Some species of birds can create a nuisance, including making a noise, fouling and even causing property damage. However, all wild birds in England are protected by the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, under which it is an offence to kill any bird, (including pigeons), unless a license is held and this is enforced by the police.
If you are having a bird problem, it's worth identifying what sort of bird is causing the problem - it may affect what you can do about it. For example, disturbing certain specially protected birds when they are on or near their nest is illegal, so scaring would not be appropriate. You can look the bird up in a book of birds, an encyclopedia or on the website of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) Birds by name (RSPB website)
Whilst Dudley Council does not take action regarding pigeons and other wild birds, our Pest Control service are happy to offer advice.
Wild Birds (including pigeons) are protected by the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.
If a bird is causing you a nuisance, then choosing the right course of action is essential, as it is illegal to intentionally harm or kill any wild bird species. You are not allowed to take wild birds' eggs and disturbing, damaging or destroying nests is against the law.
If someone is keeping birds and you are concerned about the welfare of the birds, such as whether they are being fed and watered then that is a welfare issue, please let us know using our Animal Welfare Advice and Complaints form.
A broad range of techniques is available to deal with nuisance caused by birds. These include:
noise deterrents or audible scarers, like recordings of the bird’s own alarm calls or loud bangs
using a scarecrow or other visual scarer
using netting or bird-spikes (‘proofing’) to prevent birds landing or accessing areas where they’re known to cause problems
restricting access to food – for example, by cleaning up food spills immediately and keeping rubbish in secure bins
Feeding problem wild birds in public urban areas can make the birds expect food from people and can cause swooping. Swooping can scare some people, and large aggressive species like gulls can actually cause injury.
Feeding can also greatly increase populations of birds like waterfowl and pigeons.
The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) has advice on deterring a number of birds that are seen as pests, including pigeons and gulls.
Not all of the measures you can take are lasting solutions. The law recognises that in some circumstances you may be able to take action that would normally be seen as an offence (this is called ‘licensing’). Licences are only available under certain conditions, the two most relevant to nuisance problems being to protect public health and safety and to prevent serious damage to crops, vegetables and fruit.
Wildlife licences give a person permission to carry out an activity affecting an animal or plant that would otherwise be illegal. Licences are only issued for certain purposes, which are set down in the law, and only where there is a valid justification.