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Pesky Pigeons

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"I don't like pigeons; they have no respect for public art."
Niles Crane, Frasier

A large portion of cities are dominated by feral rock doves, also known as "city pigeons" or "city doves". These birds are a staple of many cities, however they're not always a welcome staple.

Most city pigeons originate from domestic pigeons who were either abandoned, or let go into the wild, centuries ago. With few predators in urban environments, pigeon populations skyrocketed. Alas, due to their general lack of fear towards humans, city pigeons are considered a nuisance by many, and they are considered a vermin ("rats of the sky" or "flying rats" are common appellations) due to hygiene issues and also being a Most Annoying Sound inside of buildings with their repeated nesting coos or moans.

Many works set in the city will have a joke where the protagonist's car, or even the protagonist themself, get hit by pigeon poop. If a character is eating, then they might either get mobbed by pigeons or have their food stolen by one (a trait also attributed to seagulls). If a pigeon is an actual character, expect them to be either dimwitted, annoying, or an outright Card-Carrying Villain.

The only person who likes pigeons is probably the Homeless Pigeon Person. Pigeons often perpetuate a Bird-Poop Gag.

Pigeons mostly only have a negative reputation in western cultures. In the Middle East and South Asia, they're either sacred animals or a protected native species, even in cities that are full of them.

Compare Creepy Crows and Thieving Magpie. Contrast Doves Mean Peace.


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  • This Nissan commercial features pigeons as wings of bombers that try to "spot" the car in question, as it's being driven home from the car-wash, using WWI fighter-craft tactics, with call-signs such as "Sky Rat" and "Dirty Bird", even trashing a wedding in the process, among other bits of collateral damage. The wing-leader crashes into the garage door, beak first, before weakly saying "Medic."
  • This Ford SportKa gets even. As a pigeon swoops down on it, the hood, on its own, springs open, smacking the pigeon to the pavement, dead, before closing again.
  • Cryptoland: The pigeons of the island, or "hackers" as they're called, are generally frowned upon for stealing crypto-related things. At one point, one pigeon steals Bianca's hardware wallet.

    Film — Animation 
  • In The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Laverne the gargoyle gets annoyed by all the pigeons who keep landing on top of her. During the climactic battle, she sics them on the guards in a spoof of the Wicked Witch of the West summoning her flying monkeys in The Wizard of Oz.
  • In Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, Miles runs into a flock of them them when his powers start developing and he tries to shoo them away while unwittingly wall walking alongside the building. Losing his shirt in the process.

    Film — Live Action 
  • In Dr. Dolittle 2, pigeons pester the bad guys with bird poop. What's notable in this example, is that they are voiced as if they were bomber pilots, Danger Deadpan and all, with the obvious implication that their pooping on people is intentional and on purpose.
  • Final Destination 2: Kimberly sees a sign that pigeons may be involved in Tim Carpenter's death. She tries to warn him when she sees him near a flock of pigeons, but he takes that to mean he should chase them away. The pigeons fly into an active construction zone and cause the workers to drop a giant pane of glass that lands on top of Tim, messily killing him.
  • In Mel Brooks' High Anxiety, an Affectionate Parody of Alfred Hitchcock films, the main character is chased by a flock of pigeons who want to poop on him as a spoof of The Birds.
  • The Producers: The concierge of Franz Liebkind's building is none too happy about him keeping pigeons on the roof.
    Max Bialystock: We are seeking Franz Liebkind.
    Concierge: Oh... the Kraut! He's on the top floor, apartment 23.
    Max Bialystock: Thank you...
    Concierge: But you won't find him there. He's up on the roof with his boids. He keeps boids. Dirty... disgusting... filthy... lice-ridden boids. You used to be able to sit out on the stoop like a person. Not anymore! No, sir! Boids! You get my drift?
  • Undercover Brother. During the opening title sequence, a pigeon poops on the windshield of Undercover Brother's car while he's driving. He becomes extremely angry, cursing and threatening the bird. You can watch the specific scene here.

  • There were two statues in a city park, one male and one female. An angel appeared to them, saying, "You have been such good statues. As a reward, you are hereby granted 30 minutes of life." The two statues come to life, look at each other, and then go behind some bushes. After about 15 minutes of rustling, they come back out, looking satisfied. The angel tells them, "You know, you still have 15 more minutes." The male statue looked at the female statue and asked, "Wanna do it again?" "Yeah!" she replied. "But this time, you hold the pigeon down, and I'll poop on its head!"

  • "Pigeons from Hell" by Robert E. Howard portrays pigeons as Always Chaotic Evil birds.
  • Les Voyageurs Sans Souci: Although the pigeon Mirliflore is on the main characters' side, he is arrogant, snappy, snobby and demanding (as well as a bad liar who brags about being the Grand Master of Ceremonies of the realm of the birds when he is a simple postman). All in all, Sébastien and Agathe find him helpful but annoying.

