‘I accepted defeat for now, pigeons continue to reign in my balcony’

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illustration: Mayanglambam dinesh
illustration: Mayanglambam dinesh

A cousin of mine said that he’s given up his job as a lawyer, is watching plants grow and feeling stress free…

Me – I am obsessed with watching pigeons in my balcony and my stress levels grow…

I don’t know how, when or why this thought of keeping pigeons away from my balcony took over me, despite living in the same house for the past two years. Initially, I observed other balconies to get some ideas – I saw some hanging garbage bags and presumed it was to frighten the pigeons and so I promptly slit some black garbage bags, tied them strategically just above their ‘landing spots’ and waited..

My avian friends landed and looked up curiously at the black strips swaying in the wind. They walked around cautiously for a few seconds (which built up hope) and then just stayed there, as if enjoying the new prop I put up for them!

Maybe the others had just left some garbage bags hanging in their balconies for easy accessibility when lining their garbage bins! I decided to leave the black strips for a few days anyway. Perhaps, pigeons take time to react to change. For the people in the house, the black strips were definitely scary, especially when their shadows painted the wall. But, the pigeons arrived on time the next day as well and had a ball.

I decided to do some research and turned to Google. There were some suggestions.

Like hanging a toy owl which I felt might not work since the pigeons have definitely not seen an owl around here.I tried the next one – hanging a CD. The reflections apparently keep the pigeons away and Youtube had pictures of a nice tomato garden being protected by CDs. So the black strips came down and the CDs went up – again I waited with a silent prayer in my heart…

The pigeons arrived, looked at the CDs, walked closer to have a better look I presume and stayed.

Finally, I approached my husband for help. Being an engineer, he wanted answers to specifics. What time did they arrive? How long did they stay? Were there more pigeons in our balcony than in the opposite one? What size/shape/material are the balconies made of and so on…

After an interrogation over half an hour, he agreed to brainstorm. Grease and wires were ruled out since the kids could lay their hands on them. A net covering the balcony would restrict sunlight and ventilation. In the end we thought of laying some plastic pipes that would make it difficult for the pigeons to land and walk on. We tied two strips of pipe to cover the landing area. The wait and watch game began again.

They did find it difficult to land on but soon figured how to step between the pipes, move around and leave their droppings as a sign of victory. My hopes were renewed when we lined our balcony sill with Diwali lights, but the pigeons probably thought they were the fancy new glow worms and kept pecking at them!

Soon, I was desperately meowing like a cat and barking like a dog in an attempt to keep the pigeons away. They hardly seemed to hear me. Then I started opening the balcony door and shooing the pigeons away – that sure managed to startle not only the pigeons but also the old lady watering her plants in the opposite balcony! I was a scare crow in my dreams.

I lost my sleep and peace and turned to yoga. No, they do not teach how to keep pigeons away but they keep murderous thoughts away.

I decided it was time I put my weapons down and humbly accept defeat…For now, the pigeons continue to reign in my balcony!

PS – Do you have any ideas that I can still try?!

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