Pigeons are commonly known to gather in large flocks around the world. Although these birds aren’t harmful, they can cause quite a big mess between getting in the garbage and pooping in your backyard. However, it’s not entirely uncommon for people to own them as pets. Whether you want to catch a pigeon in your backyard to release it from your property or want to keep it as a pet, we have you covered in this article.
Believe it or not, pigeons aren’t just messy little creatures who wreak havoc on your backyard. Although they can be a bit disorderly, they are actually intelligent and complex creatures. Before you catch a pigeon or two in your yard, it can be helpful to know a little bit more about them.
They Are Intelligent Creatures
One of the most remarkable things about pigeons is their ability to recognize themselves in a mirror, which can only be done by a small number of species. They can even differentiate between photographs and can also distinguish different people from different pictures. Some can even recognize each letter of the alphabet!
They Are True Navigators
Pigeons have an internal compass and can find their way back “home” from miles and miles away. Additionally, they will use the sun or landmarks as a guide to remembering how to get where they’re going. Some have even been seen changing directions at junctions!
Messy, But Clean
Pigeons may be making a mess in your backyard, but they are actually pretty clean animals. Although there is a stereotype of pigeons being disease-ridden, there is very little evidence to suggest they are transmitters of disease. In fact, most diseases pigeons may carry don’t affect humans at all.
How to Catch a Pigeon in Your Backyard
Using a bird trap is going to be the easiest method to catch a pigeon in your backyard. By following the step by step instructions below, you should be able to attract, capture, and either release or keep the pigeons with ease.
Step One: Choose a Trap Location
Firstly, you need to find a location in your backyard that’s accessible to both you and any pigeons you want to catch. This is going to be a location you’ll have to come to daily to put out pigeon feed and check the trap, so make sure it’s in a convenient location. You’ll also want to keep in mind that you’ll be carrying a large trap to catch the pigeon, so choose a spot where this won’t be an issue.
Step Two: Place Pigeon Feed
To begin getting the pigeon to come to your trap location, start by placing pigeon food out. You’ll want to do this at least once a day, but the more you can, the better. Do this for about a week so that you can attract as many pigeons as possible to the area. This way, they’ll be around when you put out your trap.
Step Three: Place Trap With Food Inside
After you’ve attracted some pigeons to your location, it’s time to catch them. There are a variety of traps on the market, so you’ll have to choose the one that works best for you. Read the instructions thoroughly so that you understand how to set up and operate the trap door. Once ready, place pigeon feed both inside and directly outside the trap door.
Step Four (Option One): Relocate Pigeons Away From Your Property
Once you’ve gotten some pigeons in the trap, you’ll want to release them relatively far from your property. Make sure to choose a new location that isn’t near any other property owners who more than likely won’t like being stuck with them either.
Pigeons have an innate homing ability that allows them to find their “home,” where they found their food. Some pigeons can even find their way back home from hundreds of miles away! If the pigeons were on your property for a reasonable amount of time, there’s a good chance they associate your home with where the food is and come back to you.
Once you’ve released the pigeons, it’s a good idea to implement pigeon deterrents before they possibly return. Even if they don’t come back, it’ll prevent any other pigeons from visiting your property and making it their home. We’ll talk about pigeon deterrents later in this article.
Step Five (Option Two): Keep the Pigeon as a Pet
Although groups of pigeons can be a little unruly, they actually make pretty nice pets so long as you have a manageable number and a proper home for them to live. Read below for the basics of keeping a pigeon as a pet.
To catch any other wild birds in your backyard, check out this article.
Keeping a Pigeon as a Pet
If once you captured the pigeon, you decided to keep it as a pet rather than releasing it, then you may be wondering how to care for your new friend. Here are few guidelines for caring for a pigeon as a pet.
There are two options to house any pigeons you decide to keep. For one or two pigeons, you can opt to keep them in a cage inside your house. For more than two pigeons, an outdoor pigeon coop is more suitable.
If keeping your pigeon(s) inside, get a cage that is at least 2x2x2 in size, but a larger cage is better if possible. Keep the cage out of direct sunlight, away from drafts, and away from any indoor pets such as cats. Choose a time to clean the cage every day to keep your pigeons happy and healthy.
For an outdoor coop, make sure you are able to keep it in a dry area. Line the floor with straw and clean it daily to keep it as dry as possible, clean, and free from mold. Avoid overcrowding your birds and make sure that they have plenty of perches to sit on.
