We’ve had some people ask us, “do pigeons fly at night?” Because we normally notice pigeons during the day, it’s logical to assume that pigeons are active during the day rather than nocturnal.
This is usually true unless pigeons are disturbed. Some of the things that could contribute to pigeons flying at night include:
- Loud, sudden noises, especially those associated with building.
- Having lights left on late at night in or around trees.
- Outdoor parties or other gatherings generate a lot of noise.
Even though pigeons can be a nuisance, there are effective methods that can be used. If you realize what you need to do, you will be able to avoid having pigeons disturbed by nocturnal activity disrupting your activities. You will also want to avoid methods that fail to resolve the problem over a longer term.
Why Exclusion is Better Than Poison
Many people, especially if they find the pigeons particularly annoying, resort to using poison. In addition to possibly being illegal in some areas, poison can also cause other problems. Some birds collide with building windows or cars after ingesting the poison, possibly causing damage. Dogs, cats, and other predators may also become accidentally poisoned after killing and eating poisoned pigeons.
Exclusion is a better method to use over a long period of time that involves the following:
- Porcupine strips and netting in popular roosting areas.
- End voluntary feeding by people in the area.
- Reducing natural food and water sources.
- Consider capturing for small numbers.
All of these methods, if used consistently, should make a difference. Careful monitoring is necessary to ensure that these methods are working as planned.
There are two common types of barrier methods, porcupine strips, and netting. They are both effective but should be used properly to ensure that they work. Barriers are good at preventing them from returning to favorite roosting spots.
Porcupine strips have barbs that are sharp and discourage the pigeons from roosting. Netting also provides a surface that birds can’t roost on. However, both barriers should be checked for leaves, sticks, and other debris that would allow pigeons to get around the barbs or mesh.
Stopping Voluntary Feeding
Many people enjoy feeding birds and don’t hesitate to give pigeons something to eat. However, this encourages them to roost in a certain area which may prove inconvenient if the location is used at night. Some of the ways to stop feeding include:
- Having a no-feeding policy with posted signs.
- Using outdoor trash barrels that are properly covered over.
- If necessary, enlist the help of local health department officials
Reducing Access to Food and Water
Although many don’t like the idea of cutting off food and water supplies to pigeons, this is an effective way to exclude them even when nobody is deliberately feeding them.
- Make sure nuts and berries from trees and shrubs are cleaned up when they fall.
- Consider using netting on fruit-bearing shrubs.
- Empty out containers with standing water
Pigeons are opportunistic feeders and can easily locate food in another location.
When to Choose Capturing or Trapping Pigeons
If you need to remove a smaller number of birds, capturing can be quite effective. Use a commercial trap and release them into another area. Keep in mind, though, the fact that pigeons have strong homing instincts and might come back. This method works best for smaller groups that only roost in the area and aren’t there all day.
Always stay on top of your exclusion methods to ensure that they’re working. If they are, you’ll be in good shape.
Additional Pigeon Behavior Resources:
- Internet Center for Wildlife Management – Pigeons (Rock Doves)
- 7 Strange Tips for Pigeon Problems – NeverPest
- Techniques for Feral Pigeon Trapping, Tagging and Nest Monitoring – New York Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit