From Dave Kanellis
So here you are about to read a bunch of info about how we operate and why we are the best choice for your pigeon problem. You can go to just about any reputable pigeon control company’s website and see that we all say a lot of the same things. Well, maybe jumbled up and flipped around, but approximately the same nuts and bolts are there.
Some people have a specialty in writing with lots of fancy words and coined phrases, but I will be outright honest with you—that’s not me. I’m very skilled at many other things, including handling pigeon problems because of over three decades of experience learning about animal behavior and being both a wild animal trainer and educator. Resolving pigeon problems comes completely natural to me.
Thus, the business of pigeon control basically picked me and not me it. The only aspect I admittedly lack is that I’m not so good at word bling. (The only reason there are even periods and commas on this page is that my better half got ahold of it before publishing!) Anyway, just like a magician never tells exactly how his best tricks are done, understand that neither can we.
When you get to know us, you will be able to trust that we know what we’re doing. But sure, I’m glad to share my take on commonly known industry practices and store-bought DIY products, and of course, I will give you a break down of what you can expect from our service; I just can’t give away all of our secrets at once! Who we are at first glance: When Airborne Wildlife Control Service shows up on your property we will be in uniform and clearly marked vehicles for clear visibility and safety.
You might ask, “Hey, are you with Animal Control?” Well, we aren’t, because we are a private contractor, but we do recognize the importance of an official-looking uniform that inspires trust in the public. We know that first impressions and a professional appearance matter. People want to feel safe, and men (and women) in uniform definitely inspire confidence in a given situation. We service many casino properties, HOAs, government buildings, and apartment complexes, with many security cameras and on-site roving security officers.
We operate in the nooks and crannies of properties, in parking structures, on rooftops, backs of buildings, loading docks, and at all times of the day from early morning hours to the middle of the night. We definitely could look suspicious if we were wearing anything else, but these concerns are quickly solved and peoples’ minds put at ease by being identifiable at a glance.
This allows us to do our job seamlessly, efficiently, and safely without any questions or distractions from people wondering what’s going on and who we are. They can easily identify us as “Pigeon Control” based on how we and our vehicles look. Nevada Pigeon Control’s founder, Nephi Oliva, understood and designed our uniform a decade ago and it has proven to be a brilliant solution to ease any confusion.
In fact, it works so well that there are now copycat startups right in our backyard imitating our look even down to the exact brand of pants we wear. But just because they look like us—it’s said imitation is a form of flattery—no copycat impostor can imitate the decades of experience we have in understanding this business. I will most likely be the one to personally assess your property, your individual and particular circumstances, and tailor for you a customized plan utilizing a combination of best-practice options from industry standard to proprietary methods.
I will give you a fair and reasonable bid and enough information to make an informed decision so that we can get to business and start taking care of your pigeon problem right away. Fun fact: Many contracts we service started out with dozens (sometimes hundreds) of feral pigeons infesting the property but over time we rarely have more than just a few pass quickly through in a given day. Properties that discontinue service often experience a quick relapse as the birds from neighboring properties recognize that the danger of our presence is missing!
The Honest Truth:
There is no instant or quick fix for a feral pigeon problem. Pigeons are creatures of habit and it takes a lot to make them change their daily routines. My experience has proven that you have to think of pigeons in the city like a storm cloud spreading out and covering the entire sky. By being physically present on your property on a regular basis we will soon poke a hole in the cloud and create sunny skies above your property.
Without the weekly routine, the cloud that has been condensed around your property will quickly fill back into the empty space and you will have pigeons move back in where you don’t want them. I’m going out on a limb here giving away our exact strategy—the three A’s: Assess: We assess the property’s environment every time we’re on site and identify pigeon attractants. Approach: We formulate a plan of approach that is individualized for your property and adjusted as needed.
I’m going out on a limb here giving away our exact strategy
the three A’s:
We assess the property’s environment every time we’re on site and identify pigeon attractants.
We formulate a plan of approach that is individualized for your property and adjusted as needed.
We address the problem on a regular basis by coming to your property often to disrupt your pigeons’ regular daily pattern (ideally by permanently removing them). As the saying goes, “Rinse and repeat!” We are constantly re-assessing, modifying our approach, and routinely addressing existing and new problem areas as needed.
