How to Get Rid of Pigeons at Bird Feeders

Rock pigeons are nonnative birds that can gobble up lots of bird seed quickly. Learn how to discourage pigeons from visiting your feeders.

Ask the Experts: How to Get Rid of Pigeons

Rock Pigeon (columba Livia) Standing On A Wooden
The rock pigeon is a nonnative bird species.

“How do I get rid of pigeons at my feeders?” asks Birds & Blooms reader Vivian Tester of Bristol, Tennessee.

Birding experts Kenn and Kimberly Kaufman write, “Pigeons can be a nuisance, especially when they arrive in large flocks, gobbling up loads of seeds. Taking your feeders down for a while is sometimes effective, but there are other options to discourage pigeons, too. Hanging feeders, especially tube style, are more difficult for pigeons to access. There also are tray-style feeders with cagelike baffles that fit over the top, designed to keep large birds from reaching the seed. Since pigeons prefer to feed on the ground, be sure to keep the area under your feeders clean as well.

Learn how to get rid of blackbirds and grackles at feeders.

Take a Break

Shutterstock 1283294650Shutterstock / kzww
Put your feeders away until pigeons find a new food source.

When less-desirable birds like pigeons or house sparrows visit your feeders in numbers, sometimes the only options are to take down your feeders until the flocks move on or to embrace the common birds as a fixture of your backyard landscape.

Did you know that pigeons and mourning doves are related? Learn more fascinating facts about mourning doves.

Pigeons Are Nonnative Birds

Bnbbyc19 Amy Parsons 2Courtesy Amy Parsons
Pigeons are often seen in cities but they also may feed on the ground under your bird feeders.

Rock pigeons, like Eurasian collared-doves and European starlings, are not native to the United States. Introduced from Europe in the 1600s, rock pigeons saved lives carrying messages for the U.S. Army in both world wars. Many are gray with two black wing bars and shiny green or red on the neck. Pigeons nest in buildings, in barns and under bridges. They feed young with milk developed in their throat pouches.

Next, learn what a white-winged dove looks like.

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Lori Vanover
Lori Vanover is the senior digital editor for Birds & Blooms. She has a bachelor's degree in agricultural and environmental communications from the University of Illinois. Lori enjoys growing vegetables and flowers for pollinators in her backyard gardens. She also is an avid bird-watcher.