Grandpa Webb's blog

Monday, 18 February 2013

The pigeon has landed

Find out more about Grandpa WebbLast summer, I decided to move the garden swing to a new place. Swings encourage a bald patch in the grass where the grandchildren scrape their feet and get on and get off and some half-hearted turfing hadn’t cured the problem.

The swing was moved, the grass repaired and all was well. That is until my granddaughter asked for a push on the repositioned swing. “Oh look - bird poo!” she shrieked as we approached.

Both swing seats were spattered with bird droppings. It hadn’t happened before, but in its new position the swing was apparently handily placed as a lay-by for birds in need of a comfort break.

Careful observation showed that a number of large, fat, pigeons were the main culprits. In the evening they would perch on the crossbar above the swings, have a bit of a natter with their friends, and relieve themselves on the swings below.

Something had to be done before we ran out of wet-wipes. I consulted Google on how to get rid of pigeons, and discovered all manner of nasty spiky commercial things which discourage the birds from landing on buildings.

Grandma was not keen. A dead pigeon impaled on a spike above a child’s swing would probably make the Daily Mail. I argued that pigeons were not stupid and they would see the spikes before they put down their undercarriage. Grandma said there only needed to be one daft pigeon that wasn’t looking where it was going and the kids would never use the swing again.

Pigeon deterrent. Not so lethal as spikes, but it worksSo here I am with some nails, some garden wire and a length of chicken wire, up a ladder contemplating the upper surface of the slightly soiled crossbar of the swing. Eventually I build a structure that will just about support a sparrow, but not a pigeon. The roosting stops. The swing seats remain clean. Mission accomplished.

The pigeons now perch on the garden fence – which is fine. Occasionally one flutters down and poos in the bird bath – just to let me know they haven’t forgotten – or forgiven.     

If you want to make something similar, the trick is to build something that is wobbly enough to discourage a landing pigeon, but not weak enough to fall off. My device has four equally-spaced 4 in nails, each hammered in about one inch, with a length of garden wire stretched across the top. On this ‘clothes line’ is draped the chicken wire, fixed with bits of twisted wire at the top and small nails at the bottom. I’ve not patented the design, so feel free to use it. 

Got a question for Grandpa Webb? Send him an email.

Go back