Because pigeons have wings, there will constantly be new birds passing by and eyeing your property for food, water, shelter, and safety. Pigeons are remarkably adaptive and pretty darn smart, but rest assured, we are smarter. We know that all they need to thrive and reproduce at maximum efficiency is food, water, shelter, and safety. Not all properties present all four of these elements, but if they do, they must have a huge pigeon problem.
Luckily, pigeons value safety above all else, and that’s the thing we capitalize on. If your property has fountains, grass seeds, food waste, and protected ledges to roost on, the only thing that can be done is to make your property unsafe. We can’t tell your lawn maintenance people to stop seeding the grass; we can’t tell people to cover their swimming pools when not in use; we don’t want to tell you to install unsightly exclusions and spikes.
Some of the methods to make your property feel unsafe to pigeons are listed below, but it is really our physical presence on your property that makes the most difference. Again, my observation about thinking of pigeons as a storm cloud spreading out and covering the entire sky includes the fact that if you stop your pigeon control efforts then the sunny sky above will quickly turn grey again.
Pigeons are prolific breeders that will reproduce all year ‘round here in Las Vegas due to the winter weather typically being mild enough for the eggs and chicks to survive, and due to the fact that they have wings and newly paired birds are constantly looking for a place to call home. Realistically, it’s nearly impossible to pigeon-proof a building no matter how many nets, spikes, flashers, noise-makers, or plastic owls you install.
The only way to solve a pigeon problem is to have a maintenance plan to keep them hazed, harassed, and on the move before they can establish a routine that involves hanging out on your property. Like needing a gardener to mow and seed a lawn or like a pool guy skimming leaves and adjusting pH, true pigeon control requires regular services and needs to be a long-term effort. There is no good “one and done” method, yet most pigeon control companies operate that way because they don’t understand pigeons the way we do.
The first thing we will do is seek out and remove all of what we call “vested” birds that are roosting, breeding, and otherwise established on your property. While that just opens up vacancies for potential new arrivals passing through, we will have removed the core of your problem. The vested birds are what cause the bulk of unsightly droppings, building finish damage, and a majority of the fecal matter buildup creating the possible health risks to your customers and/or residents. This first step is sometimes other businesses’ only step!
But we know that once the vested birds are taken care of the job isn’t nearly over. From here we can move on to the weekly maintenance work of making your property continuously less desirable to new arrivals. Since they are not yet “vested” in your property it is easier to deter new feral pigeons from taking up residence by being physically present on your property ourselves and either scaring them off or by permanently removing them as they arrive.
Once a property is cleared of vested birds it can be cleaned, nests removed, ledges decontaminated, and exclusions custom made to block out areas that pigeons like to roost or breed in. Exclusions will help deter new arrivals along with our weekly maintenance routine, although they can sometimes disrupt your building’s aesthetic. With our regular maintenance plan, exclusions may not be necessary. Our first few visits can get previously infested areas looking nice again and ready for new paint if the building is due for exterior upgrades.
We are a control service primarily and not a clean-up and exclusions contractor, but we can consult and possibly subcontract that work out and manage the job if the contractor can meet our high standards. Many contractors just send some low dollar an hour guy out with a ladder and power washer, but we are 100% serious about safety and if we are responsible for the job we will make sure any overhead work is done with OSHA-approved equipment and protocols and that the contractor has the appropriate liability insurance required in case of an emergency.
Most of our clients have their own insurance restrictions on who has authorization to access their roof tops because of liability and warranty reasons. Because of this, cleanups and exclusions will require some coordination with other specialized professionals. We specialize almost exclusively in pigeon control with minimal need for all the extra costly, and intrusive applications on the market that most companies recommend and sell, like pigeon spikes, plastic owls, etc.
Instead, we can control your pigeon problem with regular weekly maintenance that is affordable and maintains the aesthetic appearance of your property. FYI, exterior upgrades such as painting and remolding require that all spikes, exclusions, and other pigeon control investments be removed. Reinstalling them again is costly and unsightly, and with our service, unnecessary, too!
Tools of Our Trade:
Certificate of Compliance
Once you sign up with Airborne Wildlife Control Service we will issue you a Certificate of Compliance to share with county health inspectors, insurance adjusters, or post for the public to see to prove that you are actively addressing and/or preventing a feral pigeon problem on your property. This certification will tell people that your property is being protected from damaging fecal matter and all of the possible health risks that come along
This is one of the tricks up our sleeves that is completely unique to Airborne Wildlife Control Service in the Las Vegas valley. We have expert falconers and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service permits—strictly regulated—allowing the use of trained captive-bred birds of prey for the purpose of pest bird abatement. Hawks and falcons are the oldest natural threat to pigeons in existence, and we have them! Falconry is a very effective and all-natural deterrent to pigeons who want to hang out on your property.
