75 gallons of pigeon droppings? Yep. Twice a year, some unlucky parking garage employee in a Fairbanks, Alaska garage gets the job of cleaning up after the pigeons that roost in and around the garage. The hazmat suit is donned, special hazardous waste material bags are used, and about 75 gallons of pigeon poop is scooped up. According to some government reports, one pigeon produces up to 25 pounds of poop every year. Now, multiply that by however many pigeons are roosting in and around your business, garage, office building, apartments, home or outbuilding! And, it’s not just gross to look at. It’s corrosive! Pigeon droppings are acidic enough that it eats through concrete, wood or metal joists, weakening a structure, defacing buildings, and ruining property. So, not only does it weaken the structure of a building, but it’s heavy enough to weigh it down and cause serious damage. When you weigh the pros and cons of ways of dealing with a pigeon problem, you need to also consider the cost of repairing joists, re-facing the building, re-pouring concrete. A professional bird remover will not only get rid of the roosting pigeons, but will clean up pigeon droppings and sanitize the area, as well as install materials that will keep pigeons out of your building. It’s well worth it to have an expert take care of the pigeon problem once and for all instead of dealing with the problem year after year after year.
The pigeon in the church saved the funeral services. We were tired of sitting, the pews were hard, the air was stifling, even the best-intentioned of us were visibly fighting off a case of the drowsies. My friend’s wife, Sarah, had died, and she would have hated her own funeral. Her youngest child, an honest boy of eleven years old, leaned over to his dad and said, “Mom’s probably laughing at us right now.” He was right. She had the kind of sunny personality that laughed at etiquette, and was likely mocking her family and friends struggling to remain attentive throughout the droning sermons at her funeral.
Why on earth do people who speak at a funeral feel the need to repeat the same consoling phrases and stories time after time? It’s as if they think the longer they talk, the more homage they’re paying to our loved one. My friend’s wife would have preferred a few hilarious stories about her, a great song or two, and a fabulous party with her coffin in the center of the room. Maybe she got so tired of what was happening that she sent that pigeon into the church.
In the middle of a diatribe of how “the passing of a loved one is more sad for those of us who remain on earth than it is for our loved ones,” a pigeon dislodged itself from a hiding place somewhere up in the church roof and dive-bombed the podium. The speaker squeaked and his notes scattered. The pigeon in the church was soon joined by a few more, who flew over our heads, close enough we could feel the breeze from their filthy wings. A pigeon dropped a little “bomb” of its own right on the shoulder of a young woman who was a distant relative of the dearly departed. She had chosen to wear the most revealing, slinkiest little dress I’d ever seen at a funeral, but now it had a white splotch oozing down the shoulder and onto the front.
No one was snoozing now, no one was crying now. There was chaos. Some children tried to catch the pigeons in the church. Fathers waved the birds off and some women tried in vain to maintain some kind of composure and dignity throughout it all. We were all reminded of how the woman in the casket would have loved the disruption, her full infectious laugh would have rung out loudly. The speaker was flustered, the pastor was embarrassed to have pigeons in the church, but most of us were grateful the proceedings were cut short and we could move on to enjoying each other’s company, consoling each other’s grief, and remembering how wonderful Sarah was.
Megan posted on her Facebook status, “We’re officially adults!” Her boyfriend Josh tweeted, “Megan’s stuck with me for at least one more year. Muhahahahaha!” They had just signed a lease together on an apartment two months after finishing college. Despite the terrifying job market, they had both managed to find jobs after graduation, neither of which was in their chosen field of study. But, hey, all their employers cared about was that they were college grads and were willing (or gullible) enough to take a job at much lower pay rate than most of the other applicants.
Megan and Josh were just thrilled to be getting paychecks, enough to at least find a new place together. They’d dated throughout most of college, had talked about moving in together, and now it was a reality.
Moving day was fun, once friends actually showed up to help them. Most of their friends texted, “I’d love to help, but . . .” The ones who came through for them were rewarded in pizza and whatever odds and ends the couple now owned in duplicate. The friend with a truck got Megan’s old Blue-Ray player.
Once the ugly, ancient, stained, hand-me-down furniture was in place, and the rest of their belongings were stacked in boxes around the two-room apartment, an impromptu party began and then petered off an hour later. Everyone was tired and had other things to do, and hoped that Megan and Josh would return the favor when it was their time to move.
