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How to keep pigeons off your roof

Pigeons are a problem for many property and business owners. Getting rid of them isn’t up to the city, and not all landlords will take care of them, either. Whether you rent, lease, or own a property, too many pigeons are an issue.

Some believe killing pigeons is the best way to eliminate these pests and deter further nesting, but that’s not necessarily true. Here’s a list of some problems that come with nesting pigeons on your roof:

  • Disease
  • Food contamination
  • Slip and fall risk
  • Corrosive damage
  • Blocked gutters and drainage
  • Fire risk

If you don’t know how to get rid of pigeons on a roof (and you want them to stay gone), read on to learn everything you need to know. There’s plenty you can do on your own before hiring an exterminator.

How do I stop pigeons nesting on my roof?

Deterrents are a smart way to stop pigeons nesting on a roof. However, they’re not a foolproof method, especially depending on how well and thoroughly you apply them. Let’s look at the pros and cons of different deterrents below. Some of these are great immediate solutions, while others serve a better, long-term purpose.


Effigy deterrents may resemble an owl or snake or some other natural predator of the pigeon. These are excellent for immediate use. They’re affordable and widely available for purchase from many retailers. They’re a good short-term solution, but pigeons will acclimate to effigies over time, which means they’re a finite solution.

Sonic emitters

Another short-term solution that works well is sonic and ultrasonic emitters. These deterrents produce a sound that radiates over larger areas where exclusion isn’t a choice.

Propane cannons

Using propane cannons is an option for areas with many open airspaces, such as outside urban areas. This is also an immediate solution, as it directly irritates the birds. They will acclimate to this deterrent, too, which is why it’s not a permanent solution.

Reflections and direct light

One long-term deterrent for keeping pigeons off your roof is to use reflected or direct light sources. These have long-lasting power, depending on what you use to generate and reflect light. The biggest downside is the cost of materials you purchase for this type of deterrent.

Pigeons on a roof next to a coop
Image used with permission by copyright holder

How do I permanently get rid of pigeons?

The short-term remedies mentioned above are great immediate solutions. If you’re interested in longer, more effective repellants, the following industrial solutions are recommendations.


A standard solution for how to get rid of pigeons on rooftops includes the use of spikes. You’ve likely seen these on ledges and rooftops over the years. These repellents are ideal for rails and common perching areas for pigeons. Spikes are an inexpensive solution for businesses and property owners alike. Quickly installed, these are highly effective and move birds away from your property.

Gels and pastes

Gels and pastes are an inexpensive deterrent but require constant reapplication. This solution is best placed in common perching areas, but these come with a significant downside: They can kill smaller birds that land on gel or paste. Even if you’re not an animal rights activist, this is still something to consider.

Fogs and vapors

Fogs and vapors are a permanent solution because they kill pigeons. If you have an actual infestation, this may be your only option. The downside is that is only ideal for the interior of large structures. The upside is that it will permanently stop a local pigeon population from landing on your roof anytime soon.


The best solution for deterring pigeons overall is netting. It forms a physical boundary that stops pigeons from nesting on a roof, balcony, ledge, or another perching area. It can also seal off nesting areas, preventing pigeons from coming around. It’s more discrete than spikes, less problematic than pastes or gels, and isn’t an eyesore.

Its overall effectiveness outweighs the one downside, which is that it’s a time-consuming task to hang and maintain netting. Depending on the weather and your ability to maintain this deterrent, you’ll find this the best solution overall.

Closing thoughts on getting rid of pigeons on your roof

Your pigeon problem should be a thing of the past if you implement any of these repellent solutions. Take the time for some short-term solutions, but don’t be afraid to invest your time in setting up long-term pigeon repellents, too.

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Amanda Hoyer
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Degreed in Psychology and English, Amanda fell into copywriting and blogging when she discovered an innate gift for narrative…
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