03:09:33 am on
Monday 16 Dec 2019

Oscar and the Pigeons
Matt Seinberg

I always thought of pigeons as rats with wings; so does New York City. People think feeding pigeons in the parks is cute, but it does more harm than good. As any animal that people feed, pigeons will stay in that one spot and wait for their humans to feed them.

► As pigeons grow lazy, bugs multiply.

They won't go after their regular food sources like bugs. This allows bugs to multiply and annoy the people even more. After all, humans veg when and as much as they can.

Pigeons aren't only in the City. They're in every metropolitan area. There no escaping them and their demands for food.

We even have pigeons on Long Island. That's where my problem lies. My wife noticed a family of pigeons, not only on our roof, but also under the solar panels. The number of family members varied, from two to six.

Our fear is the pigeons would damage wires and wreak havoc on the solar system. On top of that, their little round poops were all over the back patio. What were we to do?

I tried using the power washer to knock down the nest, but this family of pigeons was smart. They nested behind a roof vent. I couldn't get a straight shot at the nest, nor could I move it with a long piece of wood.

The only solution was to call the solar company responsible for the system and arrange for someone come to move the panel and remove the nest. The solar company said a critter barrier was a possibility, too, but it would cost $1400. We simply don't have that much available money right now and the pigeons won’t contribute a seed.

The cost for removing the nest would be $170 to which I agreed. An appointment, to remove the nest, was for the following week. Whenever I saw the pigeons on the roof, I sprayed them with the hose and watched them fly to the houses on either side of us.

When my wife came home from work, on the day of the service, she found remnants of the nest on the ground, along with a broken egg. Part of the nest remained on the roof. How come there was no clean up and they didn’t get the entire nest off the roof?

► Expressing my disappointment.

I sent an email to the woman at the solar company in charge of service; I expressed my disappointment. I told her I was disappointed with the service. I asked they return to finish the job, as it was evident that they worked around the panel and did not remove it to do a complete removal of the nest.

As it was the July 4th weekend, I knew I wouldn't get an answer until the following Monday. The woman from the solar company called, on Monday, and emailed me, apologizing for the poor service. She said I should call her back to schedule another service, at no charge.

Lucky for me, she had the next day available. It was my day off. I took that appointment.

Two technicians showed up and I explain the problem. My father thought that one of the two technicians had been here the previous week. He wasn't sure.

In the meantime, I bought a mean looking plastic owl from Amazon. Supposedly, pigeons are afraid of owls and this might act as a deterrent. My problem was getting it secured on the roof. I certainly wasn't going to put it up there.

I asked the technicians, who would already going to be on the roof, if they would do the installation They looked at each other, then at me and said okay as long as I didn't tell their office; it was not part of their job. I gave them the owl and some twine. When they left, I gave them a nice tip and a thank you.

They attached the twine to two places on the chimney. This owl wasn't going anywhere. One feature, of the owl, is cool is that its head rotates in the wind and it looks more fierce that way.

I had read a review, of the owl, on Amazon. Someone commented on a rattling from inside the body. It turned out to be a small, clear plastic wing that attaches to the back. That's what makes the head rotate.

The family of six pigeons now stay away from the roof. They sit on the roofs on either side of us, but I didn't see them tonight. Maybe they really are afraid of Oscar. I named the owl, Oscar.

► Oscar does his job, well.

So if you have your own pigeon problem, get your own plastic owl. Let it scare away those annoying pigeons. It works.

Matt Seinberg lives on Long Island, a few minutes east of New York City. He looks at everything around him and notices much. Somewhat less cynical than dyed in the wool New Yorkers, Seinberg believes those who don't see what he does like reading about what he sees and what it means to him. Seinberg columns revel in the silly little things of life and laughter as well as much well-directed anger at inept, foolish public officials. Mostly, Seinberg writes for those who laugh easily at their own foibles as well as those of others.

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