The young couple looked around at the cardboard jungle surrounding them and decided it would be tomorrow’s battle. They’d done it. They’d moved in together, they had their own place with just the two of them. Frankly, being “officially adults,” was taking its toll. They needed a little time out. Laughing, giddy, they showered and retired to bed, slightly drunk on beer and novelty.
The next morning, they woke up to a neighbor screaming out the window at her son. A car horn blared. Somewhere in their apartment a faucet was dripping. They were some of the sweetest sounds they’d ever heard.
Megan got up, smiling, and promised Josh some coffee. He grinned and said something about how she didn’t need to wear a bathrobe around their apartment, it wasn’t like she was going to offend him.
Two seconds passed before Megan backed into the tiny bedroom. “Pigeon in the kitchen,” she whispered.
“There is a pigeon in the kitchen,” she repeated, slowly and only slightly louder.
“How would a pigeon get in the kitchen??”
“I don’t know, don’t care. Get rid of it. Get rid of the pigeon!”
He stepped outside the room and glared at the pigeon, who sat nonchalantly on top of a small stack of moving boxes marked “kitchen.”
Then the pigeon flew right at them. They didn’t have time to scream or grunt – they turned tail and slammed the cheap bedroom door. They could hear flapping and cooing.
After a flurry of activity, they finally found one of their cell phones, and called the super, who informed them he was not responsible for their pigeon problem. “Wait, pigeon problem?” Josh asked him. “You mean, this happens a lot and you’re just telling us now?”
After a little bargaining, and a threat to call Megan’s father, who is an attorney, the super agreed he should call Allstate Animal Control to get rid of the pigeons.
Megan looked at Josh wryly as he hung up. “Officially adults, but we still need to drop Daddy’s name, huh?” They decided to keep that part of their story just between the two of them.
Sure, I want to get rid of the pigeons in my attic, but I never wanted it this way. Smudgins is a beautiful Russian Blue cat, with soft fur that hardly sheds at all, an easy purr, a friendly attitude towards kids, and a deep love of sitting in my lap as I read. I deliberately chose to keep her as an indoor cat, because I live on a busy street, and I can’t bear to think of her as a victim of an accident. I dread the idea of someone knocking on my door to inform me they ran over my cat, or worse, just having her disappear. So, I keep her indoors, and she seems to be happy. I guess I underestimated the driving need a cat feels for hunting. I never saw the vicious side of her, until now.
I have known about the pigeons in the attic for a couple of months, now. I know I’ve been lazy, but I’m busy with work, and when I come home, I just want to relax with some soft music playing as I cook and eat a gourmet meal by myself (I love to cook), and then sit in my comfortable couch reading a good book and petting Smudgins. It’s not an exciting life, but I’m happy, and that’s all that really matters, isn’t it?
So, I’ve been lazy. I know I need to get rid of the pigeons in the attic, but I’ve grown accustomed to the rustling noise up there, and I just didn’t make it a priority. Until now.
I woke up this morning, put on my slippers, and headed into the kitchen for some breakfast. My feet slid on something wet on the floor, and when I flipped on the light, I screamed. It was blood. Not a lot, but enough. And feathers. And some entrails and other pigeon parts. It seems Smudgins got feisty during the night, found her way up into the attic, and caught herself a pigeon. As cats do, she obviously felt the need to play catch-and-release-and-catch-again with it. Otherwise, she would have just killed it in the attic and munched on it up there. Instead, there I was, standing in the midst of the most horrific kill I’d ever witnessed, feathers and pigeon blood in the middle of my kitchen floor.
And Smudgins sauntered into the kitchen, looking smug and pleased as could be. She actually had the gall to meow at me for not filling up her cat dish fast enough this morning.
It is now a priority for me to get rid of pigeons. I can’t bear the thought of waking up to that again. Good thing I can call Allstate Animal Control and get rid of the pigeons right away. What a nightmare!
