Battle of the Pigeons

Photo courtesy of Knight Science Journalism Tracker

While I had heard so many people complain about pigeons in New York, pigeons had never really bothered me before. Yes, they were kind of dirty and not exactly the cutest birds, but I had no issue with them. I was used to them scurrying around midtown in search of a breadcrumb from a sandwich or wandering aimlessly amongst crowds, not seeming the least bit intimidated by humans.

But that changed quickly once I got a New York apartment with a balcony, which is when my battle with the pigeons began.

My apartment has a balcony with a gorgeous view overlooking the Manhattan skyline, so when the weather warmed up this Spring, I was excited to buy some patio furniture. Nothing fancy, just a little bistro set so that I could sit out with a glass of wine and enjoy the view or entertain friends when I had company. When the furniture arrived, I could barely contain my excitement about my teeny, tiny bit of summer outdoor space.

Enter: the pigeons. It started one morning when I was awakened a few hours before I had to get up for work by the unmistakeable sound of pigeons chirping loudly. Not able to block out the sound, I got up groggily to open my balcony door and was met with the sight of two pigeons, each sitting on one of my two nice, new chairs, relaxing as if they belonged there. I shooed them away and slumped back into bed crankily.

The next morning, the same thing happened again. Only this time, they flew away right before I opened the door. As I was about to turn to go back to bed, I noticed something under the table and stared in disbelief. Yup, you guessed it–it was the beginnings of a bird’s nest.

At first, I felt bad about doing it, because I know that they are birds and in New York there’s little space to build a nest, but underneath my brand new furniture? Um, no. Not happening. So with the broom I went to sweep it all away, hoping the little suckers would get the point.

Wouldn’t you know these darn pigeons are the most stubborn animals I have ever encountered? Day after day, I sweep away the nest, and day after day, I wake up in the morning to see it being rebuilt. I literally found myself yelling at them one morning: “Come on! How dumb can you be?! I’m just going to keep sweeping it away every day!” After which I thought to myself “How dumb can you be? They’re birds; they can’t understand you!”

Finally, I went out one day and there was no nest. Alas, I thought smugly, they’ve gotten the point. And then I noticed it. The huge splattering of bird poop all over my glass balcony table. I literally let out a frustrated growl, got the cleaning supplies and started scrubbing. But the pooping and the pigeon infestation continues. It’s like they are paying me back for sweeping away their nest by pooping all over my furniture.

Help! How do I get rid of these guys? Like I said, I’m an animal lover, so something like bird spikes seems pretty cruel, but the other options I’ve found via Google, like putting up a fake plastic owl, don’t seem like they are enough to trick these darn things. Somebody help save me and my furniture!


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