Stop Pigeons Sitting on a Roof with Defender® Angled Ridge Spikes

Do you have a problem with pigeons sitting on your roof? This blog and video will show you how easy it is to move pigeons off the roof ridge humanely, with Defender® Angled Ridge Spikes. The info below explains why they will perch on a roof and the damage they can cause in more depth.

We have all driven down a street and quietly wondered to ourselves why are all those pigeons sitting on the top of that house, perched on the roofs’ tiles and not on any other house. What makes that house so special and why have the pigeons left the neighbour's house alone?

To answer these questions, we must look a little deeper into a feral pigeon's lifestyle. Pigeons are naturally prey to many creatures, including opportunist animals like foxes or badges, the main predators however are Peregrine Falcons or Sparrowhawks. To keep out of the way of the opportunist animals, it makes sense for a pigeon to sit high up and out of the way. In the wild this would be trees and cliff faces, however in urban surroundings, the roof ridge makes the perfect place as it’s so high up. The perched pigeon can see all around, constantly checking for predators while also knowing it is safely out of harm's way. However, not out of the way of a bird of prey I hear you cry! Being high up on the rooftop, pigeons also have a clear view of the sky, they have excellent eyesight and can at least attempt to outmanoeuvre any birds of prey looking to attack.

The other main reason pigeons will sit high up on a roof’s apex is to view the availability of food. From a height, pigeons can see exactly where and when the next available meal is coming from. This could be from a bird table in a back garden, an overflowing bin in a high street, fruiting cherry trees or new buds on the sweet pea plants. Whichever rooftop is closest to the easiest food source, is the most desired perching place for a pigeon flock.

If this behaviour meant only one or two pigeons perched on the roof, then there probably would be no need to deal with the problem. However, pigeons are gregarious, they love each other's company – as the saying goes, birds of a feather flock together! They are also excellent parents, the young pigeon stays with its parent until it is an adult, which is about 4 weeks. This young bird then joins the flock, finds a mate and in turn starts a family. A pigeon can produce on average, 2 eggs at a time and can lay up to 6 times a year. If the food source can continually support a growing community, it will grow very quickly into a huge flock!

Can birds on a roof be a problem for the property owner?

Yes, it is! Without meaning to scare, flocks of pigeons range in size from around 20 to a whopping 400 if there is a local food source that can support them. Even just 50 birds swooping into land on the roof can prove problematic. These are the reasons why:

  • The more birds, the more weight the roof will have to hold

  • Constant noise of cooing pigeons throughout the day

  • Scratching noise of birds' feet on tiles during the night

  • Pigeons scratching can damage roofing materials increasing the risk of roof leaks

  • Poop will often catch in the gutters causing blockages

  • Gutters can fill with feathers and old nesting material

  • Blocked gutters cause water to overflow, damaging wall surfaces, and causing damp

  • Plants can start to grow in the debris of blocked gutters

  • The mix of stagnant water and debris can smell

  • The weight of debris in the gutters can make them fall down

  • Pigeons tend to poop over the edge of the roof, so staining walls

  • Pigeon poop is acidic and can damage and discolour wall surfaces

  • Acidity of pigeon poop can corrode roofing material over time

  • Once on the roof, they could gain access to the inside loft

  • Pigeons nesting inside a loft are very tricky to get rid of

  • Pigeon debris can encourage other pests into the home, such as rodents

  • Pigeon nesting material can contain bird mites, which may move into the home

  • Pigeon poop and nest debris contain pathogens which can be harmful to humans

  • An established flock will be detrimental to a house's value and neighbouring houses

This physical damage alone is enough to want to move pigeons on from the roof ridge. If allowed to become a long-term issue, the associated problems with having pigeons on a roof can be incredibly costly to the property owner to put right. Let's not forget that a flock of pigeons can also affect the property owners' quality of life and mental health, here are just a few examples.

  • Pigeons pooping can cause pathways and steps to become slippery and dangerous.