Just like swimmers thinking twice about getting in the water with a shark, pigeons think twice about coming to your property with a bird of prey visible. But just to be honest with you, while birds of prey are very cool and highly effective, they aren’t always the right tool in the utility belt for every property. When we develop a customized plan for your property, it might not include the use of trained birds of prey.
Just like most other pigeon control companies, we trap, too. However, we custom build our own traps, always keep food and water inside, provide shade, and limit trapping activity to about 8 months in the year due to extreme weather conditions. Our trapping methods are designed to be highly effective and also humane. Trapping during the hottest summer months is very labor-intensive when done properly to make sure the pigeons are dealt with in a cruelty-free way. Unfortunately, we know about companies that trap and allow the pigeons to suffer unnecessarily before they finally expire from starvation, thirst, or exposure.
While, we do dispatch pigeons ourselves, we always want it to be as quick and painless as possible. Believe it or not, you can snap a pigeon’s neck (aka “cervical separation,” which is the most humane and preferred method), but it’s a chargeable offence as an act of animal cruelty to make pigeon die of thirst or bake to death in the hot sun. Even if it weren’t illegal we personally believe it’s too unethical to tolerate and we hope you agree and talk to your potential contractors about this before hiring them. Our trap designs have literally captured countless thousands of pigeons over the years.
At the old pig farm off of Ann Road in Las Vegas alone I have personally trapped tens of thousands of pigeons to supply food for my raptor breeding program over the past 25 years. You may doubt the numbers since anyone driving by wouldn’t have been able to notice the huge dent I was making in the population, but that’s just a testament to the prolific and adaptive nature of pigeons and their ability to breed out of control when the conditions are right.
It’s interesting to think about the pig farm being gone now and how it affects the native wildlife passing through. The pig farm created a paradise habitat for pigeons, collared doves, and migrating starlings, which in turn attracted local and migrating birds of prey each winter. Before all the housing went up years ago I saw the same individual hawks and falcons return year after year to spend the winter in Las Vegas due to the abundant prey supply at that location.
Net Guns and Netting
Not much to explain here except that this is one of the things we are very good at! A favorite trick for valet areas at hotels and parking lots where birds are walking around under cars and accustomed to people walking closely by. Aside from being the Field Supervisor at Airborne Wildlife Control Service, I am also known by employees as the “Net Master.”
The results will amaze you. We have the most experience, the most training, the best business model, and the best equipment required to do this job. Beware of impostors trying to steal our tricks of the trade. We already offer competitive pricing for our specialized services, so anyone attempting to undercut our prices is probably also cutting corners on the job site or with overhead expenses like liability insurance policies meaning if something goes wrong it could end up on YOUR hands. That’s a risk you can’t afford!
Site Recommendations and Advisory
Part of our initial site inspection is to identify specific things about your property that attract pigeons or contribute to your feral pigeon problem, such as what types of trees you have in your parking lot or a popular outdoor eating area, to name a couple of common examples. Also, during the course of our regular service, you will receive written slips that advise of seasonal or random issues on your property that will explain sudden increases in pigeon activity on your property and let you know what we intend to do about it. We will adjust our service to address these seasonal changes and also offer simple corrective solutions as we see them.
Most people are not aware that just about every property we service has landscape materials that seasonally produce seeds, nuts, and berries that are an irresistible attractant for pigeons from all over. If you have a lawn anywhere, just know that grass seed is a pigeon favorite! No matter what or who you use for pigeon control, you will get a big spike in pigeon activity on your property during these seasonal times. We can’t stop birds from coming to your property to take advantage of the temporary food source, but we can prevent these opportunistic birds passing through from establishing nests on your site or trying to make your property their permanent home. It sometimes happens that an entire flock of pigeons will randomly show up when the right type of tree suddenly produces food, but rest assured we are aware of the problem, will increase our activity to address the problem and minimize the impact it has on your residents and guests, and can advise you as to when the problem will have passed.
