Does pigeon spike work to control birds?
I love to BBQ and my brisket is really very good. I have my own rub recipe and always smoke it fat side up so the fat can melt down through the meat to flavor and tenderize it. I smoke it for 12 hours in an off-set charcoal smoker and braise it for 4 hours. It comes out with a beautiful crust and just the right amount of smoke flavor. It literally melts in your mouth. And I make my own sauce, which folks seem to enjoy, too. I’ve done brisket for thousands of people and it’s always a crowd favorite, but if I turn the heat up too much or leave it in too long it drys out and takes on a burnt flavor. And it don’t go over real well as a desert, either. But when I pick the right piece of meat, cook it perfectly and serve it on a Friday night with my jalapeno-cheese potatoes, honey-butter cornbread and bacon-banana pudding for desert I’m a pretty popular guy.
In an odd way, pigeon proofing is kinda like BBQ. You gotta pick the right product for the specific situation and install it correctly or it just don’t work. Pigeon spike is one of the more commonly used products out there. Unfortunately, it’s also very common to see it fail to protect the targeted surface or area. Why? Well, usually because it is either the wrong product for that situation or has just been installed incorrectly. Often it’s both!
Pigeon spike comes in several different sizes and configurations and is made from several different materials or combination of materials. But all of them have one thing in common: they are all considered to be a ‘ledge product’, meaning they are intended to protect ledges from roosting pigeons. The spike chosen for any specific job is dependent on a few variables:
- How wide is the ledge?
- What is the surface made of (stucco, metal, wood, etc.)?
- Will it be exposed to sunlight after installation?
- Is the visibility of the finished product important?
- Is this installation being made to solve a problem with pigeons or some other species of bird?
- How committed are the pigeons (how long have they been there, how many are there)?
- Will the spike be installed in a place where people can touch it?
The pigeon spike should be installed so that it is no more than 1/2″ from the wall and should extend out slightly past the outer edge of the ledge, so choosing the right width is critical. How committed are the pigeons to the structure? Typically, the longer they are there, the more stubborn they will be and the harder it will be to get rid of them. If they’ve been there awhile, choose a spike that has a configuration that is more dense as far as the placement and number of tines goes. I usually suggest using a stainless steel spike as opposed to a plastic version. It will cost a bit more but will look better, takes on paint well and will last much longer. If the installation surface is wood use screws, otherwise you will usually be better off to use a very good silicone adhesive. I don’t recommend Liquid Nails, especially if it will be exposed to direct sunlight. Always clean the surface thoroughly first and if it’s stucco, you’ll want to knock the bigger chunks off for a smoother installation surface and better adhesion. Spike is made to help control pigeons and will usually (not always) work for doves. If the birds are smaller than doves, pigeon spike is the wrong product for sure as smaller birds will often nest right in between the tines.
Pigeon spike is not a good product for use on the actual roof as it looks terrible and the pigeons can just stand right next to it. Nor is it a good choice if you have pigeons nesting under your solar panels. I’m also not crazy about using it to protect chimneys. It doesn’t look too good on a chimney and if you use the chimney the heat and smoke can effect both the spike and any adhesives you use for installations. One of the most common mistakes I see is when folks install spike into the nooks under the eaves trying to prevent nesting. Usually the pigeons work their way in behind the spike and and their poop, feathers and nesting materials just get caught up in the tines making the problem even worse. It’s just the wrong product for those applications.
One more thing: I do not recommend installing pigeon spike in areas where people are able to touch or otherwise interact with it. At some point they will probably damage it and render it ineffective, but that’s not my biggest concern. Spike can definitely cause injury and who ever installs it could be held responsible. So just don’t do it.
Like most things in life, experience can make a huge difference. An experienced installer will pick up lots of little tricks along the way that can help make the use of pigeon spike more effective and less visible. If they’re really good, they will also know when pigeon spike is not the best solution and can make solid recommendations for replacement products and/or services. I have personally installed hundreds of miles of spike in my 30 years in the industry and can tell you for sure that there are many ways to skin this particular cat (or pigeon:). So it’s usually a good idea to call a few professionals and see what they have to say.
Here’s a little BBQ trick for you: you can get a little bit of smoke flavor on your food even if you don’t have an actual smoker or the 18 hours to invest. Get yourself some wood chips (I like either mesquite or a combination of pecan and apple) and soak them in water for an hour. When you’re ready to grill, make a pouch out of aluminum foil and place a handful of the wet wood chips into it. Poke a few holes in the top of the foil, place the pouch on the grill with your food and close the lid. Works real well on chicken:)
I hope you find this article helpful and I hope you’ll consider Goldshot Exterminating as your pigeon spike installation specialists. As always: Happy Hunting!
John H. Goldshot
P.S. Goldshot Exterminating is a proud sponsor of StreetLight USA. Check them out at www.streetlightusa.org and see how YOU can help stop child rape. What if it were your daughter?