Pigeons, Seagulls & other Feathered Friends

Wild birds, including pigeons, seagulls, ducks, geese and swans can pose a feathered problem for many towns, especially if they wander en masse into public areas and try to snatch food. The soiling of pavements, buildings and parks can result in high clean up costs and even property damage where the acidic excrement erodes surfaces.

The installation of spikes on window sills, roof edges and other flat surfaces can reduce the issues for building owners. Plastic or dummy birds of prey on rooftops and silhouette bird stickers on windows have at best a short term effect as the living birds soon recognize the absence of movement.

Attempts to control the bird population by culling does not tend to be effective and is only legally allowed in specific extreme circumstances. Lethal control is not permitted to protect buildings or pavements from soiling and roosting, and is not recommended as best practice. There are strong concerns from the Pigeon Control Advisory Service www.picasuk.com that, not only does culling not work, but it could have the reverse affect. The bird population is largely determined by food availability, and a cull can result in an excess of food for the remaining population which then multiplies further.

As such, control of their food supply is a recommended best practice tip. Feeding birds in the public realm, while often seen as a benign pastime, is actually classed as littering and can attract vermin. Good local litter picks and public campaigns to please not feed the birds are often the best route. Allowing a local birds of prey establishment to regularly release their hunters at night to naturally cull the wild bird population in the town centre can be a discreet and legal alternative in some locations.

Greater London is subject to its own Code of Practice for the control of nuisance birds which came into affect under the London Local Authorities Act 2004.