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Posts Tagged ‘balcony’

rock dove

What do you do when a dove decides to build her nest on your balcony?  Do you:

a.  Bring out the Fantastick and put a sparkle on the rails and plastic chairs

b.  Roll out the red carpet for pigeons and offer seed and bread crumbs, or

c.  Do nothing

Rock Doves, or pigeons as they’re more commonly known, are found in both the city and the country.  They are non-natives, introduced from Europe.  A flock of them used to hang out in my neighborhood years ago.  I’d often see them sitting on the gravel road or perched on a roof together. 

Though their iridescent feathers are attractive, pigeons are usually considered pests and often called ‘flying rats.’  Their droppings are highly acidic and when dried, contribute to the rusting of balcony rails and the steel girders on bridges.   

My sister, a seventh floor apartment dweller, found this loosely made nest one day in a flower pot she was planning to throw out…

dove eggs

By the time she had an opportunity to address the problem, the situation had advanced…

dove chicks

Her desire to throw out the container fizzled once she saw the chicks.  Though she had never fed birds on her balcony in the past, she wondered if she should start.  Certainly they’d be hungry.

Rock Dove chicks, like all baby birds, are carnivores.  They do not eat seed.  Also, if she was to start putting out food, she would be encouraging other pigeons to come and feed on her balcony.  I suggested that the most she do is offer some water in a shallow dish.  The mother, a seed eater, requires water to properly digest her food.

Once the chicks have matured and flown away, my sister can thoroughly clean the area if she doesn’t want a recurrence of the same event.  She’s noticed that using Fantastick spray on surfaces has discouraged pigeons from hanging out on her balcony in the past. A non-chemical alternative would be to use metal wires or spikes along the balcony rail, which would prevent the birds from roosting.

Photo credits:  Roxanne Kneer

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