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For years I have waged a losing war with wood pigeons.  They are dirty flying rats, and yesterday they just about finished off any patience I might have had with them!!  I had set some hanging baskets out to finally harden off before hanging them.  Wood pigeons sat in the middle and proceeded to strip out the entire centre of the planting!! To say that I was angry is probaby the understatment of the year so far.  I hate and destest squirrels too, but at least they have the grace to look quite pretty and  are intelligent so fighting them seems more like a game.  Pigeons however are ugly, destructive and stupid.  Anyone got any way of dicouraging them, which won't discourage the little birds that we so enjoy? 

Lets be honest here, I really just felt like having a rant .............

Alina W

I wish, Bookertoo - they drive me potty, too!

They're so stubborn - we exclude them from the bird table by simply making it too small for them to fit into, but they still insist on sitting around it hopefully - grrrrr!


you are so right, then when the little birds drop stuff, as they always do, they pick up the bits - which I wouldn't mind - then destroy anything around for a meter or so - as you say Alina, grrrrrr


Perhaps some pointy sticks sticking up in your hanging baskets would deter them a bit. They don't have to be too high and spoil the look of the planting.

I do mostly agree with previous posts about pigeons but I had a sneaking admiration for one I saw on the TV once which was being pursued by a large bird of prey, was outwitting it by clever flying and finally escaped.


On the TV that would be fine and admirable, as long as it was many miles from my garden!!!! 


Alina W

The sticks are right, Flobear. I keep my broken bamboos and trim them to 12" lengths. Then, when I plant new small plants out, I push one in next to each one. It stops the pigeons trundling over the plants, or getting anywhere near them - works and absolute treat.

Laura Corin

Where do they nest?  We still have pigeons, but many fewer since we took down overgrown leylandii/other conifer hedging last summer.  We found a lot of empty pigeon nests in there - but not small nests - and some of the adults seem to have moved on to nest elsewhere.  


Aha, another reason to get rid of the dreaded overgrown leylandii blighting the place. The only pigeon's nest I've ever seen was in the corner of a hotel balcony. It even had a young pigeon in it. Squab, I think, is what they're called.

Poor Bookertoo, I hope you have some better luck with your pointy sticks in place.

Emma Crawforth

The pigeons ate my newly planted cabbages while I was on holiday. In a forgetful moment I'd left them uncovered and gone away. However, if I'd been thinking, I would have placed netting over the cabbages / set up windmills near them or set out strings. In the past I've kept them off my crops by all of the above methods. It works well because they don't like going anywhere that could trap them. However, if you're on an allotment they'll just end up visiting your unprotected neighbours' plots instead.

Emma team


i also have them in my garden.. and they are a nightmare.. but as i have suet pellets out for other birds they seem to just hang around under those now and leave plants alone.. thou they do keep going into the greenhouse if i leave door open after dusk.. but i do have a very angry blackbird in the garden..always facing upto the pegions and chasing them off.. it is so daft.. the pigeons leg it when he is about... oh and htey do not like the seagull that is nesting on our flat roof.. they seem to keep even the rooks and cats away.

Might sound odd but have you considered tying in another (empty) basket on top of your planted ones to form a sort of ball? Your plants will grow through and cover the top one, keep the pigeons off and maybe even become a talking point, too.


Same problem here.  I have lost entire 10x2m beds of young brassicas in mere minutes to wood pigeons.  Soul destroying when you have put all of that effort in to raise them to the planting-out stage.  I finally got serious this year and ordered 20 metres of 4 metre wide 7mm mesh netting, to protect against both pigeons and cabbage white butterflies, then erected a 1 metre high wooden frame around the whole bed to support it.  It'll be a pain to move it all when I rotate the crops next year, but I am determined to have home-grown greens on my plate, not fat woodpigeons waddling around looking smug! 

I found what was left of a pigeon on my front lawn today, once we had droves of them then we got a fox in the woods, the pigeons have legged it apart from the odd unlucky one every couple of days.
On the farm we shot them and they went into a pie, I think H&S may have something to say about you shooting up the street though



I lost my first early sewing of lettuces to pigeons down the allotment so i feel your pain!!


something is eating through the stems of my runnerbean plant leaves,  I have put down slug pellets but there is no sign of them. Do you think it could be pigeons causing the damage ?



Pretty unlikely-it is usually slugs-did you put the pellets down before you saw the damage? and if it rains heavily they become pretty ineffective, so it is a case of keep doing it until the stems become too tough for them to fancy

We have lots of wood pigeons too. Hopefully when the lastof our conifers comes down we wont have so many as they do nest in it. They are a real pest...and ugly too !

Hello, I am also troubled by wood pigeons and I live in an urban area!  There is a pair who persistently roost in our apple tree and even sit on top of my rotary washing line, when I shoo them away they stare down at me as if to say.. "You go away".  Then they coo very loudly for hours and get on everyone's nerves, they do this at 5.00am every morning as well.  I have been told they hate the smell of WD40 and will steer away from that.  The only thing is, how to administer this - Any ideas?

I use holly sprigs - stick them in the soil around and among new plants.  Helps deter cats too.  Much as I don't like the pigeons, I find cats worse. 

Wood pigeons just 'got' my brassicas in a raised bed too - the remains are now covered with a fleece, temporarily until I get some finer mesh, and I'm in hope that some will regrow as the pigeons seemed to go for the big leaves not the tender centres. There are some newer-sown ones coming up, under a cloche, so I'll make sure these get covered too when the cloche is removed.

Will also try the sticks in the ground to deter them (and cats!) elsewhere in the garden.