Common woodpigeon (Columba palumbus) eating ivy berries

How to Get Rid of Doves?

The gentle cooing of doves can be a soothing and tranquil sound, but when these birds overstay their welcome, it’s natural to seek peaceful solutions for their management. Understanding how to humanely get rid of doves is crucial to maintaining harmony with nature and the environment. This article offers guidance on achieving dove control without causing harm or distress to these delicate creatures. We’ll explore preventative measures, relocation techniques, and ethical deterrents, emphasizing the importance of coexistence and respect for wildlife.

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Before we delve into methods for managing dove populations, it’s essential to gain a deeper understanding of these gentle birds. Doves, often associated with peace and love, are a diverse group of species known for their distinctive cooing calls and graceful flight. They play vital roles in ecosystems, aiding in seed dispersal and pest control. Recognizing their value and symbolism underscores the need for humane and ethical dove control methods.

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Doves have several distinctive characteristics, including plump bodies, small heads, and relatively long tails. Their muted, earth-toned plumage provides them with a subdued appearance that blends well with natural surroundings. Doves are known for their monogamous behavior, where pairs often mate for life, further highlighting their connection to love and fidelity.

In urban and suburban environments, doves can become accustomed to human presence, making them comfortable in close proximity to homes and gardens. While their cooing is often appreciated, their droppings, feeding habits, and nesting activities can sometimes lead to concerns and the need for effective dove control.

Prevention and Deterrent Measures

Preventing doves from becoming a nuisance in the first place is a proactive and humane approach to dove control. Consider these methods to create dove-unfriendly environments:

  1. Remove Food Sources: Doves are primarily seed-eaters. By limiting the availability of birdseed, grains, and kitchen scraps, you can reduce their attraction to your property. Use bird feeders designed to discourage larger birds.
  2. Secure Trash Containers: Ensure that trash cans are securely closed to prevent doves from foraging for food scraps.
  3. Deter Nesting: Actively discourage doves from nesting in or near your property. Block off nesting sites, such as eaves and ledges, with appropriate barriers. Repair any openings where they might build nests.
  4. Use Reflective Objects: Doves are often wary of sudden movements and shiny objects. Hanging reflective items like aluminum foil strips or CDs can deter them from settling in your garden.
  5. Sprinkler Systems: Installing motion-activated sprinklers can deter doves with unexpected bursts of water when they approach.

These preventative measures can minimize the attractiveness of your property to doves and help maintain a harmonious coexistence.

Relocation and Encouraging Nest Relocation

In some cases, you might find it necessary to relocate doves from your property, but it’s essential to do this humanely and ethically. Here are some steps to consider when relocating doves:

  1. Consult Local Authorities: Before attempting any relocation, contact local wildlife authorities or organizations to understand the legal requirements and regulations concerning the capture and relocation of doves. In many regions, you may need permits or guidance for this process.
  2. Seek Professional Assistance: If you’re uncertain about capturing and relocating doves, it’s advisable to enlist the help of wildlife experts or rehabilitators. They have the experience and knowledge to handle doves safely and ensure their well-being during the relocation process.
  3. Provide Alternative Nesting Sites: If doves have built nests in inconvenient locations, consider providing alternative nesting sites away from your property. Install birdhouses or nesting boxes designed specifically for doves and other bird species. By offering a more suitable nesting option, you can encourage doves to relocate voluntarily.
  4. Gradual Displacement: To avoid causing undue stress to doves, you can gradually discourage their presence. This may involve temporarily covering preferred nesting sites or making them less accessible until the doves seek alternative locations on their own.
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Remember that relocating doves should only be considered when all other humane methods have been exhausted, and it should be done with the utmost care and consideration for the birds’ welfare.

