London is thought to be home to close to three million pigeons – one per three people. No wonder we’re tripping over them and dodging pigeon poo everywhere we go! But why is London the pigeon HQ of the UK?
Feral pigeons and other pest birds gather in numbers where there is easy access to food and shelter. That is why densely populated areas, such as the city and boroughs of London, have evolved to become a perfect pigeon habitat.
Read our blog post to find out the extent of the pigeon problem in London, what risk they pose and the types of pest control techniques available.
Why do pigeons live in cities?
All birds choose to roost in a location that sustains them. For many birds, the shelter and natural abundance of the countryside is their ideal habitat, especially as the human population is generally a lot lower than in towns and cities.
Pest birds, such as pigeons, have evolved with the modern world. They are not put off by crowds of people and they have learned to scavenge among the debris we humans leave behind. They think nothing of nesting in, seemingly, the most inhospitable places, such as gutters, chimneys and even drains.
With its thousands of buildings, nine million-strong population and 20+ million annual tourists, London is a veritable Shangri-la for pigeons. The climate is moderate and food and shelter can be found in abundance, so it’s little wonder they flock to the capital in such great numbers.
Does London have a pest bird problem?
London has the largest pigeon population in the country. The statistics speak for themselves – one pigeon per three people definitely constitutes a pest bird problem in our opinion.
Flocks can number up to 500 birds, which can result in a huge amount of droppings, nest debris and damage to buildings. Thousands upon thousands of pounds are spent each year on fixing the damage pigeons cause and deterring them from roosting on rooves and in buildings.
As noted already, pigeons go where food and shelter are easy to come by, so in London, they are spoiled for choice. They have been known to nest in every type of structure from railway stations, offices, multi-storey buildings, billboards and private homes. Given the number of old and derelict buildings in the capital, the job of finding a comfortable nesting place is easier still.
A pigeon needn’t waddle too far to find a meal either. Well-meaning tourists love to feed them and the thousands of overflowing bins across the city are all too inviting.
Given their sheer numbers and the quality of life the city affords, pigeons are not going anywhere. This means that bird control is essential. Bird control refers to the methods used to remove pigeons from a building and deter them from coming back. Thankfully, it is illegal to harm pigeons in the UK and there are numerous humane methods to keep them at bay.
Is a bird infestation dangerous?
Like them or loathe them, it’s a fact that a pigeon infestation can cause a lot of harm if left untreated. Not only do they cause costly damage to property and important listed buildings throughout London, but they also pose a health risk.
Feral pigeons carry diseases such as Chlamydia psittaci, which can induce Ornithosis in humans, a nasty and even deadly infection. Three million pigeons can create a whole lot of pigeon poo, so London is visibly teeming with pathogens and harmful bacteria that pigeons leave behind.
Alarmingly, pigeon droppings can also become airborne when they are dry. While this is not a huge risk to healthy people, for those with compromised immune systems, or for children, the risk is much higher.
Pigeon infestations are also known to create health and safety risks. A build-up of droppings on pavements and steps can become a serious slip hazard. And discarded nesting materials can accumulate in ventilation systems and chimneys creating a fire hazard.
Aside from the damage they do to buildings and the risk they pose to human health, pigeons are just a plain nuisance. Many London home and business owners can attest to the unsightly and odorous trail of destruction pigeons leave in their wake – hardly conducive to a peaceful life or a good brand image!
How can I get rid of pest birds from my business premises in London?
Pigeon problems on commercial properties can be devastating in terms of reputation and cost, not to mention the health hazard it creates. It’s essential to take preventative measures in a city such as London, to avoid infestations.
There are several tried and trusted methods of bird control that can deter pigeons from a property and keep them from returning.
Bird pest control using falconry
While pigeons are undoubtedly a nuisance, there are few that would wish them serious harm. Fortunately, there is a well-established, humane solution to pest birds in the form of falconry bird control.
This age-old method involves using falcons or other birds of prey to make regular flights over the affected site, over several months. This sends a clear message to the pigeons that they are on dangerous territory, and they will up and leave given time.
Project Multi Pest is a champion of using falconry as a pigeon and seagull deterrent. It is a safe, reliable, humane and environmentally friendly way of tackling bird problems. We have a great deal of experience of using our beloved falcons to rid buildings all across London of pigeons.
Pigeon spikes are another humane form of pigeon control. They are not intended to harm the birds, they simply stop them from perching on roofs, gutters, chimneys, signage and balconies.
They are made up of a row of blunt steel rods attached to a polycarbonate base. Although more common on commercial properties, many private homeowners opt for bird spikes, too.
Find out more about our pigeon spike services here.
Bird or pigeon netting is a method of bird-proofing that deters pigeons from perching and nesting on buildings. It is widely used on commercial buildings in urban areas such as London, as it is a cost-effective and long-term method of bird control.
Bird netting is usually made from polyethene wire, and comes in different shapes, colours and sizes. It is stretched to create a tense barrier and is held in place with high-quality steel fittings.
Find out more about our pigeon netting services here
Stop feeding birds
Humans have the instinct to care for wildlife and many can’t resist feeding hungry-looking pigeons as they peck aimlessly around for food. However well-intentioned, this only encourages flocks in greater numbers.
In rural areas, it may not be a cause for concern, but in densely populated, urban areas such as London, it can cause real issues.
Domestic bird feeders are also responsible for attracting more pigeons. While it’s admirable to want to encourage birds to your outdoor space, it’s a sad fact that in cities, bird feeders exacerbate the pigeon problem.
So the simple lesson here is that if you live or run a business where birds are a nuisance, simply stop feeding them.
Project Multi Pest are the bird control experts
When it comes to pigeon control, Project Multi Pest can offer home and business owners a comprehensive range of pest control solutions to get rid of pigeons and stop them from coming back.
In our extensive experience, a combination of methods such as falconry and bird spikes are very effective in preventing pigeons from roosting on your property.
For our commercial clients, we offer cost-effective pest control contracts that help minimise the risk to a company’s assets, reputation and employees. That includes training staff to spot the signs of an infestation.
As well as pest birds, we have extensive experience in removing all sorts of other pests, including rats and mice, plus insects such as bed bugs, cockroaches, wasps, fleas and ants.
So, if you are in need of pest control services in London or Kent, then contact the experts at Project Multi Pest for a quotation.
Are pigeons protected in the UK?
Pigeons are protected from harm by the Wildlife and Countryside Act (1981), making it illegal to injure or kill a pigeon. Adherence to the law is overseen by the government department, Natural England.
Is it illegal to feed pigeons in London?
It is not illegal to feed pigeons, but local councils have the authority to introduce restrictions where pest birds have become a nuisance. In central London, it is only illegal to feed pigeons in Trafalgar Square. However, it is ill-advised to feed them in any part of the city as it contributes to the persistent pigeon problem.
What is the most common pest in London?
Along with feral pigeons, insects and vermin are the most frequent tourists in London. Given the vast number of visitors to the city, bed bug infestations are also very common, hitching a ride as they do from hotel to hotel.
London has around 15,000 restaurants so it is a sought-after address for cockroaches too, with ample food waste to attract them. This is clearly bad news for business owners and the general public due to potential food contamination.
Perhaps the most notorious pests in any city, apart from pigeons, are vermin. There are thought to be two million rats in London, more than two per person. A further half a million mice live in the London Underground.
If you are concerned that your London business is becoming overrun with rats, feral pigeons, wasps or even bedbugs, then contact Project Multi Pest today to discuss the best methods of pest control.