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From: Tania Kadakia
Chicago, IL
I live in a 4 story condo building in Chicago with lots of ledges. We did not have pigeons for more than 5 years, but then suddenly, about 4 weeks ago, 10 or so of them moved in. Can you help with both how to get rid of them and with understanding about any health hazards?

We would really prefer not to use spikes becuase they look awful. The developer of our building said he put Hot Foot on the building and that's what kept the pigeons away for 5 years. Are you familiar with this product? The maker says that unlike other products, Hot Foot does not rely on being sticky to get rid of the pigeons (which would just get stuck with leaves and other junk). Instead it is unpleasant to touch (it's "hot" i guess). It comes with a 2 year warranty if installed correctly.

The contractors I spoke to say we should spray the building exterior for mites becuase they can get into the building. Also, since the pigeons are right over our front door, we are tracking poop into the building (though we try not to of course). Is this really hazardous in reletively small amounts? Also, I've heard that pigeon poop is really corrosive and can harm our building. Our buiding was built in 1890 and is partially built with some kind of soft decorative stone.

Finally, one of the pigeon control companies I called was all ready to put out poison. I've heard this is illegal. Is that true? Not that I want to use this method - of course I want to avoid it if at all possible - but I really dont' want pigeons on our building.

Thanks very much for you help.

Extension Message
From: Laura Kammin
Visiting Extension Specialist, Pollution Prevention
Extension-Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant College Program
I am not familiar with the Hot Foot product and cannot speak to its effectiveness. It is unnecessary to spray the building exterior for mites. Bird droppings can be a source of salmonella, but as long as the entry way is cleaned regularly, the amounts being tracked in are probably harmless. Large amounts of bird droppings can damage paint and exterior building surfaces. The amount left by a handful of birds will be taken care of my regular rain events. Pigeons are not covered by federal or Illinois wildlife laws because they are not native to the United States. However, the use of poisons for pigeon control is not recommended due to the possibility of killing non-target species.

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