What diseases do pigeons carry?

Pigeons themselves do not carry many diseases people need to worry about. Unlike other nuisance animals that can pass along deadly ailments like rabies or leptospirosis, birds are not carriers for these types of bacterial or viral infections. That's not to say birds don't have a host of