Shooting pigeons on your roof can cause harm to animals owned by others. Plus, you can damage your and their property if you aren’t cautious about shooting pigeons. And different countries have different laws in place regarding the issue.
So the question arises, can I shoot pigeons on my roof? Is it legal or illegal (US & UK law)? The US law protects all bird species except for only three. And feral pigeons are one of them. The UK law says that killing wild birds like pigeons is illegal. And property owners should possess specific licenses before shooting pigeons.
We will elaborate on this topic to give you a clear picture of the regulations regarding pigeon shooting. Let’s get started.
Can I Shoot Pigeons on My Roof? What Does the US Law Say?
There are two aspects of shooting pigeons on one’s property, such as on the roof or in the backyard. The USA signed the Migratory Bird Treaty Act in 1918 to protect migratory birds. According to this act, killing or capturing migratory birds is illegal.
Five species of pigeons are listed as migratory birds in this act. So, you can’t shoot them even if they are messing around on your roof. The problem is you can’t easily identify which pigeon species you are shooting.
If they fall under the protected category, you can bring problems by shooting pigeons on your roof.
Feral pigeons, however, are outside the list. So, you can shoot feral pigeons on your roof.
But homing pigeons can’t be shot even on your property. If the owner of the pigeon goes to court, you can face imprisonment and/or other penalties.
That brings us to the second issue, which is firearm discharge. In most states, discharging a firearm near residences is considered unlawful. If there are people or other animals around, you can harm them while shooting pigeons.
Even if no one is around, you can damage the house, and the home insurance may not cover that damage. Firing a weapon is only justified when intruders try to enter your property.
What Are the Firearm Discharge Laws in the US?
Though keeping firearms is common in the United States, you need to abide by specific regulations regarding the discharge. The statues are pretty complex, and they can vary depending on the state. So, here is a general idea.
In most states, operating a firearm in an area where other citizens can get injured or killed is strictly prohibited. You can’t even shoot a firearm to disturb or threaten someone. So, if you shoot pigeons with a firearm, you better find an area where no one is around.
Can I Shoot Pigeons on My Roof? Is It Illegal In the UK?
In chapter 69 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, harming or killing wild birds is illegal in the UK. But the Department of Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs has a licensing system to allow property owners to drive pigeons away.
You don’t have to apply for a license. But the terms of the law should be followed while taking pigeons off your roof or property.
According to the regulations, you should use non-lethal actions first to drive pigeons away. For example, spraying water or creating loud noises can be the first step.
But if you are unable to drive pigeons away, only then you ycan shoot pigeons on your roof.
Different types of licenses are applicable for different parts of the UK. Here is a quick list for your convenience.
- GL41 and GL42 licenses allow property owners in England to kill feral and wood pigeons on their property. This should be done only to prevent the spread of diseases or damage to livestock or crops.
- In Scotland, GL02 and GL03 licenses should be followed before shooting pigeons on one’s roof.
- Wales has GL001 and GL002 licenses that property owners must follow before shooting pigeons.
- Northern Ireland licenses are TPG1 and TPG2, which should be followed before taking pigeons down.
What Are the Firearm Discharge Laws in the UK?
Even if you are an authorized person according to the above licenses, you need to think twice before shooting pigeons. This is because operating a firearm is illegal in the UK if your property is within fifty feet of any carriageway.
You have to have a proper reason or valid permission to operate a firearm within the area. And if you enter a public place with a firearm by any chance, you will be guilty of breaking Section 19 under the Firearms Act in the UK.
If a public walkway is nearby your property or crosses your property, you can’t shoot firearms even within your property without valid reasons. Endangering other residents or pedestrians is illegal under the Town Police Clauses Act 1847.
How Can I Shoot Pigeons on My Roof Then?
As the laws in both countries prohibit killing pigeons with firearms in most cases, you have one option left to drive pigeons away. That is using a BB gun to shoot pigeons. These guns are also known as pellet guns. When shot, they discharge small plastic pellets that are enough to scare pigeons away.
They won’t cause any harm to nearby residents, animals, or properties. So, you can use a pellet gun to shoot pigeons in the United States. Still, you should check your local regulations before shooting pigeons with a pellet gun.
And for the UK, you might still need to adhere to the licensing system. No matter what you use for shooting pigeons, you should be an authorized person to do so.
What Are the Alternatives to Shooting Pigeons?
If you can’t shoot pigeons on your roof because of the law, you have other options to choose from. Here are some humane alternatives to keep pigeons away.
- You can install spikes on the roof to prevent pigeons from flocking on the roof. Once they find the place isn’t safe, they will fly away
- Take down nests to discourage pigeons from roosting on your roof
- Other deterrents, such as decoys or repellent gels, can be used to drive pigeons away without shooting
Check the answers to frequently asked questions about shooting pigeons.
A: It depends on the capacity of the gun, shooting distance, and target selection. If you use a BB gun with enough power and target the head of the bird, it could kill pigeons.
A: You need to use an airgun with muzzle energy under 12 ft-lb to shoot pigeons. Anything more than that can be considered a lethal firearm.
A: Yes. Unless it is a migratory bird and you perform an unlawful firearm discharge, you can shoot pigeons in your garden in the US. However, to do the same in the UK, you will need to follow the licensing regulations.
Pigeons are abundant in the US and the UK. They often cause annoying situations for homeowners, and many get tempted to shoot them with firearms. But doing so can bring legal problems, both in the US and the UK.
We checked the regulations in both countries to answer the questions, can I shoot pigeons on my roof? Is it legal or illegal? (US & UK law). As the regulations can vary slightly depending on your area, check the local regulations before shooting pigeons on your roof.