Solar panel proofing
Posted on 8th September 2021 at 10:25
Solar panel proofing - say goodbye to pigeons on your roof
Solar panels are now a common sight on roof tops on houses, commercial buildings and even on farm buildings all over the area and these panels are someplace that pigeons find especially attractive. But why?
What is it about solar panels that are so attractive to pigeons?
Pigeons aren't interested in solar panels, in fact pigeons are only interested in two things: what's to eat and all about breeding and its the latter that brings them onto rooftops where solar panels are installed.
Pigeons under solar panels
Feral pigeons are a type of bird that is part domesticated; you've heard of racing pigeons and homing pigeons? Well, these are all the same bird and we refer to the wild version as the feral pigeon to distinguish between the types.
Once used for food, these birds are extremely social and completely unafraid of man so the panels on your roof make the ideal nesting habitat.
If you have solar panels on the roof of your property, at some time or another you will have a flock of pigeons move in and take up residence, its completely inevitable given the nature of these birds and their desire to raise a brood.
Dispelling the myths around pigeons
Do pigeons migrate for the winter?
Do pigeons migrate? A lot of people seem to think that these birds fly south during the winter in search of a warmer climate. This is a myth and if you have pigeons living beneath your solar panels then you're in for a disappointment. Pigeons are a large bird that is used to the weather of northern Europe so they don't migrate.
The other thing about pigeons is that they have a magnetic compass in their head and so they know where they are at all times. Remember we mentioned homing pigeons? These birds form a strong attachment to their birth site and they regard that area as home.
What this means for homeowners and businesses with solar panels is that once the birds move into the space underneath the panels - that's their home and they are not going to leave.
Why do you never see a baby pigeon?
Most birds will have a breeding season which runs through the summer when we can expect good weather, in fact for birds like sparrows their breeding season is timed around the availability of small, soft insects like aphids which they feed to the chicks.
Pigeons are able and will breed all year long and for this to happen the birds must have overhead shelter to keep the wind and rain of the young pigeons which we call squabs. Your solar panels give the birds protection from the weather and as they are fitted to the South facing side of the roof; this will be the warmest place during the winter months.
Feral pigeons produce two eggs and these will hatch and grow into juvenile birds within two months, both parents are involved in rearing the young and these juveniles will stay in the nest until their feathers are fully formed and that is why you never see baby pigeons - they keep safe and warm in the nest.
Are pigeons classed as mammals?
Because of references to pigeon milk, many people think that pigeons are not true birds but mammals, as these are the one species that produces milk for their young; cows, seals, dogs, dolphins all produce milk and are true mammals - the feral pigeon is not, it is a bird.
The term pigeon milk refers to the digestive process that these birds have where they store food in their crop which is partially digested and broken down into a rich, milk like substance and fed to their young.
This ability to store food and break it down, means that pigeons are able to scavenge on any foodstuffs that they come across and still produce food for their young meaning that they are not confined to a breeding season where they would be dependant on aphids and suchlike.
Solar panel proofing from a local company based in Reading
We use a system which is much better than the older type of wire mesh which was cable tied to the panel supports, in the evolution of solar panel proofing different systems have emerged and this is the one that we think is the best.
Stainless steel 'hoops' are held in place on a UV stabilised plastic strip, this is glued to the sides of the panel and the hoops are trimmed to fit the profile. With the base of the hoop at the bottom, effectively a pigeon has to push two of the steel bars to get past and as big as these birds are, they are not strong enough.
The hoops slide up and down meaning that they can be slide up but not out of the plastic strip for maintenance should that be required. These systems look much neater than the wire mesh and are guaranteed for ten years.
Tagged as: Pigeon Control
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