by Rocco Pugliese
How in the world can a bird that is fed by your friends and neighbors at your local park or right outside your front door be causing a problem to a building owner? Yet pigeons can be a huge problem for building owners.
Picture this; someone is considering buying a building because it's priced right, has 90% occupancy, new windows, boiler, roof, etc. It seems to be a perfect investment, but who would ever guess that this “perfect” investment is a building with a major pigeon problem.
Pigeons are causing major problems for tenants who may be awakened every morning at 6 a.m. by loud cooing right outside their bedroom windows and the balcony looks like a sewer from pigeons roosting and nesting, also a perfect breeding ground for bacteria and germs. Tenants try to keep their balconies clean, but soon give up. The task of shooing pigeons off their balconies and removing their nests and cleaning up after them is guaranteed to be a task that will make the tenant leave their sliding doors closed, their balconies unused, then become frustrated and eventually move elsewhere.
However, before they move out, they make their pigeon problem the superintendent's problem. He now gets calls every day with complaints from tenants who have given up dealing with the pigeon problem themselves. Now the pigeons have gone from being a small problem to a big and very expensive problem for the building owner.
Pigeon droppings are eating up the concrete faster than snow, salt and even time. The acid in the droppings deteriorate the concrete at a very critical rate. Every owner of a high rise building dreads the thought of balcony renovations - costs that could be as high as a million dollars! That is a cost that could have been avoided if the problem had been dealt with earlier, in the initial stages.
As an owner or as an investor of a building, you must realize that dealing with a problem at the beginning stages is being proactive. If you avoid it or ignore it and do not deal with it at the beginning, that small problem now becomes a very big problem. As Barney Fife from the Andy Griffith show often said, you need to “nip it in the butt”.
If left alone and not dealt with, pigeons will just get more settled and will have families several times a year at the location where they are most comfortable. They do not go away; they do not find a better place to live. They actually settle where they are and their offspring settle there, and their offspring's offspring settle there and so on.
Pigeons are all over the city, suburbs and rural areas. They have become a nuisance and if not dealt with early, they will become a financial burden to any building owner.
There is only one solution and that solution is balcony netting. If done correctly and with the right type of netting, it will be invisible and will not be an eyesore or ruin the look of the building. There are two ways to install balcony netting. One is absolutely the wrong way - using wood, shower curtain rod, cheap hooks, ties and no wire; the other is the right way and it's virtually invisible, using proper netting and wiring.
It is possible to have it installed correctly and there are two types of netting for this. The first is a strong netting that will last over 12 years and the second is a lighter netting that will last an average of three to six years. The main differences are cost and aesthetics. The stronger netting has a bolder appearance but still looks pleasing to the eye, whereas the lighter netting is virtually invisible and less expensive.
One costs more than the other, but comparatively it is still less than 1% of what it would cost for balcony renovations. Netting is the only way to completely stop pigeons from invading a building. Pigeons will then find a new nesting spot and for you, yesterday's headache will become today's peace of mind.