am hoping to get them to roost somewhere else. Was also hoping my tiny but aggressive ruby throated hummers would buzz them away but I guess that is a fantasy. LOL

    Bookmark   June 17, 2007 at 10:28AM
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PVick(6b NYC)

LOL, Jenny! Guess it would depend on how much the hummers think your balcony is their territory ...

I have had a momma pigeon get quite aggressive with me - I was trying to get her away from her eggs so I could get rid of them. She puffed up something fierce and made steps toward me! Had to throw hot water in her direction to get her away.

Then again, my resident male pigeon, Cirillo, got snagged in some bird netting one year and I actually had to put my hands on him to get him out. He seemed grateful enough. He's the one who chases the other pigeons away from "his" terrace - kind of funny to watch!

I don't know what I did, but they seem to have found another place to nest - I've not found any eggs at all this year. But I noticed that Cirillo has a new wife (his third since we've been acquainted), and they've been trying to cuddle up here lately. No nests yet though ....


    Bookmark   June 17, 2007 at 11:15AM
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I guess im a bit of a tree hugger cause i would find it hard to "get rid of the eggs". I dont have the heart to destroy an already made nest. I would consider it a lesson learned and be more vigilant about preventing them to set up shop next year though..

prehaps you can more your plants away from the nest so as to minimize the damage? Maybe a birdhouse?

    Bookmark   June 26, 2007 at 2:52AM
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How long can the eggs be unattended to before they die...I ask the question because I saw the nest on my terrace and disrupted it to prevent them from laying eggs. The next day there were two eggs laid where the nest used to be. I felt bad so built a little shelter and put some leaves and twigs there and moved the eggs (using a stick) onto the new nest. The male and female stayed away for two days, then the female came back and has been sitting on the eggs ever since. I now noticed that the male has been there on and off.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2011 at 6:34PM
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