CAVEAT LECTOR: Long rant ahead. The culmination of a few months’ worth of angst and distress.
One is very very deeply anguished to say that one’s balcony has been encroached upon by a family of pigeons. Ok, make that two. Two families of pigeons. You know how many individual pigeons that is? Eight. Yep, 1 Daddy Pigeon, 1 Mommy Pigeon and 2 pesky Baby Pigeons. And then count that all over again. Eight pigeons.
So this is how it started ok. One fine day, I find two pigeons sitting on the top shelf of the balcony. Harmless enough, no pooping or shedding feathers and they used to fly away abruptly if I opened the balcony door too fast. I was actually excited enough to show my friend’s 3 yr old daughter what pigeons look like up close. The kid’s from UK and it seems you don’t see pigeons at their place like this. Lucky them!
Right, so second fine day (kinda on the border of the time when the days stopped being so fine), I see the coconut broom (you know, them brooms made of coconut sticks that you use for wet washing? Cmon! understand!) shredded to bits and all the little bits up on that shelf assembled into a nest. And 4 pigeons. Two nesting, and two standing around doing nothing. Apparently, males of most species follow this trend of being useless at times.
When I saw this whole bunch of pigeons, I freaked out. I told my woes to the maid and she, from her immense wisdom, told me that a pigeon building a nest in the house augurs prosperity. Seems the folks who lived two floors below actually made place in their shelf with cardboard and stuff for pigeons to come and build nests!! Who would’ve thunk! So I lamely consoled myself that I might indeed become more prosperous due to the pigeons and added a smirk to my face thinking about the neighbors below who would be left disappointed that the aforementioned pigeons found my balcony more hospitable than theirs!
The maid was mistaken. Grossly. Four pigeons in your balcony does not bring prosperity to the house. It brings pigeon droppings, pigeon feathers, loads of fluff and sticks, lots of pigeon noises and an unbearable stink (remember the poop?). And when I asked the maid to clean it all up, what did we find? Pigeon babies. Now how can anyone have the heart to throw away pigeon babies?! Not me.
I paid the price for my humane behavior towards pigeon babies. There was even more poop everywhere, even more feathers flying around my balcony and the stink started permeating inside the house. And those gosh-darned babies never grow up! Did you know that? It’s like those people who grow up to be 30 and still live with their parents and refuse to go out! I’d had enough. So I asked the maid to clean it all up anyway and keep the nest on the parapet wall and hope to God that the parent pigeons do something about their babies.
What do you think happened next? The maid placed the nest (with 2 babies, who were not quite babies anymore) on the parapet wall – and the darn things flew! And here I was thinking I’m putting two helpless little pigeon babies out to die! So all you parents who’re having trouble sending your kids out – chuck them out anyway. They learn. Or they get lost. Either way, good riddance.
I rest in peace for approximately 2 weeks before the onslaught starts again. Remember the other two adult pigeons who didn’t have their babies in my balcony? Well, they came back to do just that. I’m thinking the pigeons have an internal survey kinda thing on whose balcony is most appropriate for laying eggs, hatching them and have the owner help with the pigeon kids learning to fly soon – and mine came out tops. So here I was playing host to the pigeons. AGAIN!
Once bitten, twice shy, right? So I started off with trying to scare the pigeons away. Something I didn’t the last time because hey, I’m humane towards pigeons. Even if they cover my balcony in droppings. First came water. Throw a few cupfuls of water on them and they used to fly away. Only to return 15 mins later when I’m deeply engrossed with my book and/or the TV.
I turned to Google for help, next. Voila, looked like half the world was having pigeons in their balconies! The suggestions to get rid of them ranged from the already tested ‘throw water on them’ to the very labor intensive (for me) ones that involved chicken-wire, glue, pins and other assorted pointed items. The one that seemed easy enough for me to do where these: (a) tie CDs around the place the pigeons generally come to because they don’t like the shining stuff and get scared by them, or (b) add a couple of napthalene balls on the shelf where they nest ‘coz apparently they don’t like their nests smelling good.
(a) Tied CDs around the balcony. The only thing I gained from that is a nice sparkling balcony when seen from outside. And in two days, I found all the CDs down, with the strings torn up. Yep, the pigeons don’t like ’em. But they most definitely were not scared by them!
(b) I was out of napthalene balls, so I did the next best thing that came to my mind – sprayed room freshner. You know the really headachy ones that smell like jasmine? Sprayed it generously on the shelf. Effect? Nothing. The pigeons came back as if nothing had changed about their beloved nest. I went one step further and sprayed it right into their faces. Again, nothing happened! They just flew away and came back a while later!!
I fell back to throwing water. But no, God wouldn’t let me have it so easy now, would He? This one pigeon was sitting so stubbornly on that shelf, that it refused to budge even though it was completely drenched in water! With temperatures in Hyderabad touching 40 deg C, I’m not surprised. But I am surprised why I didn’t think of this before. So, gave up on the water again. But the good thing was, I now realized that the pigeon was actually incubating the eggs. Which was why it refused to move! So what should I do now? Get rid of the eggs! Simple!
Don’t judge me, ok? I’m usually not that heartless. But when one is pushed to the limits (read: threatened by certain illness due to all the poop and the feathers), one comes up with drastic measures. So I confiscated the eggs. The pigeons came back to find the eggs gone. And I was dancing around in joy that I finally got rid of the mutant pigeons. But alas, my joy was very shortlived (approximately 30-45 mins).
The pigeons are back.
Any suggestions on how to get rid of the buggers are most welcome.
P.s: Title sounds familiar? Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is the original. Remember those 4 turtles with different colored head bands and with names of famous painters? Thanks to a brother who used to be a die-hard fan of these turtles.