“No Feed” Law Enforcement
A new Clark County ordinance was approved recently that bans the intentional feeding of feral pigeons. People who actively feed pigeons and cause them to congregate and loiter on public and private property could be faced with up to a $1000 fine and/or up to 6 months in jail. Can you believe it? Jail time for feeding pigeons!
It might seem crazy, but if you think about the amount of money it costs to repair buildings or the serious health risks associated with pigeon infestations, it’s actually necessary to help convince people that they are contributing to a serious problem. People don’t think about where the birds go once they’re done with their free meal. They roost and breed on neighboring properties and cause problems that are expensive for other people to deal with! With the law now on our side we can inform people who are actively feeding pigeons on your property that it is not permitted by a county ordinance and not just because we say so.
In previous sections of this page I have downplayed the benefits of exclusions due to the cost and typically unsightly appearance they often have. After all, your building was designed with a specific aesthetic in mind. Adding cage-like embellishments probably didn’t cross your architect’s mind! However, since exclusions do help reduce the number of nesting and roosting sites available to pigeons passing by in search of a new home, we are working towards adding ornamental exclusions as an option at a later time when we can find a contractor that we trust will deliver a quality (and reasonable-looking) product.
Now here is a fancy term some of our competition claim to utilize. All I have to say is since new birds are constantly being added to the flock and dead birds tell no tales, “behavior modification” is nothing more than smoke and mirrors. Coming from a professional animal trainer (me) know that in order to modify a pigeon’s behavior, it would take someone a lot of time and repetition with the same bird to discourage previously established behaviors and encourage new or different ones.
If someone could come to the same property and see the same pigeon again and again enough times to modify its behavior, my question would be, why not just remove the pigeon? I guess to be fair I can say it is technically possible to some slight degree. However, your average pest control contractor and the average employee he or she hires are not professional animal trainers, so quite frankly, this claim, in my opinion, sounds good but is misleading.
The term “habituation” is a little more honest than “behavior modification.” Pigeons are definitely creatures of habit with a daily routine. The pattern of their day might change depending on the season or changing food sources, but for the most part, pigeons are pretty set in their ways. The popular phrase “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it,” is probably something that would go through a pigeon’s mind if they could think deeply about their
Anyway, since pigeons are already habituated to their environment, and probably to your property if you’re a new customer, one of our tricks is to quickly learn the ins and outs of your property, including the pigeons’ habits and patterns, so that we can interrupt them and re-habituate them to a new pattern that doesn’t include your property. This also works great in conjunction with trapping. By setting up a new, regular food source, we can quickly habituate an entire flock of birds to come in to a specific location at a specific time and capture most of them all at once.
What We DON’T Do
Poisons of Any Kind!
The Department of Agriculture requires that when the poison bait is placed it is to be directly monitored the entire time and never left unattended by the licensed contractor. Unfortunately, man hours cost money so some contractors won’t follow this rule. One of the reasons constant monitoring is so important is that it minimizes the risk of other protected bird species, local predators, bird of prey, and not to mention your or your neighbor’s outdoor pets from getting into the poison themselves or eating something that was killed by the poison.
We definitely believe that use (and misuse) of poison is unethical and basically a desperate person’s plan when they don’t know enough about pigeons or pigeon control to use other more humane methods or when they’re trying to cut corners in cost. For example, a former associate of mine left the poison Avitrol unattended in an automated bird feeder on a property and a concerned neighbor called in to complain.
While I personally was unaware that poison had been placed—I would have stopped it if I had known!—I was sent in to talk to the neighbor and ended up walking into a mine field that included being read the riot act by Nevada Department of Agriculture agents who literally screamed into my face that I had placed it and needed to confess. Given my background, I personally took great offence to those accusations and was able to sort things out and direct them to the person responsible. I’m not entirely sure about the details of how things ended up, but I bet there were some hefty fines involved.
Pigeon Birth Control Products
A nice feel-good idea, but just not practical if your goal is to see fewer pigeons on your property. Birth control does not eliminate roosting and nesting birds. Theoretically it will reduce the number of young a pair can create, but it takes a while for the chemical to start working, and just like in humans, requires the birds to eat it daily to be effective.
Putting birth control-laced food out for pigeons will just continue to attract more pigeons who haven’t been affected by the chemical yet who will most likely take up residence and have a few babies before it kicks in. Sure, in a giant cage full of pigeons this will slow down reproduction, but for feral pigeons it’s just not practical because of the sheer number of unaffected birds that will continuously move in and compete with the affected ones.
