Pigeon Problem on Your Pier?

Terri Thomas (seated on floor) hosted the pigeon-abatement meeting on East Pier  |  photo and post by Christina Leimer

On East Pier, we’ve noticed a lot more pigeons recently. Besides being messy and noisy, they can carry diseases that will make people sick. Since pigeons can nest 6 times each year, we could quickly see hundreds of these birds.

It’s a problem we want to stop before it spreads, so 13 East Pier residents met on June 18 to discuss options. Eliminating the habitat that attracts pigeons and allows them to breed is the best first option. That includes:

  • Eliminate outdoor sources of fresh water

Unlike the other birds on the bay, pigeons can’t drink saltwater. So, removing buckets of water and birdbaths and making sure not to overfill plant pots will help. As a second step, since it may take more effort and money, repair leaky pipes and drains.

  • Eliminate their food source

Pigeons eat seeds and grains, so clip seed heads from plants, pull weeds, and start new plants from cuttings rather than seed.

  • Block their nests

Don’t destroy the nest, or they will just rebuild. Instead, put a ball in it—the size of a tennis ball or larger. They will then abandon the nest, unless there’s an egg in it. Unlike the eggs of native migratory birds or non-native birds that are migrating, it isn’t illegal to destroy pigeon eggs. You may not want to do that though, so watch for new nests and block them.

  • Put up pinwheels

This may not keep them away in the long run but might scare them away at least temporarily.

  • Notice pigeon behavior

What are they doing? Do you see them eating at particular times or in particular places or particular types of foods? They may be eating or drinking from succulents. Where do you see them nesting? You can send your observations to the FHA at fhasaus@gmail.com.

  • Pigeons may be nesting under East Pier, so Kappas Marina will be contacted to see what they can do

If the pigeon population is growing on your pier, let the FHA know.  This information will help to see the scope of the problem and potential remedies. Also, if you’ve already found a solution, please report that too

Adult pigeons can be trapped and removed, which likely means they would be taken to the Humane Society or otherwise killed through pest management methods. To spare them, we hope everyone helping to make our floating homes environment less pigeon-attractive will get them to move on, to the city.

Further reading:
Pigeons (PestWorld.org)
Integrated Pest Management for Pigeons (IPM)
Going Coo-Coo Over Pigeons? A Few Management Tools