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Habitat Magazine Insider Guide




Only Co-op Boards Can Prevent Pigeon Invasions

Upper East Side, Manhattan

Pigeon War
April 23, 2018

Spring has finally begun to act like it might arrive someday, and when it does, New Yorkers can expect to enjoy familiar warm-weather visitors: pigeons, locally known as rats with wings. One co-op resident on the Upper East Side already has pigeons roosting on her 15th-floor window ledge. Their cooing wakes her up in the morning. Their droppings leave attractive white slicks on the building’s walls. She doesn’t want to poison the birds or put anything on her window ledge that might fall off and endanger pedestrians. What’s a co-op shareholder to do? 

The co-op board, not the shareholder, should take steps to keep pigeons off the building, replies the Ask Real Estate column in the New York Times. A shareholder is responsible for everything inside the walls of her apartment, and the co-op board is responsible for the building. So the board needs to figure out how to get the birds to find a new home. 

“Residents should not attempt a solution on their own,” advises Daniel Wollman, the chief executive of Gumley Haft, a Manhattan property management company. 

Instead, the shareholder should write the managing agent and the co-op board a letter alerting them to the pigeon problem and insisting that they fix it. If the birds are nesting on one ledge, they’re probably nesting on others. Management should clean all droppings. 

The building staff should be able to get the birds to nest elsewhere without damaging the facade or risking the safety of anyone on the street below. For example, at a Gumley Haft-managed property with a pigeon problem in its inner courtyard, management suspended netting over the area to keep the birds away. 

John McGowan, the director of operations for Bugged Out Pest Management in Brooklyn, suggests using Bird Barrier Optical Gel, a multi-sensory bird repellent, which he described as “awesome.” Here are some more tips on ways to combat an invasion of rats with wings.

Ask the Experts

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Learn all the basics of NYC co-op and condo management, with straight talk from heavy hitters in the field of co-op or condo apartments

Professionals in some of the key fields of co-op and condo board governance and building management answer common questions in their areas of expertise

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