Pigeons have been living alongside humans for thousands of years, and have adapted their lifestyle to urban living very successfully. In their natural habitat, they would nest on the sides of tall rocky cliffs. Balconies and ledges on apartment buildings are very similar, so pigeons often choose to nest in these familiar places.
What to do if pigeons are nesting on the balcony
Be patient with a family of pigeons
If the babies have already hatched, really the only thing you can do is wait for them to grow up and fly away. Don’t worry — baby pigeons grow up very quickly! The time between when they hatch from the egg to when they fly away from their nest is usually less than 4 weeks. Once they leave, the babies don’t come back to the nest again.
The parents may try to start another nest in the same spot, even before the first babies have grown up and flown off. Read on to find out how to keep them from nesting on your balcony in the future.
Can’t I just move the nest?
No. Pigeons are very location-specific when it comes to their nest site. Moving the nest over even a few feet — say to a neighbouring balcony — can cause the parents to abandon the nest.
Baby pigeons NEED their parents — they cannot survive without them. Their parents feed them, keep them warm, and even after they’ve left the nest mom and dad show them how to fly, escape from predators, and integrate with the flock.
If you take the babies off of your balcony and move them, even if it’s to a “nice” spot like the local park, they will die. The best thing to do is to let the parents raise this one set of babies. It will take less than a month, they grow up so fast. Once the babies have flown away, you can prevent the pigeons from nesting again in the future.
Keep things tidy
Clean up or put away any things you might be storing on your balcony that are providing shelter or hiding spots for the pigeons to nest. Sweep away any feces or nesting material. It’s fine to do this cleaning while the babies are still on the balcony, just stay away from the exact spot the nest is in.
Remember, the parent pigeons may lay a new set of eggs before the first babies are grown up and gone. You will have to be diligent and go outside every day to sweep away any fresh nesting material. Eventually, the pigeons will get the message that your balcony is not a good place to nest, and they’ll go elsewhere.
What if they lay another set of eggs?
If they do lay a new set of eggs, provided you know that they were laid less than a week ago, it’s fine to dispose of them. We recommend taking them to the local park and hiding them under a bush – that way they can go back to being a part of nature.
If there is a new set of eggs and you’re not sure when they were laid, or you know they’re over two weeks old, we recommend leaving them be and letting the parents raise that brood. Pigeons usually incubate their eggs for about 3 weeks, and then the babies take about 4 weeks to grow up after hatching.