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Animal Services - Pigeons and Waterfowl

PIGEONS AND WATERFOWL
Birds are often involved in urban conflicts within our City. These conflicts range from nesting problems to destruction of property and gardens. It is important to remember that many migratory birds are protected by Federal Law and severe penalties can be imposed upon anyone found deliberately causing injury or distress to many species of birds. Therefore, we hope to address common bird problems with important preventative information and humane deterrent options.
PIGEONS PROBLEMS
Nesting and perching on balconies and roof tops. Depositing feces causing unsanitary and unsightly problems. Respiratory infections such as histoplasmosis caused by inhalation of airborne spores from feces.
PIGEON FACTS
It takes 18 - 20 days for eggs to incubate and hatch, it takes four to six weeks for young pigeons to fledge and leave the nest. Pigeons typically have two babies per brood. Pigeons can have several broods per year. Pigeons look for sheltered, raised, flat surfaces to nest. Pigeons often return to the same area to raise another brood. Pigeons do not always construct an actual nest. Pigeon populations depend directly on food, water and nesting availability. Therefore, prevention is considered the only long term solution. It is currently legal to keep domestic pigeons in Mississauga, however, certain restrictions apply.
PREVENTION
Do not feed birds! Store garbage indoors in sealed metal containers. Keep balcony clear of debris, clutter and furniture. Encourage neighbours to do the same. Thoroughly check balcony daily for signs of nesting material, remove nesting material immediately and daily if necessary. When on vacation or away for any length of time have a friend or neighbour thoroughly check balcony daily. Alert building management to problems or potential problems, have management distribute or post preventative information. Most birds can set up house within a day or two and lay eggs immediately. In the case of feral pigeons eggs and nest can be removed lawfully. Parents and or young often return to set up house in the same area. Use physical barriers such as blinds or netting, and make sure birds cannot become entangled. Secure tin flashing to balcony rail or ledges at a 45 degree angle to prevent perching. Install several strands of filament line two inches above ledges to prevent perching. A professional is required to install any type of commercial porcupine wire. Hang strips of fabric, balloons or other devices that move in the wind to discourage birds. MAKE SURE ANY INSTALLED DETERRENT IS SECURED PROPERLY TO ENSURE PUBLIC SAFETY. It is important to note that any visual deterrents are eventually regarded as non-threatening by any bird after a period of time, move scarecrow objects regularly. Odour deterrents are not very effective for birds. Noise deterrents may be illegal if they disturb neighbours.
CONTROL
Any type of pigeon removal or control must be done by a professional company. Many methods are used such as capture and relocation, predation with falcons and exclusion. It is important to note that all of these methods are only successful if preventative measures are implemented immediately afterwards. Placing poison for pigeons is illegal due to the risk of affecting non-target species such as the endangered Peregrine Falcon.
HOW CAN I LIVE WITH THIS MESS FOR FOUR TO SIX WEEKS?
When babies are present and you are faced with the challenge of waiting until they fledge you can reduce the mess by making a temporary nest for the young. Make or find a container that is about four inches deep that will comfortably accommodate two large babies. Place material inside so the babies can defecate over the side of the container. Make sure material will not unravel or entangle babies. Place newspaper beneath this nest and change every few days.
CLEAN UP
When cleaning up feces and nesting material wear disposable plastic latex gloves and paper surgical mask. Although direct contact with material is not considered risky, ingestion or inhalation of any material can pose health risks to humans. Try to avoid creating or inhaling dust by sweeping or scraping. Clean and sanitize the area with water and an all-purpose disinfectant.
GEESE
Geese have become a problem by over-grazing and fouling of grassland on public and private property. During their summer moult geese are unable to fly often causing more damage from trampling of plants and leaving droppings. The City has made several attempts at relocation of these birds, however these attempts proved unsuccessful as more geese replace these birds every year. The only way to prevent this problem is long term. Do not feed the geese! Mississauga has made it illegal to feed the geese within the municipality.
DETERRENTS
A combination of frightening devices can be employed to combat the problem. Scarecrows strategically placed and moved every so often. Aluminum pie plates staked around the lawn, blowing in the wind. Balloons with helium and anchor them with 50 to 75 pound monofilament line. Flags made of garbage bags on posts may be effective. Dogs, free ranging dogs, confined to property will discourage waterfowl. Motions sensor sprinklers strategically placed. Allowing grass to grow longer may discourage geese, however check with the municipality regarding current regulations on property standards. Hire a professional company to combat the problem.
THE LAW
Waterfowl and their nesting sites are protected by Federal Law. It is illegal to destroy or move a nest or harm the birds in any way.
DUCKS
Ducks also cause a variety of problems such as nesting beneath shrubs and swimming in the neighbourhood pool.
NESTING
The best defence is prevention! Target the early spring months with a diligent search of shrub areas for nesting material. You may have to scare off the female and check the nest for eggs. A duck will lay 5 - 15 eggs over a 5 - 15 day period, one egg a day. The incubation period is approximately 26 to 29 days and the babies hatch one or two per day. After the entire brood has hatched the female will walk them to her usual summer site utilizing various swimming pools on the way.
DUCKS IN THE POOL
Adult ducks must be discouraged with pool activity, ie: human use of pool, or solar blankets when not in use. A motorized boat or toy can also be used to annoy the birds and encourage them to leave the pool. NOTE: Most young ducklings are unable to climb out of a swimming pool and require assistance, without this assistance the young will drown. If you attempt a rescue you must have a solid escape proof box, (not a cage) and extract the babies one by one, place them inside the box. The mother usually takes off temporarily but she will return. Once the mother returns tip the box and release the young they will naturally follow the mother. Try to make sure they are not directed to a roadway, a yard with a dog or back into the pool area.
THE LAW
Waterfowl and their nesting sites are protected by Federal Law. It is illegal to destroy or move the nest or harm the birds in any way. If you find a nesting duck with eggs you will have to wait until the eggs hatch and all of the young leave the nest.
FISH EATING BIRDS
(HERONS, GULLS, DIVING DUCKS, CORMORANTS, OSPREYS)
Urban landscaping and the increased popularity of stocked ponds has led to an urban phenomenon, largely reclusive type birds fishing right in our own backyards. This may prove exciting for avid bird watchers but is often a nuisance to those who have their pond stocked with prize koi.
DETERRENTS
Scare techniques should be employed before exclusion. Herons are solitary birds, use a replica scarecrow heron in your pond. Move on occasion. Use a motion sensor sprinkler to target the pond area. This will work for nighttime visitors too. Physical barriers such as bird netting. Monofilament line suspended over pond every foot.
WHEN TO CONTACT THE SHELTER?
If you need advice concerning wildlife within the City of Mississauga, or when you observe an injured, orphaned or sick animal, wild or domestic. If you require follow-up information pertaining to a wildlife problem, contact a Wildlife Representative at 905-896-5000 during office hours or email our Education Officer. For an emergency call 905-896-5858 or 905-615-3000 after hours.
THESE BIRDS ARE ALSO PROTECTED BY FEDERAL LAW AND SOME SPECIES ARE ENDANGERED.
For further information, please contact The Canadian Wildlife Service.






Contact:
Education Department
905-896-5000
education.animalservices@mississauga.ca


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