Trapping a pigeon in a cage isn't the best choice if you don't plan on killing it, because trapping a pigeon as a way to relocate it will simply not work. Pigeons are birds that can travel large distances and always find their way back home. This means that no matter how far away you relocate it once you trap it, it will most likely find its way back to your home in a case where it has roosted.
With this said, if you want to trap a pigeon to kill it afterwards (and we don't recommend it, especially considering legal restrictions when it comes to killing pigeons in and around your home), the first thing that you must do is buy a trap that is designed specifically for pigeons. There are different models you can buy, but the majority of these are designed as a big case with entry doors – one way exclusion traps, in essence.
It is mandatory to place the trap in areas where pigeons gather or fly often. This might be on your balcony, in your shed, in the yard, etc. The door on the trap should be wired open for several days, and you should check it often to be sure that the trap is baited. Corn is an excellent choice for pigeon bait. Once pigeons get used to the fact that there is corn in the trap, they will easily enter the trap because they will believe that they can eat without any consequences. In this situation, they will become completely relaxed and enter the trap freely, so after a few days you can release the door so that they will get caught the next time they enter the trap and eat the bait.
After you trap the pigeon, you have just one option if you don’t want it to return – kill it. As we have already mentioned, there is not much sense in trying to relocate them because pigeons are used to finding their way back home across incredibly far distances. Maybe you have heard that pigeons were used as message carriers in medieval times, sent to travel across seas to carry messages from sender to receiver – this should give you an idea just how far away you should take them just to be sure that they will not find their way back to your home where they have roosted.
This means that once you trap a pigeon, you will have to kill it and in many states killing pigeons isn't legal, so you are probably facing a penalty in a case you choose to kill it.
To conclude, it is much better to avoid trying to trap a pigeon. Instead, try to prevent them from coming to your home by setting wire nets and similar obstacles that will quickly discourage them.
Go back to the How to Get Rid of Pigeons page or email us if you have any other questions about Should you ever trap a pigeon in a cage?
We are the Pest Education Network, a non-profit organization that focuses on wildlife and pest removal education. Our approach utilizes Integrated Pest Management, a strategy advocating prevention and humane methods.