Pigeon Pests: Air Rats

The pigeons are probably the most common birds in city squares. Although there are numerous species, the most common belong to the type of brave pigeon.

They are medium-sized birds that are often admired by many, but generally, rather hated by the vast majority of the population. So much so that some sociologists have studied why we hate pigeons so much. The reason is, among other causes, that their pests are a real public health problem.

Disease transmitters

Surely you have heard many times about the ‘winged rats.’ If you still don’t know, we will tell you: they are the pigeons. They are commonly called that precisely for two reasons.

First, the abundant droppings they leave. Pigeons can fly us no less than 11 kilos a year of their smelly ‘little gifts,’ in which, by the way, the PH is quite acid and poses a health problem as well as being corrosive to buildings and homes.

The other reason we have to look for it in its potential as transmitters of diseases that can reach human beings.

  • For example, pigeons can carry salmonella bacteria on their feet and can transmit it when they walk in areas where people leave their food (outdoor tables or snacks, benches, fountains, etc.). Now that you know, you probably think twice before sitting down to eat the sandwich in a square full of pigeons. 
  • They also house some ectoparasites harmful to humans, such as ticks, fleas, lice, mites, or the one known as ‘chance de la Paloma’. In this case, direct contact with the animal is not necessary for you to take one of these insects that live in its plumage as a souvenir. 
  • Also, it has been shown that at least three human diseases are related to their excrement: cryptococcosis, histoplasmosis, and psittacosis.
  • They favor the development of bacteria and fungi, as they cause moisture.

On the other hand, the pigeons feed on almost any other food, from waste, fruits or seeds, bread, and in reality, anything that your gizzard (an organ attached to the stomach) can crush.

Pigeons ingest 15% of their weight in food every day, although they have no problem with enduring a few days without eating. Water, however, is something they need daily. Therefore, the first step in preventing them from staying in an area is not to feed them. It seems obvious, but if you make it too easy, it will be tough to throw them out of your comfort zone.

Pigeons: a public problem

In some places, they have become a real problem. It is the case of Venice, in Italy, where local authorities have had to take measures since the corrosion caused by their excrements is deteriorating the artistic and architectural heritage of the city.

But this is not all, because also in cities in Spain such as Madrid, Valencia, and Barcelona there is unique legislation for the control of pigeons that goes beyond the well-known anti-pigeon skewers that are placed in churches and cathedrals to prevent them from landing on the ledges of these buildings.

What to do before a plague

  • First of all, it is essential to avoid its approach. In addition to not approaching them, there are ways to encourage them to move away, or in other words, you must know how to drive away pigeons.
  • To do this, several instruments in the market will help you achieve your goal. For example, pigeon repellents. Some audibles emit sounds that are unbearable for them. One of the best-known brands is Bird Gard. Another sound repellent, widely used in department stores or farms away from urban centers, are those that emit sounds similar to those of a cannon shot or shot to keep them apart. There are also complex wave eradicators that alter your sleep cycle, so they will end up leaving, although in this case, it is a long-term method.
  • On the other hand, to prevent them from entering buildings or depositing their feces on them, their entrance can be blocked. This is the case of the aforementioned anti-pigeon skewers, as well as the nets, a more aesthetic and less dense option for conventional buildings.
  • Finally, if the problem is very serious and the only solution is to decrease the population. For this, there are contraceptive methods that prevent eggs from becoming chicks. There is also poison and other ways that eliminate or exterminate the animal. Still, in any case, they are prohibited in most countries, and in fact, any pigeon traps and weapons used against them are also banned.

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