Pigeons are not a problem on Roosevelt Island, but pigeon poop is. The birds swoop in flocks over Riverwalk Commons and gather for shelter around Motorgate. They have every right, but sharing space with them means smart prevention strategies and routine clean-up. It’s RIOC’s job, but as with so much else, they fail. Not because tactics aren’t known, but because the state agency makes no effort.
by David Stone
“Speaking of Motorgate,” a reader wrote, “it’s now a pigeon toilet that’s perfect for pooping on the cars. It’s totally disgusting and annoying, especially when you don’t have time (or money) for a daily car wash.”
She provided evidence in the photo above.
Pigeon Poop, In Focus
Pigeons are often seen as pests, but they’re wildlife evolved to live within cities with people.
One advantage of pigeons in city centers is that they help control the population of other pests, such as rats. They also eat food scraps discarded by careless humans, helping keep urban spaces clean.
But they can also be a big problem. Their poop is not only unsightly, but it can also be a health hazard.
Pigeon droppings contain a number of harmful bacteria, including E. coli and Salmonella. These bacteria can cause respiratory problems, diarrhea, and other illnesses.
Their droppings can also contaminate food and water supplies, which lead to serious illness. In addition, pigeon droppings can damage buildings and equipment.
For these reasons, it is important to clean up pigeon droppings promptly and carefully.
There are some simple strategies that can help clear up or prevent pigeon poop in public places. But since RIOC seems to have missed them, The Daily is here to help with practical suggestions.
Pigeons are attracted to food, so don’t leave any lying around
Pigeons will fly in for food if you leave any lying around, so it’s important to be conscious of food storage and disposal.
Whether it’s breadcrumbs left in Good Shepherd Plaza after lunch or business food wastes carelessly discarded, it only takes one unwatched tidbit for these clever birds to pick up on a food source and never look back.
It’s best practice to make sure food – no matter how small the amount – is removed and disposed of properly, preventing confirmation of food sources that may lead to recurring visits from your feathered friends.
RIOC’s leadership on this matters. If it’s absent, the results are clear.
Put up a net or other barrier to keep pigeons from roosting in your area
Probably the easiest solution lies in installing a barrier to keep pigeons away from problem areas. As a bonus, it maintains the visual appeal of buildings and other surfaces.
Netting is an effective barrier that’s more versatile than traditional pigeon spikes or sponges, as it can be attached to any surface, whether it’s high-rise buildings, roofs, or balconies.
Not only will making use of this barrier avoid pigeon droppings, stained walls, walkways or dirty cars, but it will also prevent pest control problems associated with pigeons such as fleas or ticks.
Installation is easy – simply attach the net over the roosting area and you’ve got in a clean and healthy environment.
Use sound devices or visual deterrents to scare pigeons away
Easy and effective ways to keep pigeons away from busy public areas include deterrents such as sound devices or visual deterrents.
Sound deterrents send out noises that simulate predators or unwanted danger, while visual deterrents feature objects that can scare the birds away with their shape, movement or color.
These are generally easy to use and don’t require much effort after the initial setup. They can offer an attractive way of keeping pigeons away from congested public areas without causing harm to the birds.
Keep the public areas clean of debris and bird seed that might attract pigeons in the first place
Creating clean and safe environments for everyone starts with us.
We make a positive difference by making sure our outdoor areas are free and clean.
This means removing any debris, such as leaves and plastic bags, that collect in the area, as well as bird seed that attracts pigeons.
Taking the initiative to keep areas clean of unwanted wastes that might attract pigeons in the first place, not only will our environment stay clean, but we’ll also be helping prevent health issues related to pigeons and their droppings.
As citizens of this great planet, it’s our responsibility and privilege to ensure that our outdoor areas remain clean and safe – and it starts with us.
We can help RIOC with good habits, but controlling pigeon poop is the state’s job. And the solutions are so easy. All we need is commitment.