How to Trap Pigeons and What Are the Best Traps to Use?

Guide to Pigeon Trapping

If pigeons are not raised as pets, they become pests. Pooping everywhere causes no end of damage to buildings, statues, and structures and creates a great deal of noise and disturbance when they sit together in a flock.

One of the best ways to trap pigeons is via a pigeon trap. This caged contraption lures and traps pigeons using bait and is an effective form of bird population control. Live and lethal pigeon traps are available to buy across the United States.

Below we’ll discuss the pros and cons of using pigeon traps in addition to other bird deterrents such as spikes, nets, gel, and raptors, and give some top tips for baiting and trapping feral pigeons.

Is It Legal to Kill Pigeons?

First of all, let us reassure you that in America, pigeons are not protected by state or federal law. Whilst the Migratory Bird Treaty Act 1918 protects native wild birds, making it illegal to kill them or remove their nests, the pigeon is considered non-native.

Individual states may have their own laws concerning pigeons, with some allowing the poisoning of pigeons whilst others consider it animal cruelty. However, most will allow shooting (providing you have a hunting license) as well as trapping and consider these to be the most effective way of controlling pigeons.

See: How to shoot pigeons with an air rifle

Best Types of Pigeon Traps

Pigeon traps have, for many years, been the preferred bird control solution for reducing pigeon numbers. The pest control industry has historically used live and lethal traps alongside the provision of anti-perching and other bird exclusion products in an effort to deter pigeons in both urban and city locations.

These pigeon traps are now available to buy in D-I-Y stores and online for residential and commercial use.

There are many different models on the market, and whether you choose to use a humane or inhumane pigeon trap, they all work the same. Pigeon traps are essentially large cages, with one-way entry doors. Once the pigeon strides in, the door slams shut, leaving it with no way of getting out.

1. Live pigeon traps

Live pigeon traps are considered humane as they ensure that the pigeon remains safe within the cage. Although this is by far the preferable option, you do need to consider what you do with it once a pigeon has been caught.

Pigeons may not appear intelligent, but they are highly competent at soaring the skies and remembering their routes. In the olden days they were used as messengers during the war and today they are kept as profitable pets for racing and homing.

live humane pigeon traps

Therefore, release them locally at your peril, as chances are, they will come back. There are no guarantees, but there has been some research done that suggests by releasing a pigeon over 50 miles from its original home can be enough for disorientation to take effect.

2. Lethal pigeon traps

Lethal traps are designed to kill a pigeon on impact, the minute it enters the cage. This is done via a snapping or constricting mechanism. Lethal traps are good at getting rid of pigeons, however, the intelligence of this type of bird often leads to its failure.

Once a pigeon or two has been caught and killed, it doesn’t take long for other pigeons to alert the flock. The trap then becomes redundant as the pigeons skit around it, rather than venturing in.
Lethal pigeon trapping is illegal in some states because of its inhumane nature, so if you are considering using one then you should check current regulations for your state. These traps are also notoriously difficult to set and can cause injury to humans and other animals.

Not only is it unpleasant to have to remove and dispose of a dead pigeon, if left unattended for too long it can attract the attention of other pests such as rats.

Finally, if you are squeamish and the thought of handling a mangled pigeon is not for you, then we would suggest looking at other types of pest control for pigeons.

Do Pigeon Traps Work?

Pigeons are stubborn, and therefore if you attempt to take away their preferred perch, they will simply maneuver themselves to another part of the building. For this reason, pigeon proofing such as spikes can prove fruitless in moving pigeons on and so the only resolution is to trap them.

using traps on roof to catch pigeons

But be warned, pigeon cages are capable of trapping multiple pigeons at any one time, which makes them incredibly labor-intensive. The law states that as a minimum, pigeon cage traps must be inspected once every 24 hours and if captured live, then you must provide adequate food and water to prevent any suffering.

It is important to return and check on the pigeon traps regularly so that you can relocate and release them before they become agitated.

Best Pigeon Traps Available to Buy

There are several different pigeon traps on the market, but we strongly advise that if you are buying one, you try a humane one first and that it is used in conjunction with other pigeon pest control products. Our top picks for pigeon traps are:

[amazon box=”B00U8UK1Z6″ image_size=”large” image_alt=”bird b gone pigeon trap” value=”thumb” link_id=”1495″]

1. Bird Be Gone

We like this humane pigeon trap as it comes with food and water containers, as well as a shade to prevent any unnecessary suffering. It is also lightweight, easy to setup and has multiple doors to access the pigeons.

[amazon box=”B00AETW6B8″ image_size=”large” image_alt=”Tomahawk Double Door Rigid Pigeon Trap” value=”thumb” link_id=”1496″]

2. Tomahawk Double Door

This pigeon trap comes in two different designs. One is collapsible, making it easy to store and transport whilst the other is rigid. Both are big enough to hold up to 15 pigeons, whilst the bars are large enough to release smaller animals.

[amazon box=”B01066P7YG” image_size=”large” image_alt=”Kness Kage-All Pigeon Live Animal Trap” value=”thumb” link_id=”1497″]

3. Kness Kage-All

A cheaper alternative to the brands above, and similar in design, this pigeon trap is a cost-effective solution. The only drawback to this particular product, is that the door cannot be left open in order to entice the pigeons to venture in over a period of time.

How to Set a Pigeon Trap

In order to ensure that your pigeon trap is most effective, you should place it in an area of intense pigeon activity – this is normally up high. Make sure you scatter enough bait to allow more than one pigeon to feast and include a little saucer of water to encourage them to stay for longer.

Most traps have a two-way door that, when set, allows the pigeon to enter the trap but does not allow it to exit. Just like most pest traps, we would strongly advise that you leave the door of the pigeon trap open for a few days (up to a week), in order to allow the pigeons to explore and build up trust with this new food source. Once the pigeons have gotten used to the unset trap and are calmly entering, this is the time to release the doors.

In general, where one pigeon goes, more will follow, strutting their feathers and bobbing their heads. But pigeons are intuitive birds, and will not enter a cage trap indefinitely, especially if they have seen other pigeons enter the trap and fail to escape.

Best Bait to Use in a Pigeon Trap

A pigeon needs to have a reason to explore the trap. Inquisitive by nature, they forage for scraps. Therefore, a scattering of cracked corn or sunflower seeds tends to be the preferred bait, but we would recommend trying a few different types of bait for optimal results.

best bait for pigeon traps

Whole corn is good because smaller, non-target birds cannot feed on it, whilst grains, popcorn, peanuts, dried bread, and even peas are all effective baits for pigeons.

Other Types of Pigeon Deterrent

Using spikes, preventative netting, owl decoys, ultrasonic devices, and gel repellents are all good options for keeping pigeons away for good and are often considered far better than trapping and killing. That said, pigeons are persistent so a combination of deterrents may be more effective than a standalone solution.

Shooting is another method of lethal control and is one that is commonly used for killing pigeons, especially in the agricultural industry where pigeons can be real pests around crops and chicken coups.

Flying a raptor is another method of pigeon control that has become increasingly popular, especially for large commercial buildings such as hospitals, subway stations, and shopping malls, but does require a pest control expert with a license.


Live and lethal pigeon traps are an option that you should explore if you have a real pigeon problem that cannot otherwise be solved by alternative bird prevention methods. It is not an easy solution, as it does require a lot of monitoring and maintaining, and if you are releasing the pigeons, then you will need to head far out of town in the hope they won’t return.

Trapping alone does nothing to prevent new pigeons from setting up home, and if they see their predecessors within the traps, they are likely to avoid it like the plague for fear of sealing their fate.

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