By Ronda Kaysen
April 14, 2018
How to Keep Unwelcome Pigeons at Bay
Q: I live on the 15th floor of an Upper East Side co-op with windows facing First Avenue. Pigeons are roosting on my window ledge. The birds’ vocalization is loud enough to wake me up in the morning and they leave behind gray and white stains from their droppings. I shoo the birds away when I’m home, but cannot do this all day. I want to be able to open my window in the spring without worrying that the germs from their droppings will enter my room. What can I place on my window ledge to discourage the pigeons from roosting there? I do not want to use anything that could fall off the ledge, endangering a pedestrian below, or poison the birds. What is a safe remedy?
A: You should be able to open your windows this spring without worrying that a pigeon will fly into your apartment or its droppings will soil your home. While their droppings do not generally pose a serious health risk, they are still unsanitary, and gross. But your building, not you, should get the birds off your ledge. As a shareholder, you are responsible for everything inside the walls of your apartment, and the co-op board is responsible for the building. So the board needs to figure out how to get the birds to find a new home.
“Residents should not attempt a solution on their own,” said Daniel Wollman, the chief executive of Gumley Haft, a Manhattan property manager.
Write the managing agent and the co-op board a letter alerting them to the pigeon problem and insisting that they fix it. If the birds are nesting on your ledge, they are probably nesting on another resident’s, too. In the letter, ask that management also clean the ledge of any droppings.
The building should be able to get the birds to nest elsewhere without damaging the facade or risking the safety of anyone on the street below. For example, at a Gumley Haft-managed property with a pigeon problem in its inner courtyard, management suspended netting over the area to keep the birds away.
Netting will not solve the problem at your building, but there are other methods. John McGowan, the director of operations for Bugged Out Pest Management in Brooklyn suggested that your building consider using Bird Barrier Optical Gel, a bird deterrent, which he described as “awesome.”