In the Puget Sound region, the two most common nuisance bird species we deal with are starlings and pigeons. Though different in appearance, both of these species can be quite destructive and exceptionally messy. Their droppings can be seen on the side of buildings, frequently in areas where people travel or congregate.

Aside from being an unpleasant mess, bird droppings also vector disease, and can be extremely harmful to humans if inhaled. Starlings and pigeons can often be found roosting and nesting in attics, parking lot ledges, and on various light fixtures.

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Starlings

Starlings are stockier birds, featuring short tails, short legs, and a moderately long horn-shaped bill. Starling feet feature a single rear-facing toe and three forward-facing toes. The most common species seen in our region is the European starling. When fully-grown, European starlings range from 7 ½ to 8 ½ inches long, and weigh approximately 2 ½ to 3 oz.

A starling’s color will change throughout the year. In the spring and summer, they are black with an iridescent green-purple sheen and have a yellow bill. In the winter, they are heavily speckled with white and gold, and have darker bills. While starlings are known to chirp, pop, squeal and whistle, they also have the incredible ability to mimic sounds in their environment, including car horns and frog croaking.

Mating season for starlings occurs in the spring time. This is when they tend to become a nuisance pest, and pose potential health hazards by nesting in our structures, such as attics, parking lot ledges, and under the eaves of houses. Female starlings will lay 4-6 white to blue/green eggs per clutch which hatch after 11-14 days.

Pigeons

There are over 315 different species of pigeons, most commonly called doves, rock doves, blue rock pigeons, feral pigeons, or wild pigeons. The most common pigeon we see in the Pacific Northwest is the feral pigeon. These birds feed almost exclusively on seeds and human refuse, like fast food waste or other discarded human food items.

Pigeons have relatively distinct identifiable characteristics. They are typically 11-14 inches tall, weigh 13-16 oz, have a wing span of 24-27 inches, and have red legs and feet. Though their color can vary from white to multi-colored, pigeons normally have dark blue/grey heads, glossy greenish-to-purple neck and chest area, white lower back feathers, and noticeable twin black wing bars.

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