How I Deter and Get Rid of Pigeons

Products tested and used by Daniel Woodley. Fact Checked by Hannah Miller. Published to Products on the 29th May 2022. Updated: 21st March 2024.

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Hello and welcome to DIY Gardening’s guide to getting rid of pigeons from your roof, balcony or garden.

I used to work as a roofing contractor and I was often asked to fix spikes and other devices to stop pigeons.

I hope you find this guide useful – it’s based on my 17 years in this industry.

Pigeons can be an absolute nuisance when they set up home on a property:

  • They are the most disliked birds in the UK.
  • Pigeons are big eaters and will steal food from bird feeders, giving them the nickname “bully bird”.
  • They make more mess than almost any other bird in the country, and their poop can block gutters, fill drains, stain car paintwork and splatter conservatory roofs.
  • They can introduce diseases.
  • They’re noisy and not in a good way.

In this guide, I’ll list products and ideas for you to try. I’m confident that with only a little effort and small cost, you’ll be able to get rid of pigeons and stop them from coming back.

1) Roof Spikes

Despite being called roof spikes, I’ve seen this product used successfully in dozens of locations:

  • Balcony handrails.
  • Chimneys.
  • Roof edges.
  • Windowsills.
  • Bird tables.
  • Fences.
  • Garden walls.
  • Trees branches.

I found that they are easy to fit on low-level structures, but you’ll need to get a pro in to fit them on a chimney or roof.

By reducing the number of perching places the pigeons use, you’ll be one step closer to eliminating them from your garden altogether.

 

Pros:

  • I’ve found these are the most effective pigeon spikes you can buy, you’ve probably seen these before.
  • They were easy to install, once access equipment had been put up.
  • Cheap.
  • Can be used just about anywhere.

Cons:

  • They don’t look attractive as the spikes are very long and stand out.
  • I’ve only ever seen these spikes manufactured in one colour, so they won’t blend in with fences, brickwork, etc.
Roof spikes for pigeons

I Analysed over 1000 Online Reviews – Here’s What I Discovered:

These bird spikes are extremely popular, and there are hundreds of reviews and ratings online.

In 2022 I conducted a meta-study of over 1000 reviews and found that:

87% of customers rated this product 4 or 5 stars out of 5, which indicates that it works very well at keeping pigeons off ledges and roofs.

Only 5% of reviewers gave it 1 or 2 stars out of 5.

Plenty of reviewers commented that they found the product versatile as it could be easily cut to size and either screwed or glued to dozens of different surfaces, including plastic, wood, metal and concrete etc.

Why This Product Stands Out Compared to The Competition

Several similar products on the market look nearly identical, but they have a gap between the spikes, which allows birds to walk through unimpeded.

The product I recommend, and have installed to roofs over the years, has spikes on the edges and also in the centre.

See the images below:

Recommended spikes

Recommended: The vertical centre spikes stop the pigeons from walking or sitting  in the middle of the product

Avoid these pigeon spikes

Not Recommended: The gap in the centre of this similar product allows pigeons to sit or walk in the middle of the product

2) Fence and Wall Spikes

Fence and wall spikes are manufactured in strips around half a metre in length.

I’ve installed these on the fence at my previous property and also for clients. Each strip is easy to screw down onto the top of fence panels, brick walls and other narrow ledges where pigeons stand on.

I’ve used these spikes before to prevent cats and other animals such as foxes from climbing up onto walls and fence tops.

Pros:

  • I’ve found they are very effective and will prevent pigeons from standing on the ledge.
  • Long-lasting; I see no reason why these strips can’t last decades.
  • Discreet; the strips are available in several colours, including brown that will match fence panels.
  • I never had any issues installing them to fence panels with screws, while on brickwork, I had to drill and plug first.
  • They have sharp tips.

Cons:

  • These strips stop all birds from standing on the surface, not just pigeons.
  • From first-hand experience, I know they will also stop other animals, including cats, which could be an issue if you have a pet cat.
Fence spikes to stop pigeons

I Analysed over 350 Online Reviews – Here’s What I Discovered:

As part of my research into pigeon deterrents, I analysed over 350 reviews of these wall spikes that past customers had posted to online.

I found that 80% of reviewers gave these spikes a rating of 4 or 5 stars out of 5.

Only 12% gave it a rating of 1 or 2 stars.

Positive reviewers commented that they liked how the spikes were discreet and blended in with the fence.

The effectiveness of this product is somewhat mixed with some buyers claiming that it stopped pigeons completely while some reported that the pigeons walked on top of the spikes without any problems.

In my opinion, these aren’t quite as effective as the roof spikes, which can also be screwed to the top of walls and fences.

3) Pigeon Proof Bird Feeders

If you regularly leave out bird feed or bread, you’ll attract larger bully birds such as pigeons.

