Feral pigeon (Columba livia) is around 31cm in length, and between 230 - 560g in weight. The colour of these birds varies, although the most common colour combinations are those that resemble the Rock Dove. They have two black bars on each wing, a white rump and grey-blue plumage. Feral pigeons are widely found throughout towns and cities across the UK.
These birds take advantage of man-made structures to build their nests, and are often found in roof and loft spaces, train stations and under bridges. Feral pigeons will never go hungry due to the vast quantities of food discarded in and around urban areas. They also take advantage of food spillages around food manufacturing factories and misguided members of the public who actively feed them.
Their nests are generally constructed from twigs, plastic tie straps, faeces, feathers, wire and other plastic materials. The female pigeon lays a clutch of two eggs that are incubated for around 17 days. This can occur up to seven times a year.
Pest species of birds carry a variety of disease causing organisms. These can be transmitted to humans and other animals, causing air borne diseases, such as Psittacosis, pneumonia, and meningitis. Disease causing bacteria contained within the birds’ faecal matter can find their way into foodstuffs or water for human consumption, causing Salmonella poisoning and other gastrointestinal illnesses. Insects and mites are also an associated problem with birds living in close proximity to humans, causing secondary infestation in homes and factories. The faeces of pest birds can pose a significant health and safety risk when faeces are deposited on pavements and stairs by causing a slip hazard. The droppings and nesting materials can also cause gutters to become blocked, leading to flooding. The faeces can cause damage to building structures and staining, which looks unsightly.