Pigeons have been around for thousands of years and have been incredibly useful and valuable to humans. They were domesticated by the Ancient Egyptians for meat, carried vital messages during both world wars and are still used for sport.

In France, during Medieval times, wealthy people used to keep them in ‘pigeonniers’ – square towers that can still be seen in abundance in south west France. They were kept firstly for meat and secondly for their excrement as it was the best-known fertiliser of
the time. Having a pigeonnier was a sign of wealth.

Feral pigeons originated from wild rock doves and are related to pigeons that have escaped from pigeon houses. They vary in colour from almost pure white to black. Rock doves are only around on the sea cliffs on the west coast of Scotland, in Orkney, Shetland and on the west coast of Ireland. There are two other species of pigeon – woodpigeons and stock doves.

Unfortunately, prolific breeding has resulted in pigeons becoming pests, especially in towns and cities. They are determined creatures and their homing instincts mean they will always try to return to the previous year’s nesting site.

If a building has been netted to prevent birds nesting the following season, the birds will look for the tiniest gap and will be back in residence before you know. Legally, once they have started nesting, the birds cannot be disturbed without a licence and a good reason.

The only sure way to deter pest birds is with expertly fitted and maintained netting. Professionally fitted netting should be barely visible, and can be combined with tools like bird spikes which don’t harm the birds but prevent them from landing.

Paul Bates, Managing Director of Cleankill Pest Control, explains the importance of maintenance, “After all of the storms during March, and with February being a very warm, wet and windy month in many parts of the country, it is a good time to check that bird netting is intact before they start nesting. It is also important to keep monitor for rats at this time of year as they will be foraging above ground because their burrows will have become flooded.

“Birds can easily become tangled and trapped in damaged netting which not only causes them distress, but can lead to further damage to the netting.”

If birds are trapped, it’s important to retrieve them safely and minimise the stress caused to the animals. If the birds are dead, they require proper disposal by a registered company. Once any trapped pigeons have been removed, it’s important that repairs are carried out quickly and safely by a professional pest control company.

“Ideally, when the netting was installed, your pest control company should have offered an inspection contract. This means that it is the pest control company’s responsibility to regularly check the netting and make any necessary repairs. Check your contractor has insurance, and health and safety procedures in place, are licensed waste carriers and are members of the British Pest Control Association,” adds Paul.

As registered waste carriers, Cleankill can carry out full scale removal of bird fouling, as well as contaminated goods and furniture, from infested properties.

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