The Flying Rat – is the Pigeon Population Growing?
June 16, 2019
Pigeons, or more particularly feral pigeons, are not native to Australia. They are descendants of homing pigeons introduced by European settlers. Drawn by the availability of food, water and potential breeding sites, pigeons have grown in numbers as urban and country development has increased.
Pigeons pose a range of problems including potential property damage, attracting other pests, and spreading disease. They breed often, with the potential for each pair of pigeons to produce eight more chicks each year, and can live for three to four years in the wild. Complicating this problem is the fact pigeons tend to stick near to their nests, so once they start to breed, their localised numbers can increase significantly.
There are different methods to managing pigeon numbers, broadly split between lethal and non-lethal approaches. Lethal approaches (or culling), like shooting or trapping, have limited short-term benefits, so this article is focused on some longer-term non-lethal approaches. Consult carefully before looking at lethal approaches.
There are some simple methods to limiting pigeon numbers to your property, such as reducing the availability of food and water. Don’t leave pet bowls accessible outside and consider carefully whether to have bird baths or feeders. In addition, keeping the outside clear of general rubbish, particularly food scraps, is also helpful.
Be vigilant around your property. Even if you can’t see pigeons, an accumulation of pigeon droppings is a good sign. Pigeon nests are simple affairs – they just need a few twigs or sticks – so be aware of the various nooks and crannies around your home or building. Potential spots are ledges, window sills and generally anywhere that is covered. Keep cracks and crevices sealed.
Pigeons are a potential problem, but a little vigilance and maintenance can go a long way to bird proofing your home from the flying rat.