The feral pigeon is a descendant of the rock dove and is well adapted to life in an urban environment. They are around 35cm long and mostly grey in colour with iridescent green feathers on the neck. The markings and shades of pigeon plumage vary widely, but the majority have two dark grey or black bands across the wings.
Pigeons generally prefer to nest on ledges and window sills on buildings. They’re also commonly found amongst unprotected plant on commercial properties and in the lofts of residential houses.
The main breeding period for pigeons is from March to July. In the absence of extreme weather, they are able to breed throughout the year. Two to four eggs are produced at a time and are incubated for around 18 days, before hatching. Young birds are independent after roughly 5 weeks in the nest.
Feral pigeons will scavenge for food in urban areas. They are often fed by members of the public, which encourages large numbers of these pests in town and city centres.
The noise and droppings created by these groups can be disruptive and hazardous. The faeces are actually corrosive, which means that they can cause damage to metal and stonework over extended periods of exposure. Pigeons can also cause additional damage by dislodging tiles and blocking guttering with refuse.
It’s important to note that pigeons, like many pest birds, are notorious for spreading diseases like histoplasmosis, so it’s vital that you never try to handle feral pigeons or their droppings without protection.