Wildlife Damage Management, Internet Center for


Date of this Version

September 1970


When I look at the multitude of pests and diseases you have here in the United States, it is a miracle to me that you are still alive today. The United King¬dom is fortunate in having very few bird pests in urban areas. We have the English Sparrow, the starling, and the feral pigeon. We are also a nation of bird lovers, with a large number of organizations that look after the welfare of wild birds. So, we in pest control have to be very careful in our control procedures.

Now let me move along to our feral pigeon trapping program. Our aims are three-fold. We have to reduce bird numbers faster than they can reproduce. Second¬ly we want to catch the birds without any public notice, and thirdly we want to get at least a 70% reduction in the population within a short period of time, about 6-8 weeks. Theoretically, a pair of pigeons can give rise to a population of 100 in 16 months: this assumes two eggs per clutch, a period of 8 weeks from egg laying to fledgling and sexual maturity at 4-5 months. In practise, squab mortality reduces this figure; moreover, less than 40% of female pigeons may be in breeding condition at any one time. Despite these factors, a pair of pigeons can give rise to a population of 100 in about 30 months. Rapid removal of birds is therefore essential to combat the breeding potential of a flock of pigeons.