Carlington residents who live in apartments already know about the challenges of keeping pigeons from roosting on balconies.
While some of us may think of pigeons as cute and nice sounding, others will tell of a constant struggle to keep the birds from leaving waste and nesting.
Carlington's biggest landlord, Ottawa Carleton Housing, is no exception. At a meeting with Summit Staff, some of the major health risks of the birds and their droppings were discussed. Hazards include fleas, ticks and mites, fungal and bacterial growth, and in extreme cases respiratory ailments.
Bellevue Manor Property Manager Francoise Lagroix told of ongoing efforts to contain the pigeon population at Bellevue Manor on Caldwell, and District Landscape Manager Paul Butcher went on to describe their activities, including trapping. Interestingly, this year the traps have been less productive: “an indication that the birds are getting their food somewhere else”, says Butcher. “Well meaning but misdirected persons do the birds a disservice by feeding them bread, rice and other starchy foods that make the birds sick and die from bloating.”
If you are one of the unfortunate people with pigeon problems, don't despair. There is hope. Firstly, ensure that there are no food attractions or nesting material on your balcony. Pigeon proof bird feeders.
The best and most effective defence against pigeons is to install netting. This can be done cheaply by the do-it-yourselfer, but beware of the risk of falling. Heavy and dangerous materials such as two-by-fours and steel pipe are not appropriate. Always check first with your landlord to confirm their requirements and restrictions.
“Inexpensive netting can be purchased from White Rose in Bell's Corners” advises Community Volunteer Mike Soulière, who has installed netting on his own balcony at 1465 Caldwell, and for a few friends.
Information published by the City of Ottawa includes the following advice:
“Solutions that are preventive rather than destructive are more humane and effective in the long run.” Specifically:
- Eliminate Food Sources
- Remove Nests
- Pigeon Proof Roosting Sites
Other pigeon control measures include:
Distraction techniques such as replicas of natural predators like owls.
More information can be obtained from the City of Ottawa at 244-5300.
Health concerns can be discussed with your regular physician, or staff in the Health Department of the Regional Municipality, at 722-2338.