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Jones & SonJones & Son

Pigeon Spike Manufacturer
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About Pigeons

This “About Pigeons” section has been kindly written for us by Guy Merchant of the Pigeon Control Advisory Service www.picas.org. Guy is widely regarded as one of the worlds leading authorities on pigeon deterrents.

’If you are interested in further information on our anti pigeon device or pigeon scarer, visit the FAQ’s section where the subject of Pigeons and Pigeon Spikes (often mis-spelt “Pidgeon” spikes) is discussed in detail.’

See pictures of pigeon spikes installed.

If you have a pigeon control question click here & we we'll answer you within 2 hours (Mon - Fri 9am - 5pm) Test us! If we fail we will send you a large bar of chocolate.

The story of the Pigeon:

The feral pigeon (often mis-spelt pidgeon) that we see in our towns and cities today descends from the Rock Dove (Columbia Livia), a cliff dwelling bird that was widely found in coastal areas many centuries ago, particularly rocky coastlines. Unlike the Wood Pigeon (no relation) that nests in trees, the feral pigeon will almost exclusively nest on buildings and at height, which is why the species has adapted so well to modern towns and cities. Apart from man, the main predator of the feral pigeon has historically been the Peregrine Falcon, a bird that also lived and bred along rocky coastlines. Due to the inaccessibility of nesting sites on cliff faces, man was far less of a threat than were avian predators. As a result, the feral pigeon became incredibly successful as a species. Until approximately 1000 years ago it would have been a common sight in coastal areas – large flocks of several thousand birds would have not been uncommon. It is now rare to see pigeons living and breeding on cliff faces other than in isolated areas.

Over the last 1000 years, as man has developed and built towns and cities, the feral pigeon has moved inland to exploit our buildings (that replicate cliff faces) for the purpose of roosting and breeding. The feral pigeon has also learned to exploit man for food and has adapted, over the centuries, to feed almost exclusively on human food. Although the commonly held view is that man domesticated the feral pigeon, in reality it is far more likely that the pigeon domesticated itself in order to exploit man.

The feral pigeon is now found in every part of the world other than the two polar icecaps and this fact alone demonstrates, quite clearly, how adaptable the species has become and how it rightly deserves its place as one of the most successful species on the planet. The pigeon has interacted with man for thousands of years and the first recorded mention of pigeons in human history was by the ancient Egyptians in the form of hieroglyphics. The feral pigeon is also mentioned in both the old and new testaments and clay images, dating back to 3000 BC, have been found in both Crete and Iran. The feral pigeon was revered by both the ancient Hindus and Moslems and in fact still is today – members of these religious groups have become some of the most prolific pigeon feeders we see in our towns and cities today.

The pigeon is probably best known for its ability to return to its nest from considerable distances and the earliest historical mention of man’s use of the bird for this purpose is in 532 BC by a Greek poet. Thereafter, during Roman times, the bird was widely used as a messenger, to spread the results of the Olympic Games for example and two millennia later, in England, before the days of telegraphs, away supporters at football matches would release pigeons to fly back home to carry news of the score as the game progressed. The earliest large scale network of communication using pigeons was established in Syria and Persia about 5 Century BC and much later, in 12 Century AD, the city of Baghdad and all the main towns and cities in Syria and Egypt were linked by messages carried by pigeons – this was the sole source of communication.

In modern times the feral pigeon has been used to great effect during wartime and in both the first and second World Wars the pigeon saved hundreds of thousands of human lives by carrying messages across enemy lines. Pigeons were carried on ships in convoys and in the event of a U-boat attack a messenger pigeon was released with details of the location of the sinking ship and this quite often lead to the survivors being rescued. There were also mobile pigeon lofts set up behind the trenches in the First World War and pigeons often had to fly through enemy fire and poison gas to get their messages home. The birds played a vital role in intelligence gathering and were used extensively behind enemy lines where the survival rate was only 10%. In the Second World War pigeons were used less due to advances in telecommunications but they relayed invaluable information back to the allies about the German V1 and 2 Rocket sites on the other side of the Channel.

Pigeons have lived alongside man for thousands of years and in the main have been accommodated due to their usefulness either as a food source or as a messenger or even as a war hero. Now, at the beginning of the 21st Century they appear to have outlived their usefulness - we simply don’t need them any more other than for human sports such as pigeon racing and pigeon shooting. Pigeons have gone from hero to zero in the last 60 years and the species is now commonly listed and treated as a pest species worldwide. Due to their origins as a cliff dwelling bird, and due to their close association with man, the pigeon is at home nesting and breeding in our towns and cities on ledges and roofs of buildings. Although a vast majority of the general public enjoys having pigeons around, they are not popular with many property owners due to the fact that roosting pigeons soil buildings with their excrement. As a result, pigeons are slaughtered in vast numbers by pest control companies the world over. Due to the ineffectiveness of lethal controls such as shooting, poisoning and trapping, and the fact that pigeons are highly intelligent and resourceful, we still see large numbers present in most towns and cities today.

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