We have always been at war with the pigeons

Sometimes I think I understand my life…

…And then I find myself sitting on a tram at 10:30 at night trying to keep a ladder from falling onto the lady sitting next to me.

(Funnily enough, this isn’t even the oddest thing I’ve transported by public transport this week. That honour would go to a bunch of five helium balloons. “Don’t you have a car with you?” asked the lady in the balloon shop, a very proper older lady who couldn’t believe we’d ordered multiple colours of balloons for a graduation party when clearly the correct colour was red.

She’d also insisted that the friend who had ordered the balloons had asked for orange as one of the colours, so she was going to turn the entire crowded storeroom of the shop upside down to find one, even as I tried to convince her that he could cope perfectly well with a second green balloon in the bunch. I tried not to check the time on my phone too pointedly. She found an orange balloon at the bottom of a dusty box. While she was inflating it, she asked me how long I’d been in Italy. “4 years? Why don’t you speak Italian better?”

What I’m saying is, those balloons were awkward.)

Back to the ladder.

If you’re friends with me on facebook, you’ll know I’ve had a pigeon problem this year:


My post got me some… interesting suggestions: “Smoke em out”; “Put a rubber snake near their entrance”; “How good are you at meowing?” as well as the comment that I was lucky I’d get the chance to see baby pigeons up close.

I have no idea if baby pigeons are cute (probably not) but in the meantime every noise made by these pigeons was amplified perfectly by the acoustics of my bathroom ceiling, and I didn’t fancy being woken up every morning by pigeon coos. They had to go.

That evening, I rummaged through the cupboard of random things left by previous tenants in the apartment, and found some netting. Stretching as high as I could while standing on a kitchen chair on my balcony, I tied it as well as I could over the ventilation hole. “Sucks to be you, birds,” I smirked as I admired my work.

You can imagine how this goes, right? 2 days later:


I started googling how to get rid of pigeons. Do you know they breed up to 6 times per year? Do you know a quality ultrasonic pigeon deterrent costs hundreds of dollars? Do you know they rapidly learn to not fear scarecrows/rubber snakes/etc?

By this point, my friends were asking me for updates on the pigeon situation every time they saw me. “How are your room mates?” “Any babies yet?” “Have you considered a gun?”

So I am happy to report that with the aid of a ladder I managed to re-tie the netting without any gaps and I haven’t heard any pigeons for a couple of days now. Sorry birds, but my use of tools is superior to yours.

I fully expect to be divebombed every time I hang out washing, though.

Cover image derived from a photo by Muhammad Mahdi Karim via Wikimedia- Own work, GFDL 1.2


7 thoughts on “We have always been at war with the pigeons

  1. Laura A

    BTDT with the pigeons, but it was years ago in NYC. Tried a plastic snake on the sill, but it was pushed to its death 4 stories down within the hour. Besides, the pigeons nested BETWEEN the buildings, i.e. other side of my bedroom wall. I am now as pigeon deaf as you are smell deaf.

    Thumbs down to the rude balloon lady for insulting your Italian, not to mention your car ownership status. Funny about the orange balloon, though! I can just see that.

    I once carried a Christmas tree (complete with root ball) home once on the orange 9 tram. Complete with gypsy violinists. It was festive.


    1. Where's Zoe Now? Post author

      What was even funnier about the orange balloon was that when she finally found it, it wasn’t even a bright orange, more of a slight peach tint – definitely not worth the trouble!


  2. Terios

    One is probably trapped inside by your netting. One night a pigeon ghost will come to you in a dream, using its wing to point accusingly at you. And later you will find a pigeon skeleton. And then the skeleton will start advancing towards you. Just like in a Ray Harryhausen film.


  3. Terios

    Actually no, then you would have heard cooing. So I think it must have been baby pigeons that were about to hatch. So, everything I just said, but with little baby pigeons



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