Habitat Modification

Modifying your property’s environment to discourage doves is an effective and humane approach to dove control. Here are some habitat modification strategies to consider:

  1. Reduce Water Sources: Doves, like all birds, require water for drinking and bathing. Minimize accessible water sources in your garden, such as bird baths or standing water containers.
  2. Limit Sheltered Areas: Doves often seek sheltered spots for nesting and roosting. Remove or block off potential nesting sites, like eaves, ledges, and awnings. This can deter them from making your property their home.
  3. Plant Deterrent Landscaping: Select plants and shrubs that are less appealing to doves for landscaping. Avoid species that produce berries or seeds doves favor. Prickly or spiky plants can also make certain areas less inviting for nesting.
  4. Use Visual and Auditory Deterrents: Deploy visual repellents like scarecrows, reflective objects, or owl decoys in your garden. Additionally, motion-activated noise deterrents that mimic the sounds of predators or distress calls of other birds can deter doves from settling in the area.

By creating an environment less hospitable to doves, you can encourage these birds to find alternative locations for nesting and roosting, reducing the need for more direct control measures. Habitat modification is a humane and sustainable approach to dove management that respects the birds and their natural behavior.

Noise and Visual Deterrents

Incorporating noise and visual deterrents can be an effective and non-lethal method to discourage doves from frequenting your property. These techniques leverage doves’ natural wariness to make your environment less inviting:

  1. Auditory Deterrents: Various sound-emitting devices are designed to create discomfort or fear in doves. These devices can emit sounds of predator calls, distress calls of other birds, or loud, unexpected noises. The unpredictability of these sounds can deter doves from roosting and nesting in the area.
  2. Visual Repellents: Using visual deterrents like scarecrows, shiny objects, or owl decoys can make doves feel vulnerable. Reflective items, such as aluminum foil strips or CDs hung around your garden, can startle doves with sudden flashes of light or movement. Placing these deterrents near areas where doves are problematic can help keep them at bay.
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It’s essential to note that the effectiveness of noise and visual deterrents may diminish over time as doves become accustomed to these stimuli. For the best results, it’s recommended to periodically change the location and type of deterrents to maintain their effectiveness.

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Legal Considerations

Respecting local and national laws and regulations is paramount when dealing with dove control. Many countries and regions have specific rules in place to protect wildlife, and these laws extend to doves and other bird species. Here are some key legal considerations:

  1. Contact Local Authorities: Before implementing any control measures, consult local wildlife authorities or organizations. They can provide guidance on the legal requirements and regulations specific to your area.
  2. Permits and Licenses: In some cases, capturing, relocating, or handling doves may require permits or licenses. Ensure you have the necessary permissions before taking any action.
  3. Humane Practices: Laws often stipulate that control measures must be carried out humanely and without causing unnecessary harm to the birds. This reinforces the importance of using non-lethal methods and considering the welfare of doves.
  4. Protected Species: Be aware that some dove species may be protected by law, making it illegal to harm or interfere with them. Familiarize yourself with the species in your area and their legal status.

By understanding and adhering to legal requirements and ethical principles, you can ensure that your actions are in compliance with wildlife protection laws while effectively managing dove-related concerns.


In our exploration of humane dove control methods, we’ve highlighted the significance of coexisting with these gentle birds while addressing potential issues they may cause. By understanding dove behavior and implementing non-lethal techniques, you can peacefully and ethically manage dove populations and reduce conflicts with these feathered neighbors.

It’s important to remember that doves, like all wildlife, play integral roles in our ecosystems, and their presence should be respected and conserved. Whether you’re preventing doves from becoming a nuisance, encouraging them to relocate, or modifying their habitat, humane practices ensure that these birds can thrive while minimizing their impact on your surroundings.

In conclusion, as we share our spaces with doves, let’s approach dove control with compassion, responsibility, and a commitment to preserving the beauty and balance of our shared natural world.

About the author

Victoria Nelson

Victoria Nelson is a passionate gardener with over a decade of experience in horticulture and sustainable gardening practices. With a degree in Horticulture, she has a deep understanding of plants, garden design, and eco-friendly gardening techniques. Victoria aims to inspire and educate gardeners of all skill levels through her engaging articles, offering practical advice drawn from her own experiences. She believes in creating beautiful, biodiverse gardens that support local wildlife. When not writing or gardening, Victoria enjoys exploring new gardens and connecting with the gardening community. Her enthusiasm for gardening is infectious, making her a cherished source of knowledge and inspiration.

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