June 4th, 2015

Help! Pigeons on my roof! Or: The Limitations of Control Methods on Roofs

Pigeons on flat roof.

Pigeons hanging out on the flat part of a victorian house roof.

Bird control technicians’ nightmare – what to do when we are asked to do the impossible? The straight answer is that there is really nothing we can do when pigeons land on your roof, but there is much more to know.

Many customers ask: “Why? Why my roof, what’s so special about my roof that they have to land there?” Believe it or not you are asking the right question: Why? Once you understand why, you will also understand why is it hard to provide a solution in this situation.

Almost always, the primary cause of such problem is the availability of food nearby, plenty of it on a regular basis. Probably someone is feeding the birds or there are lots of garbage in the area or open garbage bins/containers. They could also nest or roost in close proximity and simply they use your roof as a comfy perching spot having a nice vantage point over their feeding area.

What could we do? Install hundreds of feet of spikes on your roof? Put up scary owls? Maybe speakers on the roof peak? Unfortunately none of them are viable (especially not the latter two 🙂 ). It is simply not feasible to protect large, flat (horizontal or sloped) roof surfaces, such as the entire roof of a victorian house for example.

Feeding pigeons.

Lady feeding the pigeons in College Park – every day.

First, we need to find ways of eliminating food and water sources nearby. Then we must find their nesting/roosting areas – which will most likely be on another property, otherwise you would see them somewhere else on your house/building, (in which case it would be very easy to resolve the issue, read here about residential bird control) – that provides sheltered structural configurations to establish a protected area where they can stay at night. Pigeons don’t see well at night and usually they go to their roosting spots before nightfall and stay there during the night.

If protecting these areas are not possible (because they are on someone else’s property) we can look at strategically installing Bird Spikes or exclusion Bird Netting or the combination of both, maybe Electric Tracks at critical areas to discourage them from landing on your roof.

You can see now that there aren’t any straightforward solutions in the case of house roof tops and that it is very time consuming to address the issue holistically. The best thing you can do is to call up a professional and get an opinion, you might have missed something that a pro will notice that could help resolve the issue.