Physical Characteristics

The rock pigeon or rock dove, or what is commonly called the pigeon or flying rat on the West Coast, is gray in color, often with two black bars on its wings. Head to tail measurements of adults average 13 inches, and their bodies are stocky, with short legs.




Pigeons can be found in many places, roosting (resting and sleeping) on a variety of structures, loafing in city parks, nesting on ledges or in cliffs or caves – a pigeon couple, which mates for life, may raise several broods of one to two squabs, or baby pigeons, each year – and feeding. Pigeons in the wild can live 15 years, although the urban pigeon’s lifespan is more like three to four years. These birds gravitate toward flat surfaces, like rooftops, for feeding, and they like seeds, grain, fruit and green feed – although they’ll eat garbage, insects, spiders, manure and other menu items, if that’s the only food available. Pigeons become a problem when their numbers explode, because the resulting bird droppings can carry a number of disease pathogens, including three kinds of encephalitis, plus histoplasmosis, Newcastle disease, chlamydiosis and salmonellosis, along with various mites and ticks.


Once you’ve established you have a pigeon problem, there are several non-toxic ways to solve it. The first two, exclusion and sanitation, are cornerstones of integrated pest management (IPM) practices. Exclusion involves making structural changes that make your environment inhospitable to the pigeons’ nesting and roosting – by removing flat surfaces, setting up netting, and employing other physical repellants. Sanitation involves eliminating, or drastically reducing, their feeding sites and sources for water. Other options include noise-making repellants, along with more classic solutions like trapping and shooting. The use of avicides, however, is probably better left to a pest management professional, and Clark Pest Control has licensed technicians with experience in pigeon control.

Latin name: Columba livia, et al.