Deterring pigeons and collared doves!

Have been having problems this year with the noise of large numbers of pigeons and collared doves from 4.30 am right through the day, which is driving my husband mad! Have taken away some bird feeders, mainly tables to try and encourage them to move somewhere else, but I want to keep the squirrel feeders as everyone uses them. Any suggestions as to how I may be able to keep them quiet until a slightly later hour. Much as I like to see them, it is not the nicest bird song, especially when they are right outside the bedroom window.

  • When you feed birds in your garden, you'll attract a cross-section of all the birds in the area. It can be very difficult to deter one or more species, without deterring others. However, it can be relatively easy to deter larger birds and still keep the smaller ones.

    Food is the answer, or rather, preventing them from getting at it - pigeons and doves are very good at scavnging and eating food that is on any flat surface, with easy access. If your table has a roof, you could try hanging lengths of string from the roof, down to the platform at 5-10cm intervals all the way round. The birds don't like it when it touches their wings as they try to gain access.

    Therefore, you should also only offer food in hanging feeders - The main problem with hanging feeders comes when seeds fall to the floor when they are shaken around by the smaller birds feeding. You need to either catch the falling seeds in a bucket or similar (placing some wire mesh over the top to allow seeds to fall in, but preventing pigeons), and disposing of them before the pigeons are able to reach them. Another alternative could be a ground protector cage beneath the feeders - - this will allow the seeds to drop on the floor but prevents larger birds from reaching them.


    If they have no access to food, they'll soon move to somewhere that they can get some - this won't work, obviously, if your neighbours don't take the same precautions.......

    Unfortunately, i don't think there's anything that can make them keep quiet in the morning, that's their busiest and most important part of the day!


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  • Anonymous

    Hi Lindylou and welcome to the RSPB Forum.  Enjoy yourself here

    LRB has given a good answer.  Pigeons are hard to get rid of becuse they see the other birds on your feeders, and they will hang around for any tit bits they can get a hold off

    The only good about them is their larger size, and that they are not so nimble as other birds.  They will remain ground dwellers they are when it comes to foodstuffs.

    Just occasionally I have seen pigeons trying to land on small bird feeders, and it is more comical than sincere.  They will never really get what they want!

    I like the coo-ing in the morning as it is very sweet.  I also know one is sitting on top of my current chimney as the sounds echoes down the chimney and it makes its way into our front room - quite entertaining - full stereo Woodpigeon and Collared Dove calls

    The thing I find most annoying about Wood Pigeons is that they tend to be spooked at the slightest movement in the garden and when they take off all the other birds follow them.  This means any good photograph opportunities can be dashed in an instance.

    Food wise I have hanging feeders and ground feeders. I have made a hole in the metal fencing surrounding the bird bowl. so the birds up to Blackbird/Collared dove size can use the ground feeders, and the Wood Pigeons are limited to what foodstuffs they have access too.

    Woodpigeons are part of the bird feeding gang and we so learn to love them in a funny sort of way.  Just sometimes they tend to monopolise and that is the downside to them. 

    Hopefully they will grow on you in the future.


    Kathy and Dave

  • In reply to Anonymous:

    Hi Lindylou

    I also had a big problem with pigeons eating almost all the food left out. I had excellent advice from friends here on the forum, one of which was to use an upturned hanging basket. As you will see from the picture it is an ideal solution.  I stopped using the bird table and the open wall feeder, and the pigeons don't come as often.

    It is a great success,  the pigeons are still able to feed from seed that drops onto the ground, but all the birds now feed from the hanging basket dome, and hanging feeders.

  • I have to say I too have been having problems with Wood Pigeons and Collared doves.  I believe in feeding all birds however their numbers have increased from 3 or 4 last year to a massive 12 (just collared doves) and 7 (wood pigeons) each time.


    I have a set of feeders everything from ground feeders, dome feeders, hanging feeders, flat feeders off the ground and even a small headed lamppost looking feeder.