As the children have gotten older, I’m able to let them play outside on their own more and more, but they still have this awful habit of leaving the door open, and now we’re getting pigeons in the house. At first, I didn’t realize we’d have a pigeon problem. I thought the children’s frustrating habit of leaving the door wide open would simply lead to higher heating and air conditioning bills, or allow the next door neighbor’s dog to run inside our home every now and then. I didn’t know it could lead to pigeons in the house, and I’m more disgusted by those devil birds than I am by our neighbor’s unwashed yappy little creature. At least with a dog, I can shoo it out of my house, clean up after it, and know that it’s gone. I have no idea how many pigeons have fluttered their way into my home, so I don’t know if one got left behind, hiding in another room, dropping little bird mites onto my sofa or dining room table, ready to swoop down on one of us when we walk unsuspectingly into that room. Just gross.
But, they do. My guess is, they’re nesting or roosting in the house just down the street. It’s been abandoned for just over a year now. The previous owners struggled with their mortgage payments, especially after the husband got sick and the medical bills racked up. They had to move out of state to live nearer to a special clinic that he needed, so they rented it out for a while. Unfortunately, the people who rented it didn’t take care of the place, and it got run down pretty quick. Finally, the bank had to foreclose on the place, the tenants moved, and it’s sat there empty ever since. What a waste. And, what an attractive place for nuisance animals like pigeons to call their home.
I’m not naïve. I fully expect those flying rats to breed and move into the rest of the neighborhood. Or, attempt to move in. My husband and I have been pretty vigilant about checking out our attic to make sure nothing’s living up there, and we spot check the outside of our house, looking for holes or cracks. But, I’ve heard a lot of animals can get into the house through the tiniest of openings. Of course, my kids like to put out the welcome mat for them, when they disregard my rules and leave the door wide open.
We get pigeons in the house who just fly or walk right through the open back door. I will find them around the dog’s food bowl, or hanging around the kitchen garbage can. I grab the broom and chase those suckers straight back out the door, but sometimes I’ll miss one. I might have to call the bank that foreclosed on that empty house, to see if they’ll get Allstate Animal Control to get rid of the pigeons in the house. And, my family will just have to be more vigilant to keep them out of our house, too.
Before this week, I had no idea that pigeon control could control my life. My wife and I have entered into the previously unknown world of rental properties and property management, and we’re learning it involves much more than getting a tenant and collecting rents.
Since our last child moved out, we have wanted to move to a smaller, but nicer, home. Despite our grown children’s sadness at seeing their childhood home go on the market, we spent a lot of time and effort sprucing up the place to our realtor’s specifications, and hoped for the right buyer. As time passed, we hoped for any buyer. We soon realized that our beautiful home was not going to sell quickly in this depressed market. Of course, we had already located a gorgeous town home, and desperately wanted to buy it. We just needed to sell our home first.
Finally, our realtor suggested that we either drastically lower the price, or consider renting. We worked it out with our mortgage people, and thanks to some money we had stashed away, we were able to put a down payment on the town home. Fairly quickly, we found a family happy to rent our previous home. We thought we had it made.
And, then, pigeon control became a part of our life. Our rental family was nice enough. They paid their rent on time, which helped us make our mortgage payment on time. Our former neighbors never complained to us. But, they just didn’t take very good care of the house. Since they didn’t own it outright, they just let minor problems go on until they became big problems.
A couple of shingles blew off our roof during a recent thunderstorm, and instead of replacing them, or even telling us about them, our tenants just ignored it. Before long, we had a little bit of water damage in the house, and pigeons had moved into the attic. Not many pigeons, but just enough to cause a ruckus and get the attic filthy. Of course, that’s when our tenants finally called us for pigeon control.
When I went to inspect the damage and the pigeon problem, it was so gross. There were pigeon nests up there, a couple of dead pigeons, and pigeon guano everywhere. The smell was bad, and the damage was worse. I didn’t even want to think about all the tiny little mites and other bugs that might be infesting our house.
Allstate Animal Control came out and did the pigeon control for me, and they even cleaned up the mess and installed pigeon blockers. We suffered through the rest of our lease term with the renters, went back in and fixed everything up the way we like, and put the house on the market. Hopefully, this time, we’ll get buyers and not have to worry about pigeon control ever again.
“Get rid of the pigeon! It’s in your kitchen. You gotta get rid of the pigeon somehow.”
Dennis and Tom were stuck together doing a history project about President Truman, and, even though they didn’t really know each other, they had decided to hang out at Dennis’ house for the afternoon, get a pizza and get the project done. Dennis’ parents both worked full-time, and he was an only child, so they’d have the place to themselves for several hours. Tom got permission from his foster parents, and they walked to Dennis’ apartment after school.
