Many of the problems caused by pigeons constitute a nuisance, rather than a direct threat to public health. The feral pigeon is a descendant of the domestic homing pigeon, has easily adapted to the urban environment and continues to prosper.
The problems presented by pigeons generally constitute a nuisance rather than a direct threat to public health, as the risk of transmission of disease is dependent on the nature of contact with birds and their faeces. Where there is no direct contact with the birds or their faeces, the relative risk of contracting illnesses is deemed to be low.
In relation to concerns regarding potential contamination of rainwater tanks by pigeon faeces, the Department of Health recommends the use of first flush devices. First flush devices prevent the first portion of roof run-off from being collected and will reduce the amounts of dust, bird droppings, leaves and other accumulated debris from being washed into tanks. Alternatively, the tank inlet could be disconnected so that the first run-off of rain after a dry spell is not collected.
Pigeons are able to roost on very narrow ledges, beams and roof lines. In the urban environment, building facades, roofs and bridges provide plenty of roosting options and human activity provides a variety of food sources. In the Unley area, there are intermittent reports of problems caused by uncontrolled and unowned pigeon flocks.
In large numbers, pigeons damage buildings due to the acidic nature of their faeces. Feathers, eggs and dead birds also foul the environment and buildings, sometimes blocking gutters which can lead to flooding in rain events.
Consequently, just as there is a need to control rat and mice numbers, it is equally important to control the feral pigeon population. No single method of control offers the ultimate solution, but rather a combination of methods, with the responsibility having to be shared by the Council, industry, businesses and residents.
In order to assist with the control of pigeon numbers, there needs to be a reduction in available food sources and nesting or roosting sites, and pigeon-proofing buildings. In cases where there is an established population, trapping or culling are also options. In these cases, you are advised to use a licensed pest controller.
Some businesses, as well as the Council, have already undertaken extensive pigeon‑proofing of their buildings by using spikes and fine wires. These deterrents are effective in reducing the number of birds able to land and roost on building ledges, window sills and roof tops. Along with this, new building work should also consider designs that do not provide roosting points and ledges for the birds.
The use of poison baits is not recommended as it is impossible to target just pigeons without affecting other birds.
For further information, please phone 8372 5111 or your licensed pest controller.