The common pigeon (or rock dove) is the most notable avian pest to people in the La Crosse area. Pigeons are scavengers and have strong homing instincts, making them difficult to eliminate. Allowing a large number of these birds to take up residence on your property can cause a variety of problems. Pigeon exclusion and proper sanitation (or garbage disposal) are the best control measures residents can exercise.
Pigeons generally roost and nest on ledges, rafters, and in holes in buildings, thus measures must be taken to exclude them from your property. Cover all structure openings and vents with boards or hardware cloth. Repair broken windows and damaged eaves, soffits, or siding or any other holes that may allow a bird access into your building. Eliminate ledges by covering them with balled up wire mesh, or install hardware cloth, wood, or metal sheeting at a sharp angle to get rid of the flat surface. When you spot birds building a nest on a ledge immediately install such remedies to deter the birds from completing their nest.
As noted before, pigeons are scavengers and take advantage of many food sources. Remove any food sources that may attract these birds by covering garbage cans and maintaining your property in a sanitary manner. Use bird feeders too small for pigeons to perch and feed on and remove all food matter that falls beneath your bird feeders. Discourage hand-feeding of pigeons by people.
Occasionally, pigeons will get into a business office, retail space, or living space of a home. Pigeons are sizeable birds and can cause damage by knocking items over and onto the floor. When this occurs immediately open doors and windows and attempt to scare the bird out. Close off areas and shut doors to other rooms to narrow the bird’s path of escape. You may also safely capture the bird and release it to the outdoors by throwing a towel over it and carefully wrapping it or catching it with your hands. Be sure to wash your hands thoroughly afterwards as pigeons do carry lice, mites, and other parasites. Pigeons can be easy to catch in the dark. When conditions exist, darken the room or area where the bird is flying around and when the bird lands shine a bright flashlight directly into the bird’s eyes. Generally, the bird will sit still and you can then throw a towel over it or catch it with your hands and safely remove it from your building.
When you find injured, sick, or baby pigeons on the ground, please refer to our website page in regards to baby birds and sick or injured wildlife, or call Animal Control at (608) 781-4014 for advice.