Tom was kind of a quiet kid, and there were a lot of unkind rumors going around about him at school. He never confirmed or denied any of the rumors, and Dennis suspected he started some of them himself. So, Dennis had no idea that Tom’s father had died when he was three, and his mother was an abusive alcoholic, so Tom had been taken from his mother’s care and placed into a foster home. His foster parents were nothing like the stereotype. They were nice to him, let him have his privacy while encouraging his passion for reading and building model airplanes.
Dennis had both his parents, who, in his opinion, gave him too much space. They left for work an hour before he walked to school, they usually came home three hours after he’d returned, and they went away on weekend trips a lot. They told him how proud they were of him, and how self-reliant he was, but sometimes, he really wished they were there a lot more.
When the two boys walked into the apartment, they heard a crash in the kitchen. Dennis dropped his bag and ran in there, followed by a more timid Tom. Both boys saw the pigeon sitting on the edge of the kitchen sink. It had knocked over a dirty breakfast bowl, which had crashed on the floor.
As they quickly retreated into the main room, Tom was adamant that they had to get rid of the pigeon. “They carry all kinds of diseases,” he told Dennis, “And, they’re just . . . gross.”
Dennis secretly agreed, but he felt he needed to show off a little, first. He started grabbing stuff from the main room, and, bragging that he could hit the pigeon with anything, he started throwing things at the bird. A dustpan flew into the kitchen and clattered onto the floor, followed by a couch pillow and one of his mom’s stupid cat knick-knacks. The pigeon flew up into the air, and banged into the window in a frantic effort to get out. Finally, Tom took pity on the bird and stopped Dennis from throwing his textbook at it. He quietly walked into the kitchen, opened the window, and said, “The best way to get rid of a pigeon is to let it out.”
Dennis frowned at his boring history project partner, and picked up the phone. “Pepperoni okay?” he asked.
My brother’s nuts, because he thinks the pigeons in our bedroom are a sign of good luck, but I know it’s better to get pigeon control in here immediately.
We live in a typical big apartment building, devoid of any personality. From the outside, it’s just an ugly white, broken up by tiny black windows, fire escape ladders, and streaks of bird droppings. It has even less personality on the inside, where ancient floors echo footsteps off white walls, and the doors leading to individual apartments are decorated only by little black numbers.
It’s a whole different world inside our apartment, though. Mom doesn’t make a lot of extra money at her job, so it’s not like we had an interior designer come through to transform our small, two-bedroom apartment into a sanctuary from the world. But, Mom sure does believe in color, and she’s draped bright red curtains over the windows, painted our room an eye-searing blue, and she’s filled every shelf with brightly colored glass knick-knacks.
My brother’s turning ten next week, and the only thing he’s begged for is a pet. I know that’s not going to happen, and Mom’s even explained to him we can’t have a pet in this small apartment. It would stink, we don’t have room for a pet, and worst of all, my brother’s allergic.
So, I can’t really blame him when he thought his birthday wish came true early. He loves to open our bedroom window to hear all the noises of the kids playing in the playground below, and to his delight, two pigeons flew in the open window. Once the pigeons were in, he slammed the window shut. The pigeons didn’t seem to mind too much. They just walked around on the window sill and cooed every now and then.
As soon as I realized what happened, I went to call the building supervisor so he could get pigeon control up to our apartment whenever he got around to it. I knew Mom would have a fit if she came home from work tonight to find two pigeons in the house. Already, there was an ugly stain on the wall under the window, and I swore I would not be the one to clean it up. My brother was rushing around the kitchen looking for old bread and a bag of sunflower seeds he swore was in the cupboard, while I yelled at him that we had to let pigeon control take care of the problem. He kept yelling back that the pigeons were not a problem, that they were his birthday pigeons, so I should just shut up.
When my brother’s got something in mind, he’s super stubborn, so I just sighed. The guys who come up to do pigeon control can deal with my brother. I did my part, I dunno who’s gonna clean up the mess, but it ain’t gonna be me. I just laid back down on the couch with my book and waited for either pigeon control or Mom to come home, whichever came first.
