All types of homes – lived-in or abandoned – attract pigeons.
If your apartment is taller than several stories, the balcony makes an attractive roosting place for pigeons, no matter how clean you keep it.
Worse still, pigeon poop can stain the sliding glass doors, ruining your once-beautiful view.
So, why do pigeons like your balcony?
You may have removed all food sources, but why do pigeons keep going back to the balcony?
Why Do Pigeons Land on Your Balcony?
Your neighbors have balconies too, but why does your balcony become the pigeons’ target?
Balconies may share similar physical characteristics, but various factors can influence their suitability for pigeons.
1. Weather Shelter
Pigeons need a shelter that protects them from rain, strong and gusty winds, and the harsh afternoon sun.
It is a place for them to nest and raise their offspring and rest when they are not foraging for food.
Pitched roofs with horizontal places to roost underneath are the ideal sanctuary for the pigeons. They still get the ventilation and ease of entering and exiting, but the rain and sun do not reach them.
Balconies with a flat concrete roof are not suitable for them, although some types of balcony railings can make good roosting places (see #8 below).
2. Excellent Vantage Point
Pigeons’ adaptation to life in the cities’ concrete jungles is unsurprising. The high and hard surfaces mimic the rocky cliffs they call home in the wild.
Have you wondered why?
Their natural survival instinct dictates that a high roosting spot with an excellent vantage point and protected sides make a safer refuge than an exposed tree branch.
Pigeons have unique capabilities (able long-distance messengers in ancient times). Still, they rank lowly in the food chain among predatory birds.
It is why ledges under roof eaves and accessible roof gable ends are pigeons’ favorite nesting places.
3. Safe Nesting Spot
Birds hunt or forage for food in the day and need a safe cover for the night.
A place to nest safely and lay eggs ensures and increases their offspring’s chance of survival. Birds of prey and other birds lower in the dominance hierarchy like pigeons share the same necessity.
Balconies can be semi- or fully-covered outdoor spaces. Ledges and beams under the roof provide excellent cover for pigeons to nest and raise their young.
The hard surfaces provide support and stability for the flimsy nest of straws and sticks.
Snakes and lizards can climb trees to access the eggs, but your balcony is out of these predators’ reach.
4. Supportive Balcony Railing
Rounded railings are challenging for pigeons to stand and impossible to walk on, but flat and hard surface rails make excellent roosting strips.
It is why pigeons like ledges – feral pigeons do not have strong claws to grip like predatory birds, so they need a flat surface to stand and maneuver.
What type of balcony railing do you have?
5. Peace and Quiet
Safety and shelter are essential priorities for pigeons, but an undisturbed environment is ideal for them to roost and nest peacefully, away from predatory threats and human activities.
Do you use your balcony frequently?
Pigeons are faithful to their roosting site. Once the pigeon gets comfortable with your balcony, it is stubbornly difficult to remove.
6. Food Crumbs
Pigeons thrive on human food – fresh or leftovers.
When pleasant weather permits, relaxing breakfast at the balcony on a Sunday morning is a welcome break from the hectic workweek.
You may not leave your food out on the balcony, but crumbs from the bread or potato chips are enticing treats for the pigeon.
Pigeons will return to the same place once they know food is available.
7. Bird Feeders
Bird feeding is a relaxing and enjoyable way to observe birds up close, particularly for bird lovers.
They feed multiple birds and various bird species without being too large, heavy, or unwieldy for a balcony setup.
The central container holds the seeds, and the weight-activated feeding ports open when the bird perches. However, pigeons are too big to fit onto the perch, and their excess weight closes the ports.
Seeds that fall on the balcony floor make easy picking for the pigeons.
You can invest in a pigeon-proof bird feeder with a bottom tray that catches spilled seeds.
8. Water Sources
A pigeon cannot swim but loves a good bath.
Uneven floor surfaces, standing water, and a leaky hose bib can contribute to the presence of water on your balcony.
Apart from the need to drink, puddles of standing water are an excellent place for pigeons to cool down to beat the heat – the same reason pigeons bathe at the edges of a swimming pool.
9. Potted Plants
Flowering plants produce flowers, fruit, and seeds.
If you garden on the balcony, the ample food supply encourages pigeons to congregate.
Unless you take steps to prevent access and keep the balcony floor free from fallen seeds and ripe fruit, the pigeon will remain a problem.
Further, fallen dry leaves can clog floor rainwater outlets, causing stagnant water.
10. Place Familiarity
Pigeons may not look like the most intelligent animals, but they can combine their natural compass and landmark guidance to bring themselves back to areas that meet their needs.