Their effectiveness is questionable and due to the likelihood of them to break down in extreme weather the cost to replace them each year (or more often) is not worth it. Pigeon Spikes, Wire Spiders, and Wire Lines Of all of the “over-the-counter” / “do-it-yourself” type products available, pigeon spikes may be the most effective at preventing birds from standing on a flat surface around the edge of a building. However, they are costly, ugly, and not necessary with our program.
If a pigeon wants to stand on your building, they will just land a foot farther in and look out over the spikes. Also, if pigeon spikes are placed incorrectly, they become less of a deterrence and more of an upgrade for a pigeon nest. They can provide a built-in anchoring system for sticks and pine needles. Take a look at our photo gallery for images of feral pigeons using pigeon spikes to build rock solid nests on buildings.
These make a huge mess not just for pigeons but for people, too. They are not even worth considering as there are no locations or situations we can imagine where gel can be considered the best option.
Capture and Release
This method kept many pigeon removal companies in business for years, I’m sure, and may still be a tactic some use when dealing with a customer who isn’t educated on how pigeons work. Even feral pigeons, like racing/homing pigeons, can fly right back to the spot they were captured even hundreds of miles away and sometimes even in a single day!
Capture and release is nothing more than an inconvenience for a pigeon. Growing up as a teenager and having pigeons as pets means I have my share of pigeons-finding- their-way- home stories. Even some young birds who have never left the loft where they were born somehow manage to find their way back.
Plastic Owls and Falcons
Right out of the box these look much nicer than chicken wire, spikes, and other DIY products on the market, but the only thing they do are separate money from your wallet. Even the more expensive versions whose heads turn or ones that make noise are completely and undeniably ineffective. Pigeons are not as dumb as people think; they know the difference between a real predator and a fake one.
They might act cautious for a brief time around a new object in their way, but once they realize the plastic bird isn’t coming off the roof and chasing them, they ignore it. I’ve even seen pigeons standing on top of them! There is no comparison between the effectiveness of a real bird of prey and a plastic one. Unless you want it for a lawn ornament, don’t waste your money.
Pigeons love trash. Well, maybe they don’t love it, but trash is where many of them find their daily meals. While there have been studies done on pigeons to determine how useful and developed their sense of smell is, there is not enough evidence yet to claim that pigeon repellants are worth the cost.
Also, even if they did work, it would presumably have to be reapplied over and over which means someone would have to access all of the ledges and roosting sites and use enough material to affect the birds without affecting people… This product just doesn’t smell right to us!
This is a pretty new claim that we’ve just been made aware of, but okay, here I go on the subject: Let’s just say I’m skeptical and recommend you don’t waste your money on a product that doesn’t have the evidence and statistics to back it up. The bottom line is that there is very limited evidence to suggest that pigeon pheromones even exist and the scientific journal articles that are in support are balanced by just as many articles that say it’s not true. Everything I know about pigeons makes me believe that this is just a new gimmick someone came up with to separate you from your money.
I would love to see some clinical trial data on the subject, but as far as I know, it doesn’t exist! Scientists have been studying pigeons and how they navigate for decades; From magnetic fields to visual landmarks to sense of smell—it’s all been tested and there is more or less information to support each of those hypotheses.
The strongest evidence we have about pigeons is that they can recognize individual people (i.e., distinguish between the person who feeds them every day at lunch and someone who chases them away), that changes in daylight (aka the “photo period”) can speed up or slow down their breeding cycles, and they are monogamous and mate for life unless separated from their partner. Even if pheromones existed, the usefulness of that sort of product would be negligible. There just is no reason at this time to buy into it.
Noise Makers and Ultrasonics
Loud, strange, or predatory noises will keep pigeons on edge for a couple of days at best, but just like plastic owls, once they realize there’s no actual physical threat that goes along with the sounds, they will ignore it. There aren’t any noises that will affect pigeons negatively that won’t drive a person nuts first or worse. Years ago a gas station on Ann Road near I-95 tried this method and only succeeded in scaring away customers! Even ultrasonic that are out of a human’s range are nothing to a pigeon. They just don’t work.
Again, just another doohickey to buy that will decrease the aesthetic appeal of your property and probably annoy you more than it does the birds.