Here at Allstate Animal Control, we’re well aware of how clever and interesting pigeons are, but we also know of the various dangers of pigeons. Pigeons bring in disease-carrying bugs, create messy nests and roosts in the eaves and roofs of buildings, destroy attic insulation, attract mice, rats and bugs, leave pigeon droppings all over the sides of buildings and anything below. The high content of uric acid in their droppings is so caustic that it weakens wooden joists, concrete and other building material. Pigeons have been to blame for bridges weakening to the point of collapse. Paul Gascoigne, known as Gazza, described another danger of pigeons. The former England international footballer and football manager, dubbed as the “most naturally gifted English midfielder of his generation”, once begged out of training because of an incident with a pigeon. He’d arrived at the stadium early and offered to help a ground staff employee get rid of a pigeon off the White Hart Lane roof. He climbed up onto the roof and successfully chased the pigeon away, but then fell 30 feet from the roof. He was lucky, ending up with no broken bones, but a wicked large bruise down the side of his body. Animal trappers are definitely used to the risks of getting rid of animals from unusual or high places. Gazza was lucky, but it’s a good thing he wasn’t facing an angry raccoon mama on top of that roof. Pigeons are dangerous enough, apparently.
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.
Hawks are seen as the pigeon prevention method for a mansion awaiting reconstruction in Ewell, United Kingdom. City officials worry about pigeons roosting in the building that was damaged by fire in December 2013. Pigeon droppings will damage the plaster and pose a health and safety risk to the crews scheduled to start the restoration work after Christmas. The temporary solution? Fly hawks over the mansion at dusk each night in hopes of scaring off any pigeons, preventing them from roosting there. If that doesn’t work, they will need to consider more permanent solutions to keep the pigeons out.
We all thought my sister Marcy was making up the dumbest story. She kept saying that she saw pigeons living in the drive-through car wash, which was totally stupid, because there’s no way they would survive in there, with all the machinery moving and the soap spray and everything else going on in there. Of course she said she tried to take pictures of them with her phone, but that’s just when the soap covered her car, or the picture was too blurry with water spray or the big spinning brushes in there. Convenient. Pigeons in the car wash, but no way to take a picture of them?! Yeah, right.
Mom and Dad are letting us share a car, but we have to pay for the gas, change the oil regularly, and make sure it stays clean. Course, that works in theory for my parents, cuz they don’t have to drive us around all the time, but it means that Marcy and I fight all the time over the car. When Dad threatened to take the car away if we couldn’t work things out, we decided we’d both contribute to the “Car Jar”, which means a little bit of both of our paychecks goes into the jar to pay for gas, carwashes, stuff like that. Then, whoever goes to get that done just pulls the money out of the jar for it. It kind of works. But, we still fight a lot over who has to do what, and who gets to use the car each day. We just don’t fight around Mom and Dad anymore.
But, every time it’s Marcy’s turn to get the car washed, she complains. She doesn’t want to do it herself, so she takes it to the only drive-through car wash. Fine, whatever. But, then she complains that the pigeons in the car wash freak her out. Plus, she says, why should she wash the car there if they’re just going to poop on it as soon as she drives out. I thought she was just making it up because she hates having to do anything like wash the car or vacuum it or anything else. She’s pretty lazy.
So I finally said I’d take the car through the drive-through wash, just to shut her up. When our car was dirty enough to justify the ten bucks, I headed on over with Marcy in the passenger’s seat.
Wouldn’t you know it, even with the spray and soap and brushes everywhere, I could see some pigeons in the car wash. One of them was sitting on the tiny ledge above a window, and another pigeon actually had a nest on top of the big dryer that moves up and down. There were eggs up there! Marcy said that was new, and she finally got her picture of the pigeons in the car wash. She took the picture just before our car went under the dryer and right before that pigeon pooped on the windshield. Unbelievable. Guess my sister’s not as stupid as I thought. We showed the manager our picture and got another free car wash out of it, but I got the impression they already knew they had pigeons in the car wash and just didn’t want to do anything about it. Marcy made a deal with me – I always wash the car at home so she doesn’t have to go to the car wash again, and she puts a little extra money in the Car Jar. Works for me.
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.