    The problem I find is that while the pigeons have access to the ground feeders they each everything there within about an hour.  They then patrol around the caged feeder (got a cage ground feeder for smaller birds) and so because of this constant sentry duty no other birds visit that feeder.


    The lamppost feeder designed for little sparrows and finches, they have now learnt to access with a lot of flapping and wings sticking out at all angles, they keep all other birds off and even line up along the length of the fence usually numbering 7 or 8 of them waiting their turn.  This feeder is now also empty within a day (it can hold 1 kg bag of food).

    Because of this mass of large birds I have seen no small birds since April, we had a lovely family of sparrows, several finches including a couple of goldfinches were tentatively entered our garden a few times and a bossy pair of chaffinches, blackbirds, starlings, tits....

    Even the brave little robin no longer comes around.  I will try some of the suggestions here but many i have already attempted.  When we took away the ground feeders and only left hanging feeders, the pigeons sat on the pole that holds the hanging feeders in their droves and kept every little bird away.

    I am now worried that even if I get the pigeons away from my garden (or at least reduced in number) that I won't get back the eclectic variety of birds I had earlier this year. 

    Going through so much bird food and only seeing pigeons who are eating it ridiculously fast (often one pigeon will sit in the middle of the feeder and not move for about 30mins!  Then when he leaves, another takes his place for 20mins) and not seeing any other birds is starting to upset me.  I used to love taking pictures of all the different birds.  I am getting to the point where I see why so many people hate these types of birds.

  • In reply to LRB:

    I have only just started feeding the birds in my garden again as I've had a lot of work done out there and they all seem to have gone elsewhere. I am experiencing the same problems with wood pigeons and collared doves and as much as I want to feed them (they have to eat after all) I don't want it to be at the expence of the little birds. I had two robins in the garden the other day but haven't seen them since. I just wanted to make sure that if I try the string suggestion (hanging strips of it down from the room of the bird table) will it just detract the bigger birds and still allow the little birds to feed? I'm assuming it won't upset the smaller birds and that they will still visit the bird table.

  • In reply to midismum:


    You are always going to get the bigger birds but one way I found was to use both a bird table and feeder pole in the garden.

    I put out some scraps and seed on the bird table and then hang my feeders on the feeder pole as well as putting some seed on the tray that is attached to the pole; plus some water in the drinking dish.

    Most of the bigger birds then feed off the bird table and the floor, while the likes of the robins then feed from the feeder pole tray (I have in recent times also seen robins pecking at the fat balls i have hung out and very occasionally go for the feeders too)

    Any lose seed that hits the floor is then eaten by the pigeons, doves and even Dunnocks who hardly ever fly onto the bird table; which in all is a good thing as nothing gets wasted




    Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better. - Albert Einstein

  • I have been feeding birds in my front yard from two flat terracotta mosaic bowls and they used to feed the whole day long. Now, suddenly in the last few months, I have seen nothing but pigeons. The little birds come when I put the seeds out and then as soon as the pigeons come, they all disappear. And the pigeons eat everything withing an hour! I live in a built up area and it frustrates me. As I am sympathetic to them as well, these are ringed pigeons so they belong to someone. And they are big and fat. I also have two huge bowls of water but the little birds don't even come near when the pigeons are there. They fight each other at the bowls and there is lots of wing flapping and hopping around. I love all birds, but this is not the purpose of my feeding to feed someone else's pets. And they come in masses! I am going to try the upside down wire planter. That seems a great idea.
  • Have a try at making these .... they've kept the pigeons at bay from our feeders. Hopefully they'll move on elsewhere if there's not much they can get at?
  • I've tried the 14" hanging basket cages but the pigeons just stick their heads in through the gaps and can reach everything inside by walking around it and going at the food from every angle!

    I'm glad I only paid a couple of quid for the basket as it was a total waste of (not a lot of) money.
  • In reply to simonali:

    Simonali - is your basket hanging, and is there a tray or feeder inside it? Pigeons can't reach mine as there's nothing for them to stand on and reach the food other than the basket. The food is too far down for them to reach from the too of the cage.