    Live Action TV 
  • Barney Miller: In "Fish", Fish tells Dietrich that he's leaving to feed the pigeons. Dietrich tells Bernice, who says that actually, Fish gets day-old bread and throws it at the pigeons. When Fish gets back home later in the episode, he starts zinging bread at the pigeons outside his window.
    Fish: They ruined every hat I got.
  • Subverted with Walter and Clay Pigeon from Between the Lions. They're friends with the lion family, but Busterfield doesn't get along with them very well.
    • Played straight in one of the Cliffhanger segments where a flock of pigeons pop the balloons Cliffhanger himself was holding.
  • The Title Sequence of the 1994 medical drama series Birdland only consisted of the many pigeons that made Roosevelt Hospital their home.
  • The haunted houses in Ghosts (UK) and Ghosts (US) are infested with feral pigeons. In the UK series, one of the pigeons returns as a ghost after dying. In the US episode "Possession", Jay and Samantha slaughter a pigeon to feed to a snooty wedding planner.
  • Kamen Rider 555 has a Pigeon Orphnoch as a Monster of the Week.
  • Pigeons cause a lot of problems for George in "The Merv Griffin Show" episode of Seinfeld. Though he believes that the humans have a deal with the pigeons, where the pigeons get out of the way of the humans and the humans in turn overlook the statue defecation, the birds start to break the deal when they repeatedly fail to get out of his way. This causes friction with his girlfriend when he accidentally runs over a flock with his car. So when he tries to save face by swerving out of the way of the next pigeon he sees, he ends up hitting a squirrel instead, which he is then forced to take to a vet at an exorbitant cost and keep at home. The episode ends with George issuing a threat to the pigeons that messed everything up for him.
    George: Laugh it up. I'm getting in my car now and the last thing I heard... we have NO DEAL!
  • Ultraman Ace has Black Pigeon, a pet pigeon forcefully transformed into a Choju by the Yapool; however it's a Tragic Monster example, as while it is capable of calming down by the whistling of its owner, unfortunately it has to be put down as the Yapool ultimately override this aspect.

    Video Games 
  • Brewster from Animal Crossing inverts this trope. He's a classy Funny Animal pigeon who runs a cafe. Brewster is a quiet, sophisticated bird that contrasts with most of the other more comical characters.
  • One chapter of Detroit: Become Human sees Connor and Hank investigating the hideout of a suspected deviant android, which happens to be infested with hundreds of pigeons that the deviant was caring for.
  • Dragon Age: Origins: Shale the Golem hates pigeons even more than Darkspawn. Being paralyzed as a statue and getting crapped on by birds for thirty years before being rescued will have that sort of effect on the psyche.
  • Grand Theft Auto:
    • The pre-mission cutscene for the mission "The Fastest Boat" from Ricardo Diaz in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City has him in the middle of shooting pigeons because of them shitting on his car.
      Ricardo: Not so pleased with yourselves, now, huh? (laughs)
      Tommy: Whoa, watch where you're waving that thing!
      Ricardo: No more pigeon shit on my car, eh, Tommy?
      Tommy: Guess not.
      Ricardo: You're damn right.
      Ricardo: Ah, I thought I got you! Where'd you come from? PIGEONS! BOOM! AAAAGH!
      Tommy: I think your pigeons are back...
    • Grand Theft Auto IV has a feature called "Flying Rats", where the player is rewarded if they kill all 200 pigeons in-game.
  • Grim Fandango: At one point, Manny is forced to think his way past a pack of feral, skeletal city-pigeons that will mercilessly attack him if he gets too close.
    Manny: Run you pigeons! It's Robert Frost!
  • One side-mission in Hi-Fi RUSH has you helping a SCR-UB robot get rid of some pigeons from its designated cleaning area. Doing so requires calling in Peppermint to shoot them away.
  • The characters in the first Madagascar licensed game hate pigeons. Pigeons can be scared off, though they leave behind poop.
  • Plants vs. Zombies 3 has zombie pigeons as fast but weak Airborne Mooks which are usually spawned in a Zerg Rush by a Zombie Pigeon Feeder throwing bread around him.
  • Subverted with the Pidgey and Pidove lines in the Pokémon franchise: they're certainly Com Mons, and can irritate trainers wading through grassy areas as they look for rarer Pokémon. However, with training, they can evolve into Pidgeot and Unfezant, respectively, which are not only regal in their own right but also handy Crutch Characters that can pull their weight up until the endgame.
  • Postal 4: No Regerts has the Pigeon Mine (that is to say, a whole flock of pigeons crammed into a cage) as a throwable weapon. When thrown, the pigeons will burst out and mob anyone unfortunate enough to get near them. Apparently, they were the result of pigeon catchers going on strike for some reason.
    Postal Dude: Watch out! Angry avians about!
  • Played with in Subnautica: Below Zero: Jeremiah Murgle hates the planet's equivalent of pigeons, known as skyrays, as they congregate around the communications tower he's meant to keep up and running, and it doesn't help that their droppings are caustic, resulting in no end of headaches for the man.

