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man surrounded by pigeons

Why London Has Such Pigeon Problems

London and pigeons go hand in hand. Pigeon problems are synonymous with the city. Images of pigeons in Trafalgar Square come to mind just thinking about London. They may be quaint to tourists, but these birds create huge issues for the people who live here. Which is why they are known around here as flying rats.

There is an ever increasingly need for London pest pigeon control, but why does London have such a problem with pigeons in the first place? There are several reasons.

The main reasons London has so many pigeons

There are three basic reasons why London has such as issue with pigeons. These are simple. These birds are bold and comfortable around crowds of people, London has an abundance of places to scavenge and shelter, and the fact that people feed them. London has thousands of dustbins scattered throughout the city. Add to this the sheer amount of food waste people leave behind. Pigeons have an endless source of sustenance.

pigeon problems through feeding

Feeding the pigeons has been a national pastime since Victorian times. Most people think nothing of throwing them food. What’s more, some people still actually go out and feed them on purpose. These people do not understand the problems they are causing. Tourists are particularly guilty of this, and usually don’t know any better.

Then you have the availability of shelter. Pigeons have an almost limitless choice when it comes to roosting. There are hundreds of thousands of rooftops filled with nooks and crannies where they can live in the city. Not only that, most of these roofs have attics where pigeons can easily hide from the elements. There is no end to the ways pigeons will cause bird damage to property if left to their own devices.

The history behind London’s pigeon problems

The final reason why London has pigeon problems is simply historical. At one time, breeding homing pigeons was a huge industry. These birds were bred all over the city and used during periods such as the second world war. Occasionally the birds would escape or simply lose their way in the city. Today, most of the pigeon population in London is descended from these pigeons.

Along with eating almost anything, London pigeons have another survival secret. They have evolved their plumage to be a kind of urban camouflage. They are hard to get rid of due to their colour. Because they are mottled grey, these birds easily blend in with buildings and the city landscape. This makes them difficult to spot and is why they are able to nest and breed undetected.

Ultimately, pigeon problems are simply a product of London’s heritage. And, although there are no longer bird food stalls selling seeds in Trafalgar Square, any not many people are breeding these birds, the legacy persists, It is unlikely that we will ever get rid of these pests entirely. Even some of the options for pigeon deterrents being used in the city, like hawks to scare them off from London’s attractions, hasn’t fully deterred them. That being said, you can help to alleviate this problem by not feeding them.


Sally has been writing on the subject of pest control for 4 years. She always carries out extensive and in depth research and always tries to bring you the most up to date, interesting topics.

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