The pigeons recognize places and will have no trouble returning to your balcony if you allow them the idea that food is available consistently.
Food and a suitable shelter are top pigeon attractants.
What Does It Mean When Pigeons Come to Your Balcony?
Some cultures believe pigeons (or white doves) symbolize peace, prosperity, and wealth – a pair of them brings luck in love.
Others think of pigeons as bad luck – especially the lone pigeon.
In practical terms, many pigeons congregating at parts of your home spell trouble as they destroy your garden bed, the endless cooing irritates, and their droppings damage your house.
Pigeon problems may extend beyond inconveniences and annoyance; they can be costly and a health risk.
Other Facts You Should Know
Pigeons are unlike other birds – general facts you read on other birds may not apply to pigeons.
Apply the information to deter pigeons effectively or avoid steps that waste your time.
When Do Pigeons Nest?
Household pests can be active and attack your home during the cooler or warmer months.
Unlike migratory birds that lay eggs seasonally, pigeons breed throughout the year.
It is not surprising given the year-round availability of food in the gardens, and the leftovers city dwellers leave behind.
Centuries of evolution made pigeons highly adaptable animals alongside humans.
What Food Attracts Pigeons the Most?
Pet pigeons eat seeds, grains, and specially produced pre-mixed pigeon feed.
For the feral pigeons that visit your home or those you find challenging to get rid of, anything goes – raw or cooked food, including lunch leftovers.
Feral pigeons are not as picky as humans when choosing what to eat.
What Do Pigeons Hate?
You can employ the pigeon’s dislikes and fears against them.
Pigeons hate strong scents – garlic, cinnamon, and hot pepper spray. Plus, their primary fear is predatory birds – any carnivorous birds larger than them.
They are afraid of larger birds, but the effect of a stationary decoy with a plastic smell is questionable.
Pigeons aren’t dumb.
What Colors Do Pigeons Hate or Attract Them?
Hate or preference for particular colors may exist in birds, but the pigeon does not seem to have any.
In the absence of any scientific evidence, mere mortal observations suggest that no colors attract or deter pigeons.
Pigeons can see in the UV range that humans cannot and perceive color differently.
What Damage Do Pigeons Cause?
Feral pigeons that call your house their home can cause costly property damages.
- Acidic dropping – at pH 3 to 4.5, it can corrode metals and damage paintwork. The acidity burns and etches the paint surface; the longer the dropping remains, the greater the damage.
- Clogged gutters – the droppings trap leaves and large particles, causing rainwater to build up several inches high and overflow. Water damage on the walls and adjacent ceiling can result. When left unattended for long periods under the sun, the acidic dropping can burn through the protective coating and onto the gutter’s bare metal, causing leaks.
- Pigeon nest attracts pests – the presence of one can bring another into your home.
Are Pigeons a Health Risk?
Birds can carry viral, bacterial, and fungal pathogens that cause human illnesses.
The health risks and ill effects relating to feral pigeons:
- Pigeon dropping can carry more than 60 transmittable diseases and parasitic organisms.
- Inhalation of fecal dust can be equally problematic.
- Food and water contamination by pigeon feces.
- Pigeons carry fleas, lice, and mites; these pests can infect you, your soft furnishings, and your pet.
- Pigeon overcrowding facilitates infections among their population, which increases the pathogenic properties of the diseases – a danger to you and your family.
- Pigeon nests are flammable – fire risks.
Do not touch the pigeons when trying to remove them from your balcony.
How to Keep Pigeons Off Your Balcony?
The exact pigeon deterrence steps for the other parts of your home may differ from your balcony’s, but the concept remains the same.
Steps to get rid of pigeons on your balcony and prevent them from returning:
- Install steel spikes – choose steel spikes. Places to install include beams, edges of a ledge, and any horizontal surfaces they can roost.
- Block gaps – walls and roof gable ends are potential roosting spots.
- Eliminate food and water sources – remove open trash cans. Cover water-filled containers if you need to have one at the balcony for the plants. Repair the leaking hose bib if you have one. Check that the floor water outlet is not clogged. You may need a contractor to re-level the balcony floor if rainwater does not drain or drain evenly.
- Screen the balcony – garden netting protects your flowering plants. Alternatively, install architectural screens for higher aesthetics.
- Install raised-bed planters – narrow strips of planting area with no ledges wide enough for pigeons to stand. 3 feet high is enough to keep the seeds and fruit out of the pigeon’s reach.
- Use a pigeon-proof bird feeder – prevent seed spillage.
- Spray ledges with strong scents – requires a consistent application but have undesirable effects on your home.
Act swiftly when you notice their presence – it will only get increasingly difficult to remove them.