  • Tor the Funny Animal tiger from the Furry Webcomic Swords and Sausages, needs to access his emergency fund stash, only to discover that his cache is empty. Pesky pigeons have absconded with Tor's funds and are purchasing bird seed in the town market with this booty. In Vale Valley, pigeons range from unhelpful to diabolical.

    Western Animation 
  • Animaniacs (1993): The Goodfeathers often get pushed around for being regarded as "rats with wings".
  • Subverted with heroic Yankee Doodle Pigeon from Dastardly & Muttley in Their Flying Machines. He's both the enemy and a pest to the villainous Vulture Squadron.
  • Family Guy: A Cutaway Gag from "Back to the Woods" shows Peter trying to get back at a pigeon who pooped on his car by trying to poop on the pigeon's car.
    Peter: That's right. Get it nice and clean.
  • Futurama: Parodied with the fact that, in the future, owls are considered pests in New New York.
  • Gargoyles: Never actually seen onscreen, but the series bible states that gargoyles and gargoyle beasts despise pigeons, probably for their untidiness.
  • In The Little Rascals short "The Case of the Puzzled Pals", a flock of pigeons gather around Alfalfa when he is disguised as a Civil War statue during the gang's stakeout of the local mineral supply dealer. The pigeons later lift Alfalfa off his pedestal and drop him into a nearby fountain.
    Alfalfa: No respect for law and order. [his cowlick springs up]
  • In The Loud House episode "Any Given Sundae", one-year-old Lily does everything she can to ensure that she gets to taste her very first ice cream sundae. When the Loud family finally makes it to the ice cream shop, Lily is about to taste her sundae (and her family cheers her on), when a pigeon comes by and swoops down, causing her to drop the sundae. Lily does not take this well, and things get worse when the family tries to buy her another sundae, only to find out that the ice cream shop closed early that day.
  • In the Mickey Mouse (2013) short, "Feed the Birds", a flock of pigeons bully a small bird by denying him any and all food that Mickey tries to feed him. They later fly into Mickey's house, kick him out, and wreck it. Mickey and the little bird soon get back at the pigeons by trapping them in a rocket disguised as a giant bird feeder and launching them into space.
  • This is weaponized in an episode of Miraculous Ladybug, where the pigeon-themed Villain of the Week can make pigeons do his bidding. This includes having the pigeons attack the main heroes in droves and poop on them.
  • In the Muppet Babies (2018) episode, "Wock-a-Bye Fozzie", the babies watch a movie called The Wacky Alpacas Eat Spaghetti 2 during their first sleepover. In the movie, Walter is trying to deliver a plate of spaghetti to Wanda for a dinner date. The first time, his spaghetti is eaten by a flock of pigeons. The second time, Walter comes across a giant pigeon. When Walter and Wanda finally get to have their spaghetti together, the flock of pigeons eats it again as the alpacas have a Spaghetti Kiss.
  • On Rocko's Modern Life, Really Really Big Man is trying to talk a pigeon out of pooping on a statue of O-Town's founder. It's played as if he's trying to talk the pigeon out of suicide. RRBM uses his "Nipples of the Future" to show the pigeon how good his life could be, but then Filburt comes by with a broken mirror and a following of black cats, which causes the nipples to go crazy, and the pigeon to become upset again and go through with crapping on the statue.
  • The Simpsons:
    • In "Who Shot Mr. Burns? (Part Two)", a pigeon inadvertently helps Lisa find a clue to solving the mystery, and she thanks it by saying "I'd kiss you if you weren't swimming with disease."
    • In Homer's flashback from "The City of New York vs. Homer Simpson", a pigeon flies down and swipes Homer's hot dog.
    • In "How Munched is That Birdie in the Window?", Lisa, despite being an unabashed animal lover, is afraid to touch an injured pigeon that Bart adopts for this reason.
    • In the very next episode, when the momma-bird dies from its injuries, Bart decides to be a surrogate parent for its eggs, when said eggs turn out to be a male and female pair of an invasive species of lizard, which then escape and breed like crazy, the resulting pigeon apocalypse is greeted with universal cheer.
  • We Bare Bears features an entire underworld Pigeon Cartel who engage in all manner of shady activities. The first episode reveals that they're engaging in specific forms of burglary, but they return in future episodes to cause more trouble, such as trying to sell off illicit shipments of sriracha hot sauce.


Video Example(s):


The Pigeon

A pigeon has gotten into the gymnasium, much to the horror of both Brittas and his blazer.

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Main / PeskyPigeons

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