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Pigeon Purge

Before I moved to Mumbai I read many blogs about living in India, and became an avid reader of Rachel, the Hippie-in-Heels. She writes a regular feature called ‘This Is India’ in which she shares amusing anecdotes about what makes life in India so unique (her latest is hilarious). I hoped that once I had lived in India as long as she has then I would have a few tales of my own.

 It did not take long before those stories started to happen.

 Let me tell you the tale of the pigeons…

Our bedroom has an en-suite bathroom, and behind the shower is a door that leads out to a tiny balcony area which houses the air-conditioning unit. This area was once protected by thick wire across the window opening, but the wire is now lying tangled on the floor.

When we first walked into our bathroom the furious flapping of pigeons and a flurry of feathers greeted us. The wooden door was blowing gently in the wind; no longer attached to the bolt that used to secure it. I peered through the door and came face to face with a menagerie of birds. The floor was coated in feathers, faeces, and the unmistakable signs of nesting.

Our bathroom balcony had become a birdcage.

We slammed shut the bathroom door and cowered behind it, vowing never to step in there again. After all, who needs an en-suite anyway? But it was no good. We could hear the birds in our bathroom as we lay in bed at night, and were afraid that if we opened the door they would fly into the apartment.

After a week or so, my employer sent round a carpenter to fix the balcony door (another funny story that I will tell later) so that the birds could no longer get into the bathroom. But they could still get onto the balcony behind the shower.

Every morning as I showered I could hear pigeons flapping and cooing on the other side of the door, and we wondered just how many of them there were. We decided to investigate.

We walked around the building to see what our apartment looked like from the outside. Squinting up into the sunlight at the looming tower block, we looked for the balcony. It was obvious where it was by the vast number of pigeons (Wikipedia tells me that the collective noun is a ‘kit’) swooping around our window. It was like a scene from the Hitchcock movie. Hundreds of birds swooped and wheeled, landing on our balcony and going inside our bathroom!

I have temporarily solved the problem by stacking up every available piece of cardboard, furniture and general junk I can find in the apartment, but we need a more long-term solution. It seems that the birds may have pushed the original wiring down, so cardboard won’t hold them at bay for long.

A temporary solution
A temporary solution

I hear them outside the window. I see them perching on the rails. I sense them in my sleep; I feel their beady eyes watching me. They haunt my dreams. I wonder how long until they break through and take back their home…

How would you deal with a flock of marauding birds? Have you ever had any unwelcome animals in your house? Please leave a comment below!

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  1. says:

    Oh my god. I would be calling the landlord every day until he did something about those birds! Or else I’d try to find some poison pellets at the store. The largest spider I’d ever seen was living between my bathroom window and it’s screen. I got some insect killer at the store, waited until it was outside the screen, and sprayed like a madwoman. Hopefully that will be a lesson to his spider friends. Good luck!

    1. Yeah, we have been hassling the landlord pretty hard. Things take a while in India though 🙁 My makeshift contraption seems to be stronger than it looks, as there’s no sign of them pecking through yet!

      I once used insect spray when I saw a large spider in my bedroom (it was a basement apartment). It took around 10 minutes to kill the beast, and I used about half a can. Then, over the next few hours, about 10 more large spiders crawled out from various holes around the room that the poison had flushed them from. It was like a scene from a horror movie. Thankfully, they all died!

      I hope you are now spider-free 🙂

  2. says:

    Wow! Definitely an adventure. I hope you get a permanent solution though, I don’t think they’re the cleanest animals! Good luck 😉

  3. No, they are definitely not the cleanest animals. I’d rather not say just how much pigeon-poo is on our balcony 🙁 I need to find somebody to come and clean it.

  4. says:

    Oh no, this doesn’t sound good! I hope you/your landlord manage to find a solution soon! In the meantime at least it makes a good story 🙂

  5. Thanks! I suspect that many things about my time in India will make for good stories, but I REALLY hope that the birds are gone soon 🙂

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