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Are pigeons protected? Feathered felons or feathered friends?

If you live in, work in or visit a built-up area, you’ll no doubt be used to seeing huge flocks of feral pigeons on your travels. They’re often described as “flying rats” and seen as dirty, unintelligent and invasive…but is all this really true?

In reality, pigeons carry no greater risk of disease than other birds. They help with seed dispersal and pollination, and because of their numbers, they are an important part of the ecosystem in terms of providing food for birds of prey.

Pigeons are often thought of as an invasive species – but we do have our own native pigeon population. They are also highly intelligent: they’re able to remember complex routes (they don’t always return to the same place, though!) and recognise faces.

However, it’s also important to debunk certain myths when it comes to pigeon pest control. You may think it’s ok to feed pigeons, but if they know they’ll be fed regularly, their numbers will increase in your area, leading to a greater risk of disease. There will be more pigeon droppings around – and these can spread diseases like salmonella and psittacosis.

What’s more, controlling pigeon populations isn’t as simple as removing their nests. That’s not to say that pigeon pest control methods need to be inhumane, though, as we’ll go on to explain later.

Legal Status of Pigeons: Protected or Pest?

Are pigeons protected in the UK? The simple answer is yes. All wild birds – including pigeons – are protected under The Wildlife and Countryside Act of 1981. This Act makes it illegal to kill or capture pigeons and other wild birds without a licence. Initially, The Protection of Birds Act of 1954 established several protections for birds; since then, these have been consolidated and superseded by The Wildlife and Countryside Act.

It’s possible, though, to obtain general licences for the control of certain species (which includes some pigeon species). These, though, generally relate to specific conditions that either protect public health and safety or prevent damage.

The Animal Welfare Act 2006 requires that any pigeon pest control efforts consider their welfare to prevent unnecessary suffering. When it comes to chemicals and poisons, individuals and businesses alike also need to abide by the Control of Pesticides Regulations 1986 to ensure environmental safety.

The Prevention of Damage by Pests Act 1949 gives local authorities the ability to enforce landowners to take action to control pigeon populations if they pose a risk to public health. Should this require modifications to buildings, Town and Country Planning Acts need to be considered to ensure that changes are in line with local planning regulations.

Protecting biodiversity is covered by The Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006. This Act regulates how pigeon populations should be managed in relation to other wildlife. Attention should also be paid to European Union directives – including the Birds Directive. While EU directives may lose some of their relevance post-Brexit, they currently influence UK laws and regulations around the protection and management of wild bird populations – including pigeons.

Finally, The Pest Control Act of 1949 gives local authorities certain duties and powers to take action against a range of pests, including pigeons. It’s an important act but needs to be looked at alongside broader wildlife protection laws to remain fully compliant.

So, are pigeons protected? Absolutely, yes! However, that doesn’t mean pigeon pest control issues should be ignored, as these birds can cause significant damage, disease and disturbance if left unchecked.

Challenges of Pigeon Pest Control

Complying with the various laws and regulations that are in place can seem like a minefield. Don’t let them put you off pigeon pest control, though: you might be surprised at just how harmful these birds can be.

Pigeons can cause all sorts of property damage – and in several ways. Their nesting materials and droppings can block gutters and drains – and their droppings can even erode building materials. This can lead to increased building and structure maintenance costs, as well as the degradation of historic monuments and buildings which can’t be reversed.

There are health concerns to bear in mind, too. Pigeon droppings can carry diseases like psittacosis and salmonella, and they can also contaminate food in outdoor dining areas. What’s more, pigeon droppings can be slip hazards on pavements and other public spaces.

It’s not just disease and damage you have to worry about, either. Where there’s high food availability, pigeons can congregate in huge numbers. This overcrowding can cause their behaviour to become aggressive – and the resulting noise can also be problematic.

At airports, flocks of pigeons (as well as other birds) can interfere with air traffic and cause safety hazards, too.

All of this means that effective pigeon control is necessary – both for public health and safety and to keep buildings and structures in the best possible condition. But what is the best approach to pigeon pest control?

Pest Stop Boys' Approach to Pigeon Pest Control

At Pest Stop Boys, we always focus on safe, humane and legal pest control solutions – whatever the pest and whatever the scale of the problem we’re brought in to tackle. For pigeons, this often means working to remove access to food sources and nesting materials, removing access to buildings and placing deterrents.

We know that what works for one location may not necessarily work for another. That’s why we have a wide range of deterrents in our armoury, from netting and spiking to posts, wires and bird-repellent tapes and gels.

While pigeons don’t always return to the same spot, it’s possible that they can. That’s why, once we’ve removed the existing birds from your property, we’ll also give you plenty of advice on how to stop them from coming back. DIY vs. Professional Pigeon Control: What You Need to Know

It can be tempting to tackle your pigeon pest control issue yourself in a bid to save money. But will you really be saving money?

You’ll find plenty of pigeon deterrents for sale online – and some of them can make a difference. Unsurprisingly, though, they do vary in quality, and some of them can be hard to put up. Not everybody fancies scaling buildings to put bird netting or spikes in place!

Over time, pigeons can also get used to certain deterrents meaning that they lose their effectiveness. And remember earlier, we answered the question, “Are pigeons protected in the UK?” With the answer being “yes” – and by MANY laws and regulations – you need to have a good understanding of what is and isn’t allowed so you stay on the right side of the law.

Tackling your pigeon problem effectively on your own can be a challenge. If you’re struggling to reach their access points or are finding yourself overwhelmed by the number of birds on your property – or if you’re a business owner who’s finding that pigeons are affecting your business – calling in the professionals is always your best bet.

How to Choose the Right Pigeon Pest Control Service

There are plenty of pigeon pest control services out there. So how can you find the best one?

Start by checking your potential pest control partner for industry accreditations. These show that they meet industry standards and that their work is trusted by industry bodies.

Read customer reviews to see what others think – not only of their work but of their reliability, their friendliness, their discretion and their cleanliness.

Finally, check the methods they use for getting rid of pigeon problems. Are they industry-approved? Are they non-toxic and safe to use around people and pets? Are they humane – and, in fact, legal?

At Pest Stop Boys we pride ourselves not only on the efficacy of our solutions but also on our focus on customer satisfaction. Our Checkatrade reviews show our commitment to being customer-focused. Everything from our fast turnaround times to our discreet, unbranded vans is designed to give you peace of mind and reassurance during what we know can be a stressful experience.

If you’ve got pigeons causing problems, give us a call. We’ll have your property back to normal in no time at all.