Today the pigeon is the most serious bird pest associated with human habitations. The pigeon is approx. 31 to 34cm in length. The colour is generally blue grey with two black bars across the rear half of the inner wing. The neck and upper breast has a purple-green gloss. Variations in colour frequently occur, from reddish through to near black, and chequered versions due to infiltration from racing stock.
Pigeons are widely distributed and are frequently found in large flocks in cities and built up areas. They are often seen in parks and near pavements feeding on foods provided by people. Their natural diet consists of grains and seeds, but they have adapted well to city life, often relying mainly on scraps, such as cake, bread and wild seed given or left by the general public. Pigeons will breed throughout the year, the peak being between March and July.
Pigeons have a negative effect when they associate too closely with people. Pigeons are often both serious nuisances and pests capable of transmitting diseases, contaminating our food and damaging our buildings.
Much of the damage caused by pigeons arises from their infestation of buildings. Heavy fouling occurs at the places where the birds roost, such as monuments and large buildings with ledges. This is not only unsightly, but will also have a destructive effect, as the acidic droppings will erode the stonework over time. Gutters and down-pipes often become blocked, leading to localised flooding and associated problems.
Pigeons frequently deposit their droppings on pavements, people, buildings, park benches, statues and cars. The droppings are not only unsightly and smelly, but can permanently stain and corrode some metals. Large amounts of droppings can severely damage and even kill valuable trees and other vegetation. Droppings on pavements can also cause a dangerous slipping hazard that can lead to serious injury. It is particularly important to keep external fire escapes free from fouling.
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