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Monday, 9 March 2009

Any Advice On Dealing With Voracious Pigeons?

We are doing our best to care for a roof garden in the center of Durban which has recently been landscaped by another company.
The planting is a bit of a mix of indigenous and exotic, with a definite tropical theme to it. There are bamboo palms at the back, which provide a bit of height to the garden, and then a mix of Aloes, Cordylines, Dianella and Helichrysum underneath. At the front of the garden, a stretch of Gazania's were originally planted, which would have provided a much needed splash of colour.

But lately, this roof garden has reminded me of a scene from Alfred Hitchcocks 'The Birds'. The pigeons sit on every little outcrop of the building - looking down ominously on the smokers that congregate outside the offices. For now, (fortunately for the smokers) the pigeons have been satisfying their hunger by eating the plants.

The Gazania's were the first plant-victim to be devoured by the swarm of pigeons almost immediately after they were planted. Pilea microphylla was planted as a replacement plant, which in just as short a time, was grazed into non-existence. The next attempt, that the landscaping company tried, was to try a fast growing groundcover - Carpobrotus edulis, which is quite common on our beaches and does an excellent job of stabilising sand-dunes. To all of our surprise, these have also been completely eaten.

I'm going to suggest that we replace these little Pilea corpses that you can see in the photo, with Carissa 'green carpet', but before I do, I was wondering if anybody in the ethernet has any suggestions as to how to keep the pigeons from eating everything in sight, or a better option to try planting?


Chookie said...

A few thoughts:
1. Wire off the places where the pigeons roost, if possible.
2. Put a bird-feeder up and hope they go for the seed (though it sounds like they are short of greens!).
3. Employ a cat!

stoneware70 said...

Thanks Chookie, the employees at this company love the pigeons - so I'm in a bit of a catch 22 situation (actually even if the cat could catch 22, I'm not sure it would even make a dent?) I'll suggest the bird feeder idea, and was also thinking of putting down some shade cloth temporarily until they get out of the habit...but not sure if they will just return when its removed?

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