MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Annoying, messy, and sneaky. That’s how a certain flying animal is being described.

Pigeons are multiplying at a rapid rate in the Twin Cities, and it turns out the birds are truly ruffling feathers.

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With skyline views, it’s supposed to be a urban oasis. But 50 pigeons took over the deck at Centre Village Condominiums in downtown Minneapolis. Christy Schmittel is organizing the cleanup effort.

“For me, I will tell you they have been a nuisance, they are dirty, they’re disgusting because they poop everywhere [laughs]!” Schmittel said.

The invasive species, brought over by hunters from Europe, are constantly eating and release about a quarter pound of waste a day.

Bird and bat specialist Keith Markun owns Beast Wildlife Solutions in south Minneapolis.

“A pigeon nest is primarily droppings, a couple sticks and a few feathers and that’s it,” Markun said. “So yes, they are quite gross [laughs]!”

He was called in to help Schmittel, and says it’s the type of job he’s answering often.

“The problem’s growing in exponential numbers,” Markun said.

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He says Minneapolis has a growing problem, and St. Paul is even worse.

(credit: CBS)

“Nobody is trapping, we’re not hunting, we’re not euthanizing,” he said. “Other than hawk and owls and other raptor species, there’s no natural predators for them.”

So they’re multiplying at a rapid rate.

“In one year, you’ll go from two pigeons to 45 plus,” Markun said.

One of the go-to ways to get pigeons to go away is to use reflective ties, but these birds are sneaky and that doesn’t always work.

“Everything I did did not work,” Schmittel said. “We called in the big guns.”

Markun was able to install sturdy netting over bushes and wires over railing. Now, Schmittel and her neighbors finally feel free — as the birds.

“So please don’t feed pigeons. They’re not pets,” she said. “That’s my public service announcement [laughs]!”

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Markun says if you catch pigeons early, you may be able to keep them away with reflective objects. But the longer they stay, the harder they are to evict, and you may need professional help. These are his tips for homeowners to keep pigeons at bay:

  • Do not feed them.
  • Trim bushes and plants to keep them from being attractive to pigeons.
  • Keep an eye on solar panels, soffit transitions on the roofline, and anything with an overhang above.
  • Scare them away as soon as they start loafing and perching on your property.
  • Be proactive about physical deterrents. Remember, there is not a one-size-fits-all deterrent system.

Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield