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The term “pigeon” is often used interchangeably with the term “dove.” In ornithology (the study of birds), the smaller species most often are called doves while the larger ones are mostly referred to as pigeons (yet there is no consistent methodology). There are about 300 species belonging to the the order of Columbiformes and are found throughout most parts of the world, with the exception of the hottest, driest or coldest areas such as the Sahara Desert and the Antartic. The Feral Rock Pigeon is the species referred commonly to as just the “pigeon.”
Pigeons commonly have small heads, short necks, slender short bills, large stout bodies, and short legs. Their diet consists of mainly seeds and fruit. They have an average lifespan of 10 to 15 years. The oldest pigeon recorded was approximately 33 years old. Sexual maturity is reached between 6 to 10 months and generally lay or two eggs. The young who are cared for by both parents, typically leave the nest between 7 to 28 days. Both the male and female are able to feed their young a very nutritious substance they naturally produce called crop milk. Young pigeons are referred to as “squabs.”
Despite the public’s general affection towards birds, the pigeon is considered the primary bird pest. Pigeons and other birds are similar to rodents in terms of disease and damage. They can harbor over 40 different parasites and can host over sixty types of infectious diseases. Psittacosis is one example of a well known disease which can be transmitted from bird to man. It is important to not only remove the birds but also to exterminate all the parasites and thoroughly disinfect the area they were occupying.
They live and congregate in large numbers across the U.S. Cities such as Phoenix and the greater Arizona area is not exempt from them. In addition to carrying pathogens, pigeon droppings are not only unsightly but can be destructive buildings and structures. Bird excretion can render pavement, fire escapes and ladders unsafe due to the danger of slipping. It’s hard to believe but millions of dollars in damage occur every year to buildings, roofs, automobiles, ventilation systems, machinery and more by pest birds. The much publicized collapse of a bridge in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 2007 attributed one of the likely factors to pigeon damage.
It is the concentration of uric acid in pigeon feces that is highly corrosive. The life of your roof can be cut in half by roosting flocks.
Pigeons and birds in general, perch and nest where there is shelter, safety, food and water.
Make the area less desirable for nesting.