  • Pathways have to be cleaned daily

  • Pigeon poop on windows has to be cleaned off daily

  • Washing can’t be hung on the line

  • Cars will get covered in pigeon poop which is acidic and damages paintwork

  • Crops are damaged and eaten by growing pigeon flocks

  • Garden furniture can’t be left outside or it will need cleaning daily

  • Children’s play equipment can quickly become unusable

So how do we get rid of pigeons off the roof?

An interesting fact is once you get rid of pigeons sitting on the roof ridge, they will often abandon the property altogether. The roof ridge tiles are the ideal perching place, by choice, pigeons don’t overly enjoy standing on the sloping tiles, so if the ridges are bird-proofed, they will just move on to perch on the next easily accessible available property.

Several different methods work, such as netting off the whole roof, but the most effective, easiest and humane method of moving pigeons on from the roof ridge is to install Defender® Bird Spikes. In particular, we would recommend the Defender® Angled Roof Ridge Spikes and the Defender® Curved Ridge Spike. Generally, bird spikes are plastic strips that have integral wires attached, these blunted wires don’t hurt the birds, they act as a visual and physical barrier to pigeons landing on ledges. What makes the Defender® Ridge Spikes stand apart is the specially shaped bases.

Tell me more about the Defender® Ridge Spike range!

There are currently two different types of ridge spike made by Defender® Bird Spikes as there are generally two different types of ridge tile that are commonly used in the UK – the triangular ridge tile and the half-round ridge tile. The blunted wires on both types of ridge bird spike are longer than average in length so that they work just as well for the larger seagull as well as the pigeon. The wires protrude out at angles so birds find they cannot get close enough to find purchase with their feet on the ridge tile. The wires simply make it uncomfortable to land and encourage birds to move onto another property with easier access.

Defender® Angled Ridge Spike:The base on this bird spike is shaped in an upside-down ‘V’ shape. This shape fits perfectly over the top of triangular ridge tiles, no matter how steep the angle of the triangular tile or angular apex roof tile as they are sometimes referred to. They are incredibly easy to install, simply apply Defender® Bird Spike Fixing Silicone to either side of the underside of the ‘V’ shape and press onto the apex of the tile and that’s it! The ‘V’ shape holds it in position while the adhesive cures, which takes only 24 hours. The Defender® Ridge Spike works immediately, moving the pesky pigeons on. If you need a bit more info, please read a more in-depth installation guide for the Defender® Angled Ridge Spike which includes a pictorial guide.

Defender® Curved Ridge Spike: This spike uses a Defender® Seagull Spike with 4 integral curved ‘anti-topple’ stabilisers attached to the front and back of the base. This gentle curve means it is perfect to use on curved half-round ridge tiles. As the name suggests, these curved strips add stability to the bird spikes. If the roof is an established roosting and perching site, pigeons and seagulls can try to move the spikes especially while the adhesive is curing, but the stabilising ‘anti-topple’ strips make it impossible for the birds to move it. Installation is very straightforward, apply silicone adhesive to the base of the spike and along the stabilisers, press onto the clean, dry half-round ridge tiles and you are good to go!

How do I get up onto the roof to bird-proof the ridge tiles?

This is a great question and one that needs to be considered seriously. The very nature of a roof ridge means it is the highest point on a building. Please only attempt installation if you are competent in using ladders and can reach the roof ridge tiles easily. If you are having work done to the outside of the property and have scaffolding in place, that is a great time to consider bird-proofing your roof, indeed, while it is up, do consider the whole roof area. Birds also like to sit on chimney pots at the highest point on the roof so do take a look at our page on Defender® Chimney Pot Spikes and as mentioned earlier on, the gutters can also attract pigeons, so it may be worth considering our easy to install Defender® Gutter Spikes.

If there is any doubt, please contact a professional pest controller or tradesperson who is used to working on ladders and rooftops safely.

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