Pigeons are a common species to spot daily in Japan, from the stations, public parks to the walking streets! For those who live in Japan, have you ever seen pigeons flying near your apartment balcony or hanging out on the handrail? Have you ever thought that this ordinary bird could mean a significant threat to the Japanese people’s homes?
If you have not had any problems with pigeons at your place, you’re fortunate! People who reside in Japan for a long time are no strangers to bird injuries, especially those inflicted by pigeons.
Many might find this as a big surprise since pigeons are not only harmless looking but their relatives – the white dove is considered the symbol of peace all over the world. So why do many Japanese people see this bird as a troublemaker? Let’s find out!
4 Major Risks by Pigeons in Japan
Since pigeons roam freely in Japan’s sky, in urban areas, balconies of apartments become one of the ultimate resting spots for these birds. As cute as having a pigeon resting at your place might sound, the reality is totally opposite! In Japan people separate the damage done by pigeons into 4 major levels:
Level 1 ★
After a long day of flying around and looking for food, a pigeon can stop at your balcony to rest peacefully in daytime. These birds usually search for balconies with a quiet atmosphere. Once they find the most suitable balcony as their resting place, they stay there and tend to release their business everywhere.
Level 2 ★★
Once the pigeons feel safe at your home without being threatened by any humans or other animals (sparrows or pets in the neighborhood), they will become regulars. Level 2 is when the bird starts to feel like your house is a good place to settle down and mark their territory, you can guess how! This presents a threat to the aesthetics of your house as well as your laundry. Imagine coming home from work or school to find your clothes stained with bird’s poop and having to re-wash everything. Not to mention you will have to scrub the floors of your terrace and outdoor furniture if they unfortunately become the pigeon’s water closet!
Level 3 ★★★
After the accustoming phase in Level 2, pigeons now feel too comfortable at your balcony and so try to make a new home there. The birds will even come and stay at night. One of the favorite hiding places for pigeons is behind the air conditioner unit, which can sometimes result in feathers stuck in the ventilation. The amount of dirt will of course increase and it would be tough for you to try to get rid of the birds at this stage.
Level 4 ★★★★
Level 4 is the final stage for a pigeon to build its stable home at your balcony. The birds will make a nest to raise their eggs right at your door! They will stay on your balcony constantly based on territorial instinct. If you find pigeons at your apartments with mature nests it is almost impossible to chase the pigeons away since the birds have already considered your balcony home.
One important note is, if pigeons have laid their eggs in the nest, it is forbidden to throw away or destroy the eggs thanks to the Wildlife Protection and Hunting Law. Those who despose of these eggs could be fined up to 1 million yen, and jailed for about 1 year. Should you come across birds’ nest, especially those with eggs, you must call the local government or professional pigeon terminator service to get rid of the eggs properly.
How Can I Keep Pigeons Off My Balcony?
Before reaching level 1, prevention is key! Here are some suggestions to keep these birds off your terrace:
・ Keep the balcony clean and dry. It is best not to put many things on the balcony because the more hiding places you provide, the more easily pigeons can sneak in and build nests.
・ If you find pigeon poop on your balcony, clean it up immediately.
・ Mix half bleach and half water in a spray bottle and spray it all over the balcony. Pigeons hate the smell of bleach so this is a very effective trick to keep them off the balcony.
・ There are many items designed to keep off pigeons at homes center in Japan so check out your local stores.
Do you now see what kind of problems pigeons make in Japanese balconies? Pigeon aren’t bad to look at but they can severely damage your home! Also, since they are wild animals, pigeons may carry many germs and ticks. It is possible to contract Cryptococcus disease by the germs that pigeons spread, so it is best to keep them away.
Hopefully we all will not have to suffer from pigeons in Japan and have a clean, pigeon-free terrace!