Pigeon droppings are dangerous to humans

Pigeon droppings are dangerous to humans

A pigeon drinks water in Bern, August 2023.

Do pigeons carry diseases?Image: Cornerstone

Pigeons have a bad reputation. In many places they are considered carriers of disease. But is it? Is pigeon droppings dangerous for people and other animals? Explanations.

Jennifer Buchholz / t-online

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According to the BGI, a variety of microorganisms have been found in pigeon droppings. In addition to bacteria, these may include fungi and yeast. The causative agent of parrot disease (Chlamydophila psittaci) can often be found in pigeon droppings. Therefore, bird droppings are dangerous for humans and other animals.

Noticed: Pathogens are found not only in droppings. They can also stick to the feathers. If pigeons fly away, bacteria and fungi spread through the air.

Is pigeon droppings dangerous?

Pigeon droppings are dangerous if they contain a pathogen. In addition, it must be absorbed directly by the person, which usually occurs either through the respiratory tract or mucous membranes.

If you become infected with bacteria or fungus through feces, you should avoid contact with other people. Indeed, in most cases, pathogens are transmitted from one person to another, and sometimes even from person to animal.

In addition to pathogens, pigeon droppings can be contaminated with mold. By inhalation or absorption through mucous membranes, they can also cause disease in humans and animals. There is no health risk if you simply walk by or see pigeon droppings.

Moreover, pigeon droppings are also dangerous for materials. Especially the mold that grows there. It corrodes almost all surfaces, even metal ones.

Is fresh bird droppings more contagious?

Fresh pigeon droppings are more contagious than dried ones.. This is mainly due to the fact that UV rays have a bactericidal effect. Additionally, most pathogens can only survive in moist environments. This means that if it rains and the sun doesn’t shine, the pathogens in pigeon droppings are likely still very active and therefore contagious.

Symptoms of pigeon droppings infestation

When infected with a pathogen found in bird droppings, the following symptoms may appear:

  • Nausea
  • Cramping abdominal pain
  • Vomit
  • Respiratory tract diseases (cough, difficulty breathing)

It is best to consult a doctor. This will allow you to determine exactly where your infection is coming from and what measures are best to take.


Pigeon droppings damage more than just materials. They can also pose a health hazard. Indeed, there are many bacteria, yeasts and fungi living there, which can, in particular, cause intestinal and respiratory diseases. Therefore, under certain circumstances, pigeon droppings are dangerous to people and animals.

Translation and adaptation by Chiara Lecca.

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