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Dan Frankian is an accomplished falconer, using his skills to provide a natural alternative to chemical and product driven Bird, Animal, and Pest Control in the Toronto and Golden Horseshoe Area... Read more »

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pigeons health risks

Can you get sick from pigeons?

Pigeons in general do carry a lot of disease but most are not transferrable to humans. The one way humans can contract diseases from pigeons is by exposure to their droppings. You do not need to be in direct contact with pigeon droppings to contract the diseases it carries; these diseases can become airborne and enter your system unknowingly. With enough exposure you may begin to experience flu like symptoms or lung disease.

For those who have had minimal exposure and are in good health, it is unlikely to experience any symptoms at all from these diseases. The majority of people who have contracted diseases from pigeon droppings have recovered with no medical intervention, and if needed there are medications that can combat these diseases. If you have concerns that you have contracted one of these diseases and are experiencing severe symptoms you should go to your nearest emergency room. If your symptoms seem quite mild, you will likely recover on your own.

Can pigeon diseases kill you?

Yes pigeon diseases can kill you, while it is unlikely. Pigeon dropping related diseases can cause problems like pneumonia and even meningitis in the most extreme cases. That being said, the best way to avoid contracting pigeon-related diseases is to stay away from their droppings.

In big cities like Toronto, there are pigeons everywhere, and their droppings are also everywhere. But keep in mind that these small amounts are unlikely to make you ill if you are just walking by. On the other hand, if you see areas with large amounts of pigeon droppings in public, you should avoid these areas altogether. If you are a property owner and have large amounts of pigeon droppings on your property, you may require professional intervention including pigeon trapping and pigeon poop clean up which hawkeye can provide. 

Why are pigeons harmful?

Pigeons themselves are not harmful in the sense that it is unlikely to get attacked by a pigeon, but their poop can be harmful both to your health and property. Pigeon poop contains diseases that can become airborne and infect humans unknowingly. Although the symptoms from these diseases are mostly quite mild, they can become severe and require medical intervention.

Pigeons are also harmful to your property. Pigeon droppings contain uric acid which can deteriorate roofing materials and other surfaces over time as they are highly corrosive. Many commercial and residential properties in Toronto suffer from property damage from pigeon droppings.

There are many solutions available when it comes to dealing with pigeons. Hawkeye offers cleaning, exclusion, and trapping of pigeons. Solutions are unique to each property and depend on many factors including accessibility, the number of pigeons, and their activities (perching or nesting).

Is pigeon poop harmful to humans?

Yes pigeon poop can be harmful to humans. Pigeon poop can cause diseases in humans through the inhalation of airborne particles. Many people who contract these diseases do not experience symptoms, but those that do are usually immunocompromised individuals. It is best to avoid contact with pigeon poop and if you have a large amount of pigeon poop on your property / balcony you should avoid the surrounding area until it can be properly cleaned.

Cleaning pigeon poop is not a fun activity, and many people want to leave the work to the professionals. If you are to clean up pigeon poop on your own there are certain precautions you should take to protect your health. Wearing gloves, a face mask, and safety glasses are the bare minimum in terms of protection from harmful diseases; depending on the extent of the mess you may require a ventilated mask.

Can you get sick from pigeon poop?

 The short answer is yes, but here are the facts. The four main diseases to be worried about in terms of pigeons are Salmonellosis, Psittacosis, Histoplasmosis, and Cryptococcosis. All of these diseases are contracted through the inhalation of dried pigeon droppings. Although most cases are mild, it is possible to experience serious illness and it is always advised to take extreme caution and use the proper protective equipment when working with or cleaning up pigeon droppings.

Some are at a higher risk than others for contracting these diseases including individuals who have long term exposure, fail to wear protective equipment while cleaning, and those who have a compromised immune system. Although these people are at a higher risk to contract these diseases, many people who are not immunocompromised do not experience any symptoms at all.

What diseases are caused by pigeon droppings?

There are many different diseases to be worried about in terms of pigeons including Salmonellosis, Psittacosis, Histoplasmosis, and Cryptococcosis. These diseases can pose serious health risks and in rare cases can be fatal although many cases can be solved without medical intervention.

Salmonellosis is caused by Salmonella bacteria. This disease, as with all others listed above, is contracted by the inhalation of airborne particles. This bacteria is usually the cause of food poisoning and causes the same symptoms when contracted through pigeon droppings. Usually the onset of these symptoms is within 24-48 hours and surpasses entirely within 7 days with no medical intervention.

Psittacosis also known as parrot fever is caused by a bacteria, Chlamydia psittaci. Those exposed to this disease will experience symptoms (if any) within a couple weeks that resemble that of the flu. A simple blood test is able to identify the presence of this bacteria so if you are concerned, there is an easy way to see if you have contracted this disease.

Histoplasmosis is caused by a fungus named Histoplasma. This fungus lives in pigeon droppings and soil and when inhaled can pose health risks. Most cases show no signs or symptoms when infected, but those with existing conditions like emphysema can develop a chronic disease which exhibits symptoms similar to tuberculosis.

Cryptococcosis is also caused by a fungus, except this particular fungus is called Cryptococcosis neoformans. This is the most dangerous of all the diseases listed as this infection has the capacity to move from your lungs to your brain, and throughout your entire body. It is not isolated to your respiratory or digestive systems. In the majority of cases, this disease only causes infection in the lungs leaving patients with little to no symptoms, but when left untreated can lead to meningitis. The onset of this disease will happen within two weeks of exposure 

What are the signs and symptoms of Histoplasmosis?

