We are having problems across Pendle with the mess and damage being caused by large populations of feral pigeons.
Pigeons and rats
We are also having a lot of problems with rats. People are feeding the pigeons and the food that is left on the ground is attracting the rats.
This is a particular problem in our town centres.
The more you feed the pigeons, the more rats we get. So please don't put food out for pigeons.
They are wildlife, and they won't starve if you don't feed them.
We know that some people do like to feed the pigeons, and think it is a kind thing to do.
But feeding them actually alters their breeding pattern.
Instead of breeding 2 to 3 times a year, they breed all year round.
Once the number of pigeons has rapidly increased, there are so many of them that they then become a nuisance. Their numbers then have to be controlled. Sometimes this is done naturally, reducing their food supply and access to nest sites and roosting areas. Sometimes this has to be done artifically, by shooting, trapping or poisoning.
Facts about pigeons
- Feral pigeons form large flocks that roost on ledges, cills, sloping roofs and under bridges
- They prefer to eat grain and seeds but they have also become efficient scavengers of rubbish and refuse
- They take food from bird tables and eat household scraps. Eating large quantities of white bread and buns can actually harm the birds. It can cause paralysis through Vitamin B and calcium deficiency
Problems caused by pigeons
- Pigeon droppings are acidic and cause damage to buildings and machinery, and also to lawns and shrubberies. Nest material, droppings and feathers can clog the drains and vents
- Pigeons carry many diseases, some of which can be transmitted to humans if droppings contaminated food stores, bakeries or canteens. They also carry a mite which causes skin disease, and feather dust can cause allergic alveolitis, known as pigeon fancier’s lung. Feral pigeon flocks can harbour Newcastle disase that can be passed to domestic poultry if their feed is contaminated by droppings
- Droppings on pavements can make them slippery and dangerous. In cities pigeons can startle motorists and may be responsible for some traffic accidents
- Large numbers can drive small birds away from feeding areas, and may reduce their populations
Help us to control the number of pigeons
We really need you to help us by:
- Not feeding the pigeons
- If you want to feed other birds, put your bird food in feeders for small birds, and not loose on a bird table
- Making sure that rubbish is put in bags and bins so that pigeons cannot scavenge
- Bird proofing buildings so that pigeons cannot access nest sites and roosting areas
If you help us to do this, it will encourage large flocks of pigeons to disperse, the pigeons will go back to their natural breeding cycle, and the number of pigeons will be naturally controlled. We won't have to start controlling them artificially then.
It will also really help to reduce the amount of rats that are in public spaces.