Bird Spikes

DEAR MIKE: How can I get rid of pigeons? -- Howard C.

DEAR HOWARD: I suppose there are places in the world where pigeons are revered, but to me they're nothing more than filthy, disease-spreading vermin whose only mission in life is to breed and make a mess of my neighborhood.

First, don't even consider using poison to get rid of them. This is dangerous, as well as illegal.

About the best you can hope for is to force these feathered nuisances to find a new place to roost. You could try eliminating their source of food and water, but I've seen pigeons suck water out of the smallest of cracks in a sidewalk -- cracks so tiny that even cockroaches won't waste their time on them.

You could also try installing bird spikes or cordoning off the area where they congregate with chicken wire. Both options are cheap and easy.

Bird spikes can be found at a home center, usually in the garden section. A package costs around $10 and will cover about 3 linear feet.

If you're mounting the spikes on the roof, use an adhesive caulk (about $3 a tube). Insert the spikes into the channel (which comes with the spikes) first, run a thick bead of caulk on the underside of the channel and stick it in place. Once the adhesive dries, the spikes stay put.

If you're mounting the spikes to a wood overhang, use screws to first secure the channel, then insert the spikes. Use a hacksaw to trim the channel, if needed.

Spikes work fairly well, but pigeons have the intestinal fortitude of legendary kamikaze pilots. They've been known to swoop over the spikes at great personal risk. Chicken wire may be more unsightly, but a dive-bombing pigeon can't penetrate it. A roll costs about $20.

You'll probably have to cut the wire at an angle to follow the roof line, so have some wire cutters on hand. Also, be careful handling the wire after cutting because it's very sharp. Attach the wire to the wood fascia or overhang using staples or pan-head screws and washers.

The pigeons will find out soon enough that they've been evicted. Just keep your head covered until they leave. 

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