Appearance and Habits
Feral pigeons are intelligent and adaptable birds descended from wild rock doves.
Feral pigeons form large flocks that roost on buildings, ledges, sills and sloping roofs. They
prefer to eat grain and seeds, but have adapted to become scavengers on rubbish tips and
The peak-breeding season is between March and July, but feral pigeons can breed all year
round. Pairs may stay together for life.
The brood usually consists of two off-white eggs laid on consecutive days. Incubation by both
parents lasts for about 18 days and the hatched chicks or ‘squabs’ are fledged after about 30
days. Another clutch can be laid when the first young are only about 20 days old. This means
that up to nine broods can be produced per pair per year. Young birds may begin breeding
when 6 months old.
Treatment and Control
The best way to control feral pigeons is to reduce their food supply and stop their access to
nesting sites. You should avoid unintentionally feeding feral pigeons while intending to feed
small garden birds. This can be achieved by putting all food in feeders.
Pigeon droppings are acidic and cause damage to buildings. Gutters and drainpipes may
become blocked where birds nest or roost. Preventing access to buildings and roosting sites
by proofing with netting or rows of spikes is important but is best left to professionals as birds
can become trapped.