How to keep pigeons away from your balcony
We were recently called in to look at a pigeon control job and the managing agent wanted one solution, the resident asked for something else and the client had a whole different suggestion altogether. Trouble is, the conditions of the lease didn’t allow for any of the options.
Other companies might have scratched their heads and walked away. We scratched our heads, thought about it, and came back with a solution.
We were dealing with feral, or town, pigeons. They’re not as hardy as their country cousins, the wood pigeon, and need protecting from the elements. And these particular pigeons had found a lovely shelter on the beams supporting the floor of the balcony above the resident’s flat. Not only that, the pigeon were leaving large deposits of pigeon guano on the balcony floor.
We always recommend putting up netting as a physical barrier – it’s pretty much the only guaranteed way to prevent pigeons coming back. However, the clients were adamant they didn’t want netting around the balcony as this would’ve spoiled their view. So we improvised! After cleaning and disinfecting the area, we installed a small piece of netting to the beams only, using clips, bridging clamps, and wire rope to secure it in place.
It worked a treat to stop the pigeons roosting on the beams… but we knew that wouldn’t be the end of the pigeon problem.
It’s getting hot in here
Pigeons don’t give up easily. Any pigeon returning to roost and finding a net across its landing zone would simply turn away and land on the balcony hand rail to inspect the barrier.
It was time to heat up the action!
We applied Avigo Chilli Gel to the hand rails. It contains the active ingredient, capsaicin, which is transferred to the feet of the pigeons when they land on it. When the birds fly off and tuck their feet up next to their under parts, the chilli extract causes a ‘mild irritation’. Well, that might not accurately describe the sensation… it’s more like that sting you get after you’ve been cutting chillies and wiped your eyes. Ouch!
When we returned four weeks later to remove all trace of the gel we were delighted to hear that the gel had worked. The pigeons had indeed returned – but after their chilli experience that gang of birds was now gone for good.
Of course the gel isn’t something we’d leave in high-traffic areas and for this job the balcony was out of bounds to the residents for a month. But where there’s an area with no footfall the gel can be used as a long-term deterrent, only requiring two maintenance inspections a year to replace any gel that may have been worn away by landing birds.
Worth considering if your office or building has some unwanted squatters.