Keep the coop away from trees and buildings, and make sure the flying area faces south. Place a bowl of water in the coop a few times a week to give the pigeons a chance to bathe. After a few hours or when it appears dirty, remove the water.
Just like any other pets you keep, you’ll want to make sure your pigeons get plenty of exercise. If you keep the birds outdoors, make sure there is sufficient space for exercise. For indoor pigeons, you can let them fly outside the cage periodically throughout the day. During this time, make sure there is nothing they could hurt themselves on and make sure any pets are in another room.
To keep your birds healthy, purchase feed designed for pigeons. Seed-only diets aren’t suitable for pigeons and can result in a calcium deficiency. Pelleted feeds, and fresh fruits and vegetables are going to be best for your pets.
Some food choices include
- Fruits such as apples, pears, or berries
- Greens such as spinach or kale
- Vegetables such as broccoli or carrots
In addition to food, pigeons should always have fresh and clean water available. Keep their food and water areas cleaned every day.
How to Prevent Pigeons From Coming into Your Backyard
As mentioned before, pigeons have an internal compass that could bring them back to your home. Even if they do not return, you’ll want to prevent a new family of pigeons from calling your property home.
Keep Your Backyard Clean
Pigeons are scavengers, and they thrive off of the waste that humans leave behind. Even if your backyard is pretty tidy, there may be things you’re leaving behind that are attracting pigeons to your property.
Make sure to properly dispose of any food scraps as soon as you’re finished eating or BBQing in your backyard. By maintaining a clean property, free of food scraps, and vegetation, you will decrease the chance of pigeons roosting by your home. Although pigeons may still stop by, it will keep them from wanting to stick around.
If you keep any trash bins in your backyard, be sure to keep them closed. Not only will this keep pigeons from snooping through your trash, but it will help to keep other pests away as well.
Gardens can also attract pigeons, and they may look at your garden as a 24-hour buffet.
Here are some tips to keep pigeons out of your garden:
- Place pigeon netting. Measure the area around your garden to get the correct proportions you’ll need to line your garden. This creates a barrier between your fruits and veggies and the pigeons.
- Use bird repellant. Bird repellent gives pigeons an undesirable sensation, making them uncomfortable being near your garden. This will not harm the pigeons, but it will deter them from snooping around your crops.
- Use visual repellants. Shiny metal objects can irritate a pigeon’s view, and keep them from flying near the garden. Statues shaped like predators can also scare pigeons out of your garden.
Keep Pigeons From Roosting
Although pigeons may come and go from your property, the real issue lies when they start roosting. If you already have roosting pigeons, the step by step guide above will help you to catch the pigeons in your backyard and safely remove them.
Once they’re gone, place fence or netting around where they were roosting. Placing netting or wire around the ledges and perches will encourage the pigeons to make their home elsewhere.
To keep new pigeons from roosting, you may want to look at other areas of your property that new pigeons may want to get settled in—for example, place netting around trees or barn rafters.
Another option is to use sheet metal. Cover ledges and any other potential roosting spot with sheet metal at an angle, making it hard for them to effectively roost.
Bird strips are rows at small spikes that will keep pigeons from gathering and roosting. You opt to place these around the perimeter of your building. This is an inexpensive and humane option that can be effective in keeping pigeons away from your property.
Use a “Scare Pigeon”
You know what a scarecrow is, but did you know that there are similar options to keep pigeons out? Although a standard scarecrow likely won’t keep out pigeons, there are options designed specifically for pigeons.
They come in different forms, such as fake owls, to model hawks. For the most effective kind of “scare pigeon,” opt for something that can move. An example of this is a model hawk attached to a kite, which will move through the sky and trick any visiting pigeons into thinking there is a predator nearby.
For a stationary form of “scare pigeon,” just be sure to move it around your property every so often. Pigeons can get used to a model owl, for example, sitting on your property for extended periods of time and may disregard it.
To get rid of crows in your backyard, check out this article.
There are many reasons you may want to catch a pigeon in your backyard. Whether you want to release the pigeons away from your property or keep them as a pet, capturing a pigeon (or a few!) is relatively easy when you follow the steps listed above. Keeping a pigeon as a pet is relatively easy as long as you give them a clean environment, daily exercise, and good food.
On the other hand, it’s also simple to catch and release pigeons to keep your property pigeon free. Just make sure to use at least one of the techniques to prevent the pigeons (or a new family) from coming back and roosting on your property.