As an interior designer working in the city, I don’t consider pigeon removal as my area of expertise. I specialize in transforming apartments to really reflect the resident’s personalities. Most of my clients love living in the city, even though it means paying a lot of money to live in a small, cramped space with no view. So, I try to make an oasis out of the space they have. After I’m done, they can still enjoy the passions of city life and have a relaxing haven to call home.
Of course, when I first arrive at most clients’ apartments, it’s immediately obvious they need a professional designer and decorator. Some people’s attempts (or lack thereof) of decorating are just abominable. I knew one lady who only owned a bed out of necessity, but hadn’t purchased any other furniture, because she was afraid of making bad decorating decisions. She sat on the floor to eat her meals and didn’t have friends over, because she had nowhere for them to sit. She’d been living like that for over a year before finally hiring me.
One gentleman just accepted all the hand-me-down furniture and wall-hangings from his mother, without even trying to make them his own. When I first met him, I found a heterosexual bachelor living with overstuffed flowered couches and chairs and lace-encrusted pictures of birds and butterflies.
Whatever people’s design-choices, I have noticed a trend amongst city-apartment tenants. They almost always have to deal with pigeon removal one way or the other. Some wise people invest in a good pigeon removal service to keep their balcony free of birds and bird-debris. Some people choose to ignore the pigeon problem and end up with pigeon guano encrusted on their balcony floor several layers deep. Some people, the do-it-yourselfers, try more creative approaches. One woman actually drew scary faces on white balloons and taped the balloons to her railing, hoping to humanely frighten the pigeons from roosting on her window sills. She was traumatized when she realized her “humane” efforts ended up killing the pigeons that swallowed pieces of popped balloons. Some people attempt pigeon removal with thick wires with nails thrust through them. They glue these wires onto the areas where pigeons roost, hoping the nails that stick out will prevent the pigeons from resting their tired wings in and around their apartment. Unfortunately, some people don’t install these correctly, and either end up giving pigeons a perfect nook in which to roost free from predators, or impale their hands as they’re installing it.
Most pigeon removal materials do not enhance the look of an apartment. I take care of the interior, and make it an oasis for my clients, but I always suggest a good pigeon removal service to get rid of pigeon problems for them. After all, why spend good money on beautiful furniture and decorations if your guests are just going to focus on the balloons dancing madly in the wind outside your one and only window?
I’m not sure a certain British-singing-and-umbrella-flying nanny would be very happy with me for wanting to get rid of pigeons from the apartment complex I manage. But, those little suckers make such a huge mess all over the balconies and walkways. It definitely takes more than a spoonful of sugar to calm me down after spending a day cleaning up after them. They get under the eaves to roost, hang out on the roof, the branches overhanging the cars in the parking lot. Some of the tenants actually throw some bird seed out for them, and then complain to me about the mess they’re making!
It wouldn’t be so bad, but that stuff is toxic. If you just let it sit for a while, it changes from a sticky gooey mess to a concentrated salt that can eat through concrete and make steel rust faster. I would be so much happier if I could just get rid of pigeons instead of cleaning up after them all the time!
I go down to the park adjacent to our complex and get so irritated at people tossing bread crumbs to the birds. They’re just bringing more birds to the neighborhood. The park is right in front of a beautiful church with gorgeous artwork, and the birds sit on the heads of the statues mocking us and pooping. The beautiful artwork is ruined with streaks of white and black. Every few years, the city’s parks manager gets people in there to clean it all up, but wouldn’t it be easier to just get rid of the pigeons? I’m just saying . . .
I’ve given it a lot of thought, and I have a totally different version of that fictitious nanny’s song, and it doesn’t make pigeons as charming as she thought they should be. I’m begging my tenants to please, please stop feeding the birds!
Early each day to the apartment complex
The overworked manager comes
In my own special way to the people I call
Don’t buy that bag full of crumbs
Don’t feed the little birds
Shoo them away
And you’ll be glad if you do
Their young ones are hungry
But they won’t stay
If you don’t give them the food
Feed the birds, and you’ll get a mess
A huge mess, a gross mess, a nasty big mess
Feed the birds, that makes me cry
While overhead, the birds fill the sky
All around the apartment the people are parking
While pigeons are perched overhead.
Although you can’t see it,
You know they are smiling
Dropping the poop that they shed
Though my words are simple and few
Listen, listen, I’m calling to you
Feed the birds, and you’ll get a mess
A huge mess, a gross mess, a nasty big mess.