 Histoplasmosis is a fungal disease that has a wide range of symptoms ranging from no symptoms at all to chronic histoplasmosis (similar to tuberculosis) or even death in extreme cases. Signs to look out for include dry cough, chest pain, fever, chills, headache, fatigue, and joint pain.

Most cases of Histoplasmosis leave those infected experiencing little to no symptoms. Although unfortunately, those with existing lung conditions are at higher risk for developing chronic histoplasmosis. This chronic condition causes bloody cough and symptoms of tuberculosis including chest pain, weakness, chills, fever, weight loss, and fatigue.

Although unlikely, it is possible for this disease to remain dormant in your body for years producing no symptoms until far down the road from the point of exposure so always ensure you protect yourself with the proper protective equipment when dealing around pigeon droppings.

What are the signs and symptoms of Psittacosis?

 Psittacosis is a bacterial disease that has a range of symptoms that are mostly mild but can become severe if prolonged symptoms are left untreated. Mild symptoms include muscle pains, cough, chills, headache, and fever. More severe symptoms include chest pain, pneumonia, and difficulty breathing.

Although this disease is very rare in humans, it can become quite serious once infected so be sure to use the proper precautions when you are cleaning or in the presence of pigeon poop. Proper protective equipment including gloves, mask, and googles should be warn whenever in contact or in the vicinity of large amounts of pigeon droppings. 

How do you clean pigeon droppings?

 When cleaning pigeon droppings the most important thing is protection from potential diseases. Wearing a mask, gloves, and googles / safety glasses is recommended at all times. This personal protective equipment with protect you from breathing in airborne particles and will keep your hands clean to avoid spreading germs to other locations.

To start, the bulk of the pigeon droppings should be swept or shovelled into double bags and disposed of. If possible, steam cleaning is the most effective solution to clean and sanitize areas affected by pigeon poop. In some cases pressure washing may be used instead. If there is no access to a water attachment or you are on a balcony with no drainage, this solution is not feasible and hand tools must be used instead. Hand tools include brushes and scrapers and will require the use of a diluted bleach or disinfectant to properly clean and sanitize the area. Using hand tools on porous materials can be difficult and may require using boiling water to properly disinfect the area. Hawkeye offers cleaning services for those who do not want to risk cleaning by themselves and more information can be found at hawkeye.ca.

How do I get rid of pigeon poop on my balcony?

Balconies are the perfect place for pigeons to perch, nest, and poop. The mess that these birds make can render your balcony unusable. Luckily there are solutions available to solve these problems. Hawkeye offers balcony netting and clean up to keep the pigeons off your balcony for good.

Balcony netting is designed to keep pigeons from perching on your balcony and accessing your balcony all together. This netting is made of a black 2 inch heavy duty, polyethylene, 4 strand, knotted twine. This netting comes with a 10 year warranty on materials and workmanship and is the perfect way to keep pigeons off your balcony permanently.

In terms of clean up, different tools can be used depending on accessibility and practicality.  Most balconies do not provide access to use a pressure washer or steam cleaner, which leaves only hand tools to perform clean up. Cleaning up the bulk of poop and nesting material is done using brooms and shovels. Deep cleaning is done using brushes and scrapers. Most surfaces will allow us to use a diluted bleach solution which will help to sanitize and clean the surfaces contaminated with droppings. When only hand tools are used, if available, we may require the customer to provide us with some boiling water to assist in stubborn clean ups.

How much does it cost to remove a pigeon?

 When it comes to removing pigeons from your property Hawkeye has many solutions including trapping, excluding, and cleaning. What is required for your property can be determined by one of our Hawkeye technicians during an initial inspection and a quote and recommendation will be made for your specific situation.

Pigeon trapping includes the live trapping of pigeons and humane euthanizing of caught pigeons as to permanently remove the nuisance birds from your property. Depending on the amount of pigeons frequently seen on your property a decision will be made between the customer and the technician as to how many traps should be installed on site. To install one trap the cost is $599 + tax per month with a three month minimum. For each additional trap there is a fee of $199 + tax per month.

Pigeon poop cleaning is quoted based on two different things; types of tools used (power vs hand tools) and how long it will take for us to clean. In general the minimum cost for clean up is $350 + tax for two hours MAXIMUM with each additional hour being charged at $175 + tax. Large jobs may be quoted by the day instead.

Balcony netting is the main form of exclusion used for residential customers in condo or apartment buildings dealing with pigeon problems. The cost for balcony netting ranges depending on the size of the balcony, starting at $365 for balconies between 0-10 ft.

We also offer other exclusion services including bird spikes, flex track, bird slide, bird wire, and netting for areas other than balconies. All of these exclusion methods can be used to prevent pigeons from perching or nesting in problem areas around your property. These products range greatly in price and the prices are determined based on the size of project, equipment required, man power required, and materials required. These projects can range from a few hundred dollars up to hundreds of thousands of dollars and will be quoted individually on a case to case basis. To obtain a quote or to learn more about the products we offer please visit our website at hawkeye.ca or contact us at 416-HAWKEYE.


Now with 7 Locations (6 In Canada and 1 in the U.S), we are ready to serve you better in Acton, Toronto, Oshawa, Bowmanville, two locations in Mississauga and West Palm Beach in Florida.
Contact us today or Email us at [email protected] if you need help with pest bird control and/or pest bird removal.

Pest Birds like Cormorants, Crows, Ducks, Doves, Geese, Grackels, Seagulls, Pigeons, Robins, Sparrows and Starlings.


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