24 Hour Call answering service



24 Hour Call answering service


The bird they call the flying rat

The bird they call the flying rat

Feral pigeons are also known as city doves or street pigeons, they are descents of the wild rock doves. Many people appropriately call them rats of the sky as they can carry more diseases than rats therefore they are a serious risk to health. Examples of bacteria associated with pigeons are aspergillosis, cryptococcosis, histoplasmosis, listeriosis, psittacosis and salmonella.

Pigeons carry more diseases than rats


Bird fouling or guano contains various bacteria and the spores from the bacteria can become airborne. When these spores are breathed in they can be extremely hazardous.

In January 2019, the cryptococcosis fungal infection caused by pigeon droppings in a machine room was a contributing factor to the deaths of two patients at a Glasgow hospital. More can be read on this story here:

People with compromised immune systems are particularly at risk as once the bacteria enters the bloodstream it can cause lung infections, sepsis, meningitis, encephalitis and sometimes even lifelong illness or death.

In 2017 the biggest listeriosis outbreak in the world occurred in South Africa when 1,065 cases of listeriosis were confirmed and 218 deaths were caused by contaminated food originating in a factory owned by South Africa’s largest food company Tiger Brands.  While it is unsure where the listeriosis originated, it is an example of the destruction a disease carried by birds can cause.

Bird control is not only necessary in order to keep our environments healthy and to prevent disease, but also to prevent secondary infestations such as rodents (which also carry diseases), maggots, flies and bird fleas.

Birds thrive in an urban environment and only require the smallest amount of shelter on buildings. All birds can cause damage to buildings through nesting activity and by eroding surfaces with their faeces which contains uric acid, eventually, this causes water ingress to buildings. Solar Panels are also at risk of damage as they are often used by pigeons and seagulls for shelter. Fouling on the surface also reduces their effectiveness

Specialist Work

Removal of bird fouling and bird control is dangerous work and needs to be undertaken with specialist respiratory masks, suits and equipment. It is more often than not carried out while working at height. It is for these reasons that this work should only be executed by a professional and experienced pest control company like PGH Pest Control & Prevention.

Bird Control

Once clean-up has been done, bird control with products such as bird spikes, wires, Avishock™ and bird netting can be extremely effective. At least one of these products will solve your bird-related issues.

Leaving pest birds can cause:

  • Damage to buildings

  • Insect Infestations – like bird fleas

  • Loss of customers for commercial premises

  • Diseases which affect humans such as, Aspergillosis, Cryptococcosis, Histoplasmosis and Listeriosis

  • Risk of hazards such as slipping and tripping on fouling


There is much change in legislation with regards to birds. On the 23rd of April, Natural England revoked 3 licenses surrounding the removal or killing of bird to prevent damage or disease, preserve public health or public safety and to conserve wild birds, flora or fauna. It is better to consult a professional who can advise you on the best course of action and to ensure you are not breaking the law.

If you have any questions or concerns with regards to a bird issue – please contact us on 01483 273 478


Choose a topic below for a range of articles, images and videos on all things relating to pest control and prevention and of course PGH Pest Prevention.