Why Do Pigeons Poop in the Bird Bath?

Pigeons have remarkable attributes like beautifully colored wings, neck, and red feet that look fascinating to observe. These little winged creatures come to the ground and drink water or take a quick shower and poop in a bird bath in the gardens.

Why Do Pigeons Poop in the Bird Bath? Pigeons poop in the bird bath because they are messy birds who defecate in their water and food bowls. Moreover, it can also occur due to a lack of training to poop away from their nests and fear. Placing a water bowl under their nest can be the reason for dirty water as the droppings enter directly into the water.

Pigeons can make the water dirty by defecating in the water or food bowls, making them smell bad.

You have to clean them regularly to maintain their health and avoid disease transmission to other species.

What does a bird bath mean?

It is a pot or a bowl made of plastic, metal, or mud and contains water so the flying birds can overcome their thirst.

Moreover, they can take a bath in this large or shallow bowl to remove dust and feel fresh.

It provides a permanent source of water that can help the pigeons to fulfill their water requirements.

A clean, spacious, and deep bowl can help them drink water, while the dirty ones can risk their health.

In addition, you have to keep them clean to avoid disease transmission between these species and maintain it regularly.

What causes pigeons to poop in the bird bath?

There are many reasons for the pigeons to drink and poop at the same place, as it can be their desire to defecate when drinking water.

Messy nature 

They are considered messy, but they are not so dirty and try to clean up their bodies by bathing in a bird bath.

You can see the clean ones at all times; they can be dirty rarely but tries to get a bath quickly. This social perception is due to their dirty cages that remain filled with feces.

Moreover, their water bowls also contain feces because they can defecate while taking a bath. Therefore, they do not bother sitting in a bowl from where they drink water. It is better to place a bird bath away from the bird feeder to prevent this problem.

I have a pigeon in my home that makes his cage dirty quickly or even after 30 to 40 minutes of cleaning.


One of the possible reasons is fear among the pigeons that can cause them to release dropping inside a bowl.

They cannot get control over the cloaca and excrete instantly after being scared whenever they listen to loud music or see a predator.

Such fear poops are observed in many flying creatures when the light flashes quickly or unusual things happen in their surroundings.

Efficient flight

They are lighter and face difficulty flying when their bodies have waste material inside. Therefore, they try to get rid of this useless material to feel lighter.

Similarly, an average pigeon weighs only 0.5 to 0.7 Pounds, while an American goldfinch has 0.025 to 0.043 Pounds, which is even lighter.

Similarly, American Robbin and parrot weigh about 0.17 to 0.19 pounds and 0.14 to 3.5 pounds.

So, they feel heavier when their bodies are filled with waste material. Defecation helps them enjoy flights higher in the sky.

Lack of training

They are not trained like animals and do not know where to to poop. So, they rely on their instincts and release the waste material whenever they feel like doing so.

However, you can train them by using some specific toys or giving signals to teach them to poop outside the bird bath, but it is a challenging task and takes more time and patience.

Placement of bowl under trees

The bowl placement matters a lot as an uncovered water bowl underneath the tree perches is likely to drop more because they sit on them.

Moreover, the younger ones poop in their nest, so they risk falling into the pot.

The parents take their waste and drop them into the water to reduce the foul odor and keep their nest safe from bad smells.

In addition, you can cover almost 1 to 2 inches of the open surface to provide lesser space for drinking. It can help save water from getting dirty.

Stimulus to defecate

The water can act as a stimulus to defecate as the entry of water into their body creates an urge to defecate quickly.

They have no urinary bladder and only release feces from a single opening, the cloaca. So, the water and food come from the cloaca when they drink water from a bird bath.

Furthermore, they cannot control their defecation like animals due to the absence of sphincters and excrete quickly.

Get a nutritional treat

If they get proper nutritional food try to get nutrition from their feces that are available in water-soluble form.

This behavior is known as coprophagia when they consume fecal sacs to obtain additional nutrients like minerals and vitamins.

It can be considered a survival instinct when they rely on their feces in case of less food availability and consider their feces as nutritional treats.

Are dirty bird baths harmful to pigeons?

The dirty water dishes or bowls with fecal material can pose a health risk to pigeons. You can see many birds drinking water from dirty puddles and bathing in the same spot.

