If you build it, they will come.
By “it” we mean a bird feeding station. By “they” we mean pigeons. Rock Pigeons to be precise. “Rats with wings” according to Woody Allen and the prosecutors.
Feral pigeons are synanthropic, a big word meaning that pigeons follow humans around like thunder follows lightning. If you live in a town or city, you can’t get rid of them, but you can learn to live with them.
Here are a few suggestions:
1. Buy bird feeders designed to defeat squirrels. Like squirrels, pigeons are heavier than the song birds that visit your feeders. Some bird feeders have spring-loaded perches that tilt downward if anything heavier than a song bird lands on one. The pigeon or the squirrel slides off the perch. Sometimes. We have seen pigeons and White-wing Doves hang on by flapping their wings but they soon tire of that.
2. Another kind of feeder shuts the feeding ports when a heavier bird or a squirrel lands on the feeder. Here is a photo. It too operates with springs.
3. Here is a handy little feeder that defeats pigeons every time. Called “The Clinger,” the ledge is too close to the body of the feeder for a pigeon to get a grip.
4. Pigeons are ground feeders, designed by Mother Nature to hunt and peck. As you can see from the photo at the top, taken in our backyard, pigeons prefer to clean up the seed dropped from the feeders by the song birds. Pigeons don’t like eating directly from your feeders anymore than you like them doing it. They would prefer to be on the ground.
And, as you can tell from the photo, allowing the pigeons to do janitorial work enables the song birds to eat even while the pigeons are feeding, thus eliminating the common problem of pigeons scaring away desirable backyard birds.
We’ll be back soon to mount a defense on behalf of these much maligned birds. In the meantime, we hope these suggestions will keep them off your feeders and on the ground where they belong.
Unsurprisingly, we sell these feeders at our store.