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Dang Birds

February 24th, 2004

Anyone know how to keep pigeons off your balcony?

Perhaps mistakenly, I didn’t shoo them off the balcony last year in time, and when they laid eggs, I didn’t want to destroy them, so I let them stay for the duration. Made for an interesting education in pigeon growth, not to mention some blog fodder, but good lord, what an ungodly mess they left! I don’t want to surrender my balcony again, or have to clean up that unspeakable carpet of, well, better left unsaid.

Problem is, the same pair have recently taken to appearing on the balcony in the mornings, and I do not wish for them to procreate again on that spot. I try to shoo them away, but the darn flappy bastards keep coming back.

Anyone know a good method of keeping them away? Some kind of scent? A scarecrow? A photo of John Ashcroft?

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  1. February 25th, 2004 at 01:11 | #1


    How about you hung few CD discs. I think it might work.

  2. February 25th, 2004 at 02:49 | #2

    I’ve seen big plastic owls employed for this purpose, but they might be considered uglier than the pigeons.

  3. gen
    February 25th, 2004 at 14:45 | #3

    Sadly, I think your best bet is to hang some netting… you have to displace them completely for them to get the point.

  4. Luis
    February 25th, 2004 at 14:48 | #4

    Thanks to all for the comments so far! I might go for hanging the CDs; I don’t know where I could get the plastic owl, and unfortunately, the balcony is not made to support netting…

  5. Jen
    February 26th, 2004 at 03:30 | #5

    Nets are the best deterrent for pigeons, but there are other options. Some may be against apartment policy?

    1. Wire mesh to seal off the eaves and other nice roosting places.
    2. Metallic, shiny streamers that blow in the wind
    3. Taped sounds of birds of prey
    4. You can get ultrasonic deterrents – pricey though.
    5. There are chemicals that you can put on the surfaces that are supposedly non toxic, they irritate the birds though, so I wonder how humane they are.
    6. Leave your underwear flapping around in the breeze
    7. Buy a pet hawk and put his cage on the balcony.

    Hope this helps :)

  6. iM
    April 12th, 2004 at 08:22 | #6

    Go for #7.

  7. Luis
    April 12th, 2004 at 09:23 | #7

    I found a variation of #1–a flimsy netting, held to the balcony roof and rail by duct tape. I haven’t heard nor seen them out there since. Once I did find they’d chewed a small hole through, but (a) I don’t think they got through it, it would’ve been a heckuva tight squeeze, (b) it was easy to fix, and (c) if they did get in, and I found them, they’d essentially be trapped.

    I’m pretty sure things are taken care of. Finally!

  8. Judy
    June 12th, 2004 at 11:25 | #8

    I can’t thank you enough for posting those great photos!. I have a lovely couple of (feathered) tenants living on a precariously small window sill at the side of my window-mounted air-conditioner. I’ve watched them mate, then build a nest, and now I can hear the peep-peeping of their babies– problem is, they’re hidden from VIEW by the slide out “wings” at either side of my air-conditioner, so I’m viewing them as silhouettes. But now I can really visualize how they look, because of your terrific photos!
    My big problem is that the vent for the air-conditioner would blow hot air directly onto the nest it I were to turn it on, so now I’m patiently (sweat-sweat-sweat) waiting for the young ones to grow up and leave.
    Again– thanks for letting me see “the real thing” with your photos!

  9. Nick
    July 26th, 2004 at 20:15 | #9


    I hope for your sake that the intake vents of your A/C are nowhere near that pigeon nest. You are seeing silhouettes of pigeons and babies? What you’re not seeing is the ‘mess’ that goes along with a pigeon nest.

    I’ll say this, a plastic owl will not keep them away. I have a sleeve style A/C and I taped some shoe boxes between it and the ‘ceiling’ of my balcony and that got rid of them until one of the boxes fell off. But they still land on the edge of my balcony. One in particular will flap its way between the rails, right under the plastic owl and sit there all night.

    I’ve lived in an apartment building just over a year now and have come to bitterly hate pigeons… Disgusting rats with wings, fecal matter stubbornly clings to everything. I’m thinking of buying a pellet rifle!

    Windsor, ON

  10. heather gordon
    March 27th, 2005 at 09:23 | #10

    your post is helpful becuase i have the same problem!

    i am wondering how do u get a rid of a nest without wrecking it if its already there?

  11. Luis
    March 28th, 2005 at 17:56 | #11

    I don’t know if that’s even possible…

  12. Dan
    March 30th, 2005 at 06:27 | #12

    I found the only thing that works is several adjustable tension rods of appropriate height ( found at Home Depot etc.)and monofilament fishing line ( 200 yards – 40lb. test)strung completly around your balcony.Keep line strung tight around rods and layered 6-8 inches apart to top of balcony.

    P.S. If you live on the top floor – you are screwed.

  13. janell
    April 2nd, 2005 at 02:06 | #13

    like jess said get a plastic owl. we got one for seagulls. they never came back. you can get one at like a hardware store. good luck.

  14. Dan
    April 8th, 2005 at 06:27 | #14

    Went the plastic owl route plus rubber snakes. These are savvy city pigeons lol. See previous.