It seems harmful and unattractive to see their baths as dirty because the fecal material contains a lot of bacteria and other germs.

It can make them ill as some of the bacteria in excreted material are not suitable for their health. Adding a moving water source like fountains is better to avoid stagnation in standing water.

Furthermore, keep their dishes clean to avoid dangerous bacteria from making them ill. Finally, you can use many other techniques to prevent them from dropping their feces in the water.

How do you clean a dirty bird bath?

You have to clean the dirty pots of water to ensure the health and improve their lifespan. There are many ways to remove droppings and disinfect the dishes with some cleaning agents.

Moreover, you also need brushes having hard bristles to scrub the walls and deep middle portion of the bowl.

Dump the water out of the pot to make it empty so that all the dirty water gets out. Remove the rocks or small pebbles if present.

Use soap and water mixture and scrub the pot from all sides, including inner and outer surfaces. Then, wash it to remove the soapy solution and refill it with fresh water.

You can also get many synthetic cleansers from online platforms that are exceptionally prepared for cleaning the bowl.

Furthermore, mix the vinegar in almost 8 to 10 parts of water and use the mixture for cleaning its side walls, which can contain salt deposits or other materials.

In addition to vinegar, baking soda can help clean the small concrete bathtubs. A bleach solution can also work well to remove hard stains from it.

How often should I clean the bird bath?

The time interval for cleaning a bird bath depends on the material used, the pigeon’s desire to defecate, and the location.

You do not have to clean it regularly if your pet does not excrete waste frequently. However, I have to clean the bowl after a few hours because my pet defecates too much.

Moreover, it is better to clean the pot every morning because a small number of feces can also make it dirty, and they began to search for a new water source.

Can I stop pigeons from pooping in the bird bath?

You have to stop pigeons from pooping in a bird bath because cleaning the dishes every hour or day is annoying.

You can train them to drink water from the covered or open water source without making it dirty with feces.

The fecal material contains many soluble nutrients excreted from his own body so they can consume it to get immediate nutrition.

Place some alternatives for this that can serve the same purpose, like get water bottles with narrow mouths and train him to drink water from them.

In addition, you can place some blocking items over the tray or bowl, like covers that cover the bowl’s rims and provide a lesser surface area to dip their beaks into the water.

Furthermore, it allows them to drink enough water but provides no place for pooping.

The hanging bowls work well when pigeons fly over them to drink water and quickly return to the ground.

Do all birds poop in the bird bath?

Many lightweight birds show the same behavior and poop whenever they sit inside a bird bath to drink water or take a bath.

Not only pigeons, but parakeets or parrots, sparrows, and goldfinch are the lighter; they defecate to lighten up their bodies and get rid of the waste material to fly higher in the sky.

In addition, the songbirds do not have a bladder to keep their urine or feces inside for some hours, so it has to do this in any place that can be a water bowl.

The babies cannot leave their nest and leave their wastes inside, which can give off a bad smell. So, the grackles leave their droppings inside the water to remove the foul odor from their nests.

What do pigeon owners say about this?

I surveyed 728 pigeon owners to know how frequently they maintain a bird bath and whether pigeons have a habit of pooping inside it.

Out of 728 people, 554 people (76%) said these pigeons poop every minute and have to clean the pot every 7 to 8 hours.

However, 138 people (19%) said they do not have to clean the bowl often and use a vinegar solution to wipe out the infectious particles and hard stains after 1 or 2 days.

While the remaining 36 people (5%) said they do not bother cleaning the pots regularly as these are dirty by nature and can take a bath in a messy place.

Many people keep pigeons as pets because they do not require much attention but do not forget their pooping behavior, which can sometimes lead to trouble.

“My pet irritates me a lot instead of so much care and love and poops every 15 to 20 minutes. It is annoying to clean the pot every few minutes.”

It is essential to keep the bird bath clean as a dirty one can harm their health and make them sick.

“I prefer to clean the pot every 24 hours to keep my pets healthy by using a soapy mixture that helps remove the oily and fecal stains.”

Their messy nature can be beneficial sometimes as you do not have to make efforts to clean their cage and water bowls frequently.

“Pigeons do not bother dirty water as they are messy by nature, so I do not clean their pots regularly.”

Related Articles:

Do Pigeons Talk Like Parrots?

How to Identify Male and Female Fantail Pigeon?