Getting rid of The Birds...
December 15, 2013 5:15 PM   Subscribe

A bird couple (pigeons, apparently) have set up shop in the corner of my balcony and I have tried various and relatively humane methods in an attempt to drive them away. They've barely reacted. What are my next courses of action?

Last week, I noticed an abundance of bird droppings all over my apartment balcony and early one morning, was awakened by cooing and pecking noises. The next day, I poked my head out and saw two amorous birds staring blankly at me. They didn't move from this spot for hours, if not the entire day. It appears that they are getting ready to lay eggs, if they haven't yet already. The "nest" isn't built from twigs, sticks, the usual nest-making material-- rather, the "nest" appears to be composed of dirt and dusty droppings. It is disgusting and I'm getting apprehensive of potential disease and germs as a result of allowing the birds to use up some of my balcony real estate.

Based on the bit of Googling I've done, I resorted to dumping at least 10 gallons of hot water on them, mixed with all natural cleaning solvents. I've taken a broom and swatted them on their heads, poked at them. All to no avail. They just shuffled around and ruffled their feathers.

I'm leaving town later this week and will not return until at least the new year. I'm at work from morning until later at night and am not sure if it'd be prudent for me to call a pest control company. Leaving the birds be and watching a bird family grow in front of my eyes is really not an option; the thought of this gives me the heebie-jeebies. I'm not sure if I'm comfortable, you know, "taking care of the situation", but at this rate, I may be that desperate.
posted by chloe.gelsomino to Home & Garden (13 answers total)
I'd see if there's a local pigeon fancier's club that would be willing to take them off your hands. Even if none of the hobbists want them, they should be able to advise you on how best to kill/evict them.
posted by Diablevert at 5:36 PM on December 15, 2013

The best answer seems to be a toy owl mounted on your deck somewhere. (Doesn't have to be right where the pigeons have been.)
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 5:37 PM on December 15, 2013 [1 favorite]

One particular day, my balcony was apparently declared to be THE happening place for pigeons. I invested in a plastic owl and borrowed a rubber snake and they moved on. I still have the owl but his head won't stay on; not sure if that makes him less convincing or figuratively more threatening.
posted by Morrigan at 6:19 PM on December 15, 2013 [5 favorites]

Since the aesthetic won't matter while you're away from your apartment, can you just tarp your entire balcony? At least then you can go away for vacation and not worry about them nesting while you are gone and coming home to chicks. You can buy cheap tarp and stuff to tie it down with at your local hardware store.
posted by juniperesque at 7:17 PM on December 15, 2013

I'm not sure the use of a plastic owl and/or any fake predator would be effective at this point, given that swatting the two birds directly with a broom and dumping water on them have failed to elicit any reaction from them aside from a few blinks and chirps. At this point, my focus is getting rid of the roosting birds/potential nesters, and bird-proofing the balcony afterwards.
posted by chloe.gelsomino at 7:31 PM on December 15, 2013

The pigeons aren't (yet, ugh) nesting on my deck, but they seem to be hanging out every day and the owls we got aren't doing anything. I don't have any suggestions but don't waste your money on an owl.
posted by radioamy at 9:04 PM on December 15, 2013

Put up some pigeon spikes( they discourage, not impale).
posted by brujita at 9:55 PM on December 15, 2013

Can you put up a net that makes it impossible for them to land on your balcony? You may need to grab them and toss them off first. Wear gloves.
posted by Too-Ticky at 12:24 AM on December 16, 2013

I agree with the net. We had a bad pigeon problem in a previous apartment (and yes, they laid eggs several times--I was both annoyed and guilt-stricken) and our landlord tried several things, including an owl and spikes. Finally the only thing that worked was physically blocking their access to our apartment balcony with a net.
posted by Bella Sebastian at 12:48 AM on December 16, 2013

As a bonus, bird netting is cheap as can be. You can get it at any big-box home improvement store. The wind will go through it, so you don't need to worry about it turning into a sail.
posted by jquinby at 5:51 AM on December 16, 2013

Anecdata about pigeon spikes: at a former job of mine, the pigeon spikes presented a handy-dandy support for the sticks, dirt, and pigeon droppings that made up the pigeon nest outside our window. They raised several generations of babies there before we finally convinced the university to do something about it (which mostly consisted of their blocking off the bottom half of our floor-to-ceiling window so we couldn't see the nest).
posted by telophase at 11:49 AM on December 16, 2013

There are other, cheaper and humane solutions.

You can throw a handful of sand or rock salt at them. Unlikely to harm them; certain to annoy them greatly. AT MOST, after a couple repeats they're going to find less annoying places to hang out.

On the off chance that they react aggressively (with pigeons, about 1,000:1 odds), do it from the doorway, and close it right after.
posted by IAmBroom at 2:53 PM on December 16, 2013

A friend made a mobile of three blank CDs strung together and hung from the ceiling of her balcony area to get rid of pigeon visitors. It looks weird but is very effective. We assume it's the sparkly movements that drive them away. That or they can't be seen around such tacky balcony decor.
posted by NikitaNikita at 3:22 PM on December 21, 2013

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