Pigeon-proof bird feeders are available and are often marketed as “squirrel-proof“. They both work on the same principles and only allow smaller birds access to the seeds and food.

I’ve seen these in clients’ gardens, and they have a mechanism that blocks the feeding hole when a heavy bird or squirrel hangs on the product. I’ve asked our past customers what they thought of the device, and the responses were generally positive.

Pigeon-proof bird feeder

While Analysing Online Reviews, I Found That:

The Squirrel-Buster works very well at stopping both squirrels and some large birds, such as pigeons, but from my independent research, it appears it didn’t stop crafty birds such as crows, who knocked the feeder, causing some of the seeds to spill out.

88% of reviewers in 2022 found that it was effective and rated it 4 or 5 stars out of 5, which is very good.

Only 6% of customers gave it a 1 or 2 stars rating.

In addition to using a pigeon-proof bird feeder, consider using smaller seeds and feed, as I’ve found that pigeons are big eaters and are attracted to larger grains and bread etc.

4) Pigeon Chimney Deterrent

The chimney is the ultimate vantage point for pigeons, where they can sit and monitor the gardens beneath them for scavenging opportunities.

They also poop on whatever is beneath the chimney, whether that be roof tiles, a conservatory or a patio.

Fortunately, several products can stop pigeons and other birds from perching on the chimney.

This one is the most popular and I found it very easy to install; it uses a clip wrapped around the chimney’s neck and all I had to do was tighten it to secure it in place. The only issue with this product is how one can safely reach the chimney, hence why I suggest getting a roofer in.

This product is so versatile, I’ve even used it on round and square chimneys of various sizes.

I’ve installed dozens of these over the years, and I’ve found they are popular with those living in or near large towns and cities.

Chimney pigeon spikes

4 Products I Don’t Recommend

I have seen dozens of bird deterrent products, contraptions and techniques; here are four that I don’t recommend:

Bird Deterrent Glue

Bird glue is an adhesive that I’ve seen applied to window sills, ledges, roof tiles and other places the birds sit or walk.

The adhesive is weather resistant and I’ve seen first-hand that it won’t wash away in the rain or degrade quickly – I once put my hand on this stuff and it’s like grease, oil and glue mixed together into a gel..

The idea is simple; the birds dislike the overly sticky gel, and once they land in it, they will fly off and never return.

The problem with bird glue is that it works too well, and smaller birds will get stuck to the adhesive and remain trapped until they die or are picked off by a predator.

For this reason, I don’t recommend bird glue or anything similar that could potentially trap birds.

Sonic Bird Deterrents

There are hundreds of sonic pest deterrents on sale in the UK, and they all work on the same principle; when movement is detected, the device produces a noise that humans can’t hear, but the birds can. This is usually enough to startle them, so they fly off.

The problem with sonic pest control devices is that they can’t differentiate between birds and will deter all birds, including rare birds nesting nearby.

The noise emitted from these devices could also harm younger birds and cause them to leave the nest early.

I can’t recommend sonic devices for these reasons, although they may prove effective for some limited commercial situations.

Scare Tape

Scare tape is a reflective material that’s attached to tape which you can tie to railings, pergolas and gutters etc.

In theory, the reflective tape should scare off the pigeons but from what I’ve seen and tests done by our clients, the birds get used to the tape and ignore it.

Electric Shock Pigeon Deterrent Products

To prevent birds from landing on ledges, trees and other objects, specially created cables with positively and negatively charged wires can be placed on or just above the surface.

When the bird lands on the cable, it receives a mild shock and flies off. Within a short period of time, the bird will learn not to land on this surface.

Unfortunately, these products can’t differentiate between specific birds, so they will affect all birds and not just pigeons. Other animals will also be affected by the electric shock, so I don’t recommend it for domestic uses, but on tall city buildings, commercial settings or in specific scenarios, it could be suitable.

I worked for a client who had a garden backing onto the river Thames, and their lawn was plagued by geese and pigeons; we recommended one line of electric cabling at the end of the garden to stop the birds from jumping out of the river and into the garden. Feedback from the customer was very good, and it stopped many of the birds from entering the garden.

Explore Bird Shock if you think this product might suit your needs.

Get a Professional In

In 2022 I contacted 42 pest control experts from various locations around the UK and asked them for suggestions on controlling pigeons.

The responses I received confirmed what I already knew, that there were dozens of methods available and which ones would work best would be determined after first carrying out a detailed survey of the property.

Tap the button below and fill in the form with details of your pest control project; you’ll get prices from local experts who can help you:

Meet The Author: Daniel Woodley

Daniel has over 18 years of experience in the construction, home improvement, and landscape garden industries.

He previously worked as a project manager and has experience in managing teams of tradespeople and landscape gardeners on both small and medium sized projects.

Daniel is also a keen gardener and enjoys growing unusual plants and tending to his lawn.

More About Daniel Woodley.

Daniel Woodley

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