Pigeons are domestic or feral versions of wild rock doves that have developed to thrive in towns and cities. They’re often seen nesting in public buildings, where they foul the facades and forage brazenly for seeds and discarded food. They have small heads, plump bodies and are usually blue-grey in colour. The species also includes Wood Pigeons, which are slightly larger than the feral rock doves at around 40cm long and have a characteristic cooing call.
Pigeons are prolific breeders in woods, parks and gardens. Not only are several types of pest introduced into buildings from pigeon nests, but the bird droppings are also sources of disease. Local authorities have special license to control the pigeon population using particular methods, and ‘proofing’ measures such as building spikes, wires and nets may also be used to keep the birds away without harming them.
Seagulls are medium to large birds, typically grey or white in colour, with a loud noisy cry. They breed in densely packed colonies where they lay their eggs in sturdy nests and have a long lifespan. These birds have adapted easily to the urban environments of our coastal towns and cities, gaining rich pickings from litter, landfill sites and seaside debris such as crabs and small fish. They encourage the spread of diseases such as salmonella, by scavenging for food scraps on rubbish dumps and other polluted areas.
During the breeding and rearing season, seagulls can become quite aggressive towards humans if they fear any threat to the nest. Their territorial attacks begin with swooping and diving, followed by fouling and vomiting to protect their chicks. We recommend an effective deterrent system for owners of commercial premises, to prevent roosting, to encourage infection control and for public safety.