nyc pigeon saga
April 1, 2009 8:04 AM   Subscribe

PigeonFilter: The neighbor across the small alleyway (4th floor, nyc apartment) feeds the pigeons several times a day and lets them in to their apartment, resulting in crowds of dozens of pigeons around our windows at all hours. Now the pigeons have built a large nest on our window air conditioner, with an egg. What to do about A) the nest and B) the neighbor?

While the pigeons are pretty gross I respect the nest, but it can't stay there as the AC will be going on soon. Should I try to scare them away by turning on the AC once in a while? Moving the nest would be pretty much impossible as the bottom portion of the window is bolted shut to the air conditioner.

Both buildings have the same landlord so would it be appropriate to complain to the landlord about this being a health hazard, or to make a complaint to 311?
posted by martini to Home & Garden (14 answers total)
Have you considered an owl?
posted by The Bellman at 8:22 AM on April 1, 2009

I'd go with the AC option to deal with the immediate problem of the pigeon nest. I mean if the AC is going to be in use anyway, then no one can fault you AND you're avoiding having to actually get anywhere close the nest (which might result in angry parent pigeon dive bombing wrath).

As for the neighbor...beyond the nest on your AC how much of a problem are the pigeons? I mean is it a straight up health code violation or is it just more of a skin crawly reaction? Do the pigeons keep you up at night or disturb your normal daily routines? If so then I think you've got a valid issue to take up with the someone (the neighbor themselves most likely).

Otherwise I tend to lean towards the "pick your battles" philosophy.
posted by Smarson at 8:26 AM on April 1, 2009

I suspect the landlord would not like the idea of pigeons in the apt., and the potential rat food in the alley. Maybe an anonymous note to both the owner and the feeder? Unfortunately, I have been in a similar situation - and I sincerely doubt one can change the behavior of a pigeon feeder.
posted by R. Mutt at 8:27 AM on April 1, 2009

Have you tried contacting 311?

I don't know if they'll do anything with your complaint, but it's probably worth the 5 minutes it takes to lodge one. I contacted them about traffic at my intersection after the midtown crane collapse (along with hundreds of other people, I'm sure) and there was a traffic cop in place the very next day.
posted by kmtiszen at 8:52 AM on April 1, 2009

Or as a last resort bird strips.
posted by R. Mutt at 9:06 AM on April 1, 2009

Well, I'm not sure if anything came of it, but I know the city was considering levying fines for pigeon feeding. You might want to see if that got passed and, if so, I'd second calling 311.
posted by JaredSeth at 9:27 AM on April 1, 2009

DO NOT use the AC. It will bring in air contaminated with dry pigeon guano. the list of possible diseases is very long. You need to have the nest removed, and the area scrubbed and disinfected. Then have a barrier (spikes or electric) to prevent the birds from roosting. You also need to have the manager or board of health deal with your neighbor.
posted by Gungho at 9:41 AM on April 1, 2009

The bottom sash of the window is bolted to the AC box-sleeve retainer bar, but can you drop the top sash a couple of inches and get a broom out there to knock the nest off?

Certainly, complain to the landlord.

And there's basically nothing you can do about the neighbor — no-one is nuttier or crankier than pigeon-feeders. You might enjoy this letter my friend Jon, an NYC landlord, got after writing a letter about pigeons and the people who feed them to New York Magazine.
posted by nicwolff at 9:58 AM on April 1, 2009 [2 favorites]

If your going to wait until the babies are fledged it will take about 20 days to hatch and a month to leave the nest.

and I'll second the cleaning of the pigeon poo nasty nasty stuff especially if you have asthma or any other breathing issues.
posted by ljesse at 10:12 AM on April 1, 2009

Even if you get your neighbor to stop feeding the birds, you'll probably still be left with the nesting pair on your window sill. In my experience pigeons are stubborn and determined little bastards. If you remove or destroy the nest they will rebuild (and rebuild, and rebuild). The key is to make your window as inhospitable as possible for perching or nesting. Something like the bird strips mentioned above might work.

And then there's this: Bird Gard Laser Gun.
posted by Kabanos at 10:20 AM on April 1, 2009

(A) Shove the nest + egg off (The pigeon population of NY will cope). Put bird spikes on your air conditioner so they don't return.

(B) Leave your neighbor alone. I can't believe people want you to report them to your landlord for a harmless hobby. Anyone who'd go out of their way to make trouble for a neighbor like that drops a full letter grade on my human quality scale.
posted by pseudonick at 10:21 AM on April 1, 2009

If you're too squeemish to crush the egg, put it in the freezer.
posted by bonobothegreat at 10:32 AM on April 1, 2009

I can't believe people want you to report them to your landlord for a harmless hobby. Anyone who'd go out of their way to make trouble for a neighbor like that drops a full letter grade on my human quality scale.

Wait till someone start feeding a colony of rats outside your house and see how harmless a hobby you think that is.

lets them in to their apartment

Quoted for crazy-bird-lady insanity.
posted by nicwolff at 2:53 PM on April 1, 2009

This is what I said yesterday in the previous pigeons-on-my-air-conditioner thread. That AC unit is probably already done for. After my own pigeon/AC experience I went the plastic owl route.
posted by MsMolly at 5:50 PM on April 1, 2009

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