  15. larry
    March 24th, 2006 at 14:32 | #15

    do plastic owls really work to detter pigeons ?
    And how about using sticky syrup on balcony ledge ???

  16. Shailesh
    May 24th, 2006 at 17:43 | #16

    Hi Luis,

    Your posting on the pigeons was very informative and thanks for the efforts taken.
    I reached this posting after a brief search on the net to learn more about the growth of pigeons. Reason for this is that I am in a similar situation like yours…a couple has nested in my kitchen balcony which was not in use for some time.
    We discovered the nest with 2 eggs around 6 weeks ago and we had decided to let them stay till the new ones were ready to move out. After that we were to close the balcony with sliding windows.
    Today morning I checked and just saw an empty nest with empty shells and lot of mess but the birds were not there…hopefully they have grown up well and ready for this world.
    I just wanted to know how long does it take for a pigeon egg to get into a flying bird and so reached your posting.

    Thanks once again and I now need to move fast to close the balcony:-)


  17. Mary
    June 22nd, 2006 at 12:27 | #17

    I have the same problem and am searching for a humane way to get rid of them and the mess they leave. So I’m wondering what worked for you. Did the CDs work? Was it a success?
    Also, I live on the top floor and am wondering how I will ever clean all up after they have finally left. Anything I dump over the side will end up in my neighbors balcony and patio, and on the other side is my white living room carpet.
    So any suggestions would be great.

  18. Luis
    June 22nd, 2006 at 13:13 | #18


    The CDs made no difference. Nothing did. I finally had to set up a net to keep them out.

  19. Jane
    October 2nd, 2006 at 05:47 | #19

    It is an excellent idea to remove the birds ASAP and do what ever it takes to keep them away. For motivation, check out this sight http://www.radoslawspiewak.net/2004-5.htm. I hv a pigeons nest which I hv sealed off just outside my window by the air conditioner using packing tape and a plastic bag, plus quite a bit of Raid bug spray. Unfortunately fleas hv still made their way fm the birds to our 2 cats. They are dirty dirty birds. Regardless my husband and I don’t hv the heart to dethrone the baby bird, just when it seems he’s almost ready to live as an adult. It really is gross! We await his flight anxiously.

  20. tina
    April 14th, 2007 at 09:00 | #20

    I have the same problem. I live on the top floor, and a couple of city pigeons have made a nest, and we have just one egg, I think.

    I hadn’t used our balcony execpt for storage. The balcony is just outside my living room which has white carpet. There are two pool floatation rafts on the balcony and the pigeons made their nest between the rafts. I was able to see one egg (maybe there is two?) and the pigeon sitting on the egg. The first time I noticed the bird outside on the balcony, it flew towards my face in a panic. I scared it away.

    I want to let the baby hatch, grow, and fly away! I think the egg has just recently hatched, as I’m hearing little chirps now. Every morning at about 6:30am I hear wings flapping – which must be momma heading out for the day, while poppa keeps the egg or hatched chick warm.

    Thanks so much for your postings, now I have an idea of how long they will be living with us at our home! I will put up netting once the baby finally leaves the nest. These birds are just trying to survive and deserve to be in this world as much as we do! I don’t consider them ugly or at all like rats, more like birds.

    To all living things…thrive!

  21. Elsie
    May 10th, 2007 at 09:44 | #21

    Mourning Doves (pigeons) just won’t stay off our balcony. They drive me nuts. I enjoy other birds such as finches and have a feeder for them and don’t want to scare them away. I’m wondering if I get a plastic owl to try to scare away the pigeons if it will also scare away the finches. Although some say the owl doesn’t work, I’m willing to give it a try. We live in an apartment and don’t have many other options like netting.

  22. stephanie
    August 7th, 2007 at 01:46 | #22

    Just a note… try to get rid of the nest a soon as possible. We left ours and now are dealing with a small infestation of bird mites. They are so small they can come through screens and are more difficult to get rid of than fleas. Once the birds leave the nest the mites migrate to the next available blood source. Avoid the headache and just ditch the birds. I wish someone would have told me this weeks ago!

  23. Cathy
    August 12th, 2007 at 09:56 | #23

    We just moved here and live on the 7th floor of a 12 story highrise. We now have the fattest little baby residing on our balcony! I have learned so much from reading your comments Luis and it has been very helpful. A couple of questions: Will this baby start walking around my balcony before flying away? It has not even moved from the nest but is almost full size! How will this baby get off my balcony-it will have to fly up up up to get over the top rail as my balcony is closed in by walls. Should I be leaving a water bowl out or let that be up to the parents? This has been a fascinating experience, but next time I will be keeping my eyes out and get them to go to someone else’s house!

  24. Richard
    August 15th, 2007 at 11:54 | #24


    As stated above a net is the only salution. I have a prefab net and framing system that will fit any balcony. Garrenteed to keep the birds out or your pets in. Please contact me at pigeon.petnet@yahoo.ca for prices and delivery. This is not spam, but a new product that I have developed and I am just now marketing.

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