Pigeon Woes

10 May

I moved in to my apartment in January. To my delight, it came with a balcony that faces towards the water.  But balconies aren’t particularly useful during the Nova Scotia winter, as there is too much rain/sleet/snow/wind to contend with, so it has remained unused for the past several months. Nevertheless, I went through the winter with hope in my heart and a dream of warmer weather and lovely evenings on the balcony. As the cold season wore on, I realized that although I never went out there, my balcony was actually used frequently throughout the winter months. In fact, it had multiple daily visitors. Some of them stayed there from dusk til dawn, and to my horror and disgust it appeared that not only were they using my balcony as hip and happening hang-out, but also as the avian equivalent of a public washroom. Translation: my balcony is infested with pigeons and they have been crapping all over it since the beginning of time.

Exhibit A

Now that we are in to May and (allegedly) the weather will be warming up, I want to actually use my balcony. But my hatred/intense fear of all things winged makes the situation particularly problematic. This is in fact, a 2-tiered problem.

1. How do I get the pigeons off the balcony?

I originally thought that my presence on the balcony would be enough to scare the pigeons away. Untrue. The other day I was knocking on the glass, opening and closing the door, making high-pitched noises (so basically looking and acting as crazy as possible) and trying to shoo them away.  The pigeons just sat there looking right at me. If I could read pigeon minds, I’m pretty sure they were thinking: “Bitch please. No amount of flapping and screeching from you is going to move us. Finders keepers. Now we invite you to enjoy our obnoxiously loud cooing. Performances start daily at 6:00 am.’’ I’ve heard of various tricks that people employ to get rid of pigeons – giant plastic owls, cayenne pepper, metal spikes, bird-be-gone goo, but I haven’t actually tried any of these tactics yet. My main issue is, if I use cayenne pepper or bird spikes or whatever, won’t that drastically decrease my own potential enjoyment of the balcony? What to do, what to do?

2. How do I clean the balcony of all the pigeon fecal matter?

The amount of shit on my balcony is actually quite distressing. I was told that the only thing that could possibly clean it is a pressure washer on full-blast. However, due to the fact that half of the crap out there appears to be fossilized, I am not optimistic that a pressure washer will do the trick. I was also warned that this might make my balcony extremely splintery – so bad for pigeons, and humans alike. Alternatively, I was advised that pigeons hate the smell of bleach, and the best thing to do would be to get down on my hands and knees and scrub every inch of the surface with a bleach solution. But that means actually coming in to contact with all of the pigeon excrement. I will now direct your attention to this seriously devastating story about a 23-year old Fredericton woman who contracted cryptococcal meningitis after coming in to contact with pigeon feces, and is now blind. BLIND BECAUSE OF PIGEONS! (http://dailygleaner.canadaeast.com/cityregion/article/1402419) If this isn’t reason enough to remove oneself from any possible encounter with pigeons, then I don’t know what is.  And I definitely don’t know how I’m supposed to do any cleaning or balcony-related relaxing.

Exhibit B

The fact that these vermin are so filthy and disgusting that they can potentially threaten a person’s health is incredibly alarming and upsetting. To me, the ideal solution would be an investment in a pellet gun and some target practice; unfortunately, I think this is frowned upon, so I’m going to have to hold off of popping a cap in these pigeons. For now at least. Currently the weather is pretty horrible in NS, so there’s no point in venturing outside anyway. But when it’s finally nice out – what do I do? How do I get rid of them? How do I put an end to their incessant trespassing? How do I clean up the unholy mess they’ve already made? Will I ever be able to use my balcony?! I can’t answer any of these questions – if you can, please advise post-haste.

In summation, I hate pigeons. They need to stop.


9 Responses to “Pigeon Woes”

  1. The Tea Lady May 10, 2011 at 12:14 pm #

    You’need one of these
    and a hose from your sink.
    Hey presti!

  2. Jenn B May 10, 2011 at 12:24 pm #

    Don’t have any suggestions for cleaning it, but a simple and cheap way to prevent them from staying, if your balcony is small, is to attach shiny streamers to your railing. The light and movement discourages birds from hanging around there. If course, this only works if there’s wind. On the 18th floor where my neighbors employed this practice, it worked. Or, you know, do what this guy did: http://www.neatorama.com/2011/05/04/a-defense-against-cat-urine/

  3. themother May 12, 2011 at 9:24 pm #

    Put some pigeon food on your neighbours balcony!

  4. nadia May 13, 2011 at 7:03 pm #

    shiny stuff works (a mess of old CDs dangling in the breeze), but pigeons aren’t fooled for long.

    on our campus we have the same problem. cozy nooks are pigeon paradise. the only thing that physically keeps them off is a superfine mesh covering any entrance point. you can barely see it, but that’s basically it. . .mesh “sails” to protect your balcony.

    • Leslie Flemming May 14, 2011 at 3:59 pm #

      Thanks for the recommendations. I love the idea of putting feed on other peoples’ balconies! Desperate times call for desperate measures!

  5. Shel May 17, 2011 at 9:20 pm #

    Plastic owl from the garden store? Keep moving it every day?

    We had tons of pigeons on our street nesting every year and then suddenly they were gone. A few days later we saw a hawk cruising by and then suddenly it all made sense. All it takes is one predator.

  6. Jim September 22, 2012 at 5:36 pm #

    Plastic Owls and shiny paper or whirligigs will work for a short while until the Pigeons get used to them and realize they are not a threat.
    The best way is to install nylon netting all around and if installed properly you will hardly notice it and it will physically prevent them from landing on your balcony railings and floor.
    Meanwhile you get to enjoy the outdoors and not be pestered by the sky rats.

  7. Thais May 31, 2013 at 12:10 pm #

    Bleach is the answer to both cleaning and keeping them away! They used to hang out in my balcony all the time, and it stopped from the time I started using bleach….they somehow hate it. I see them flying around my balcony and then they give up and go to one of my neighbor’s. I live in the top floor and in front of the beach, so you can imagine the amount of pigeons flying around. Well, it solved the problem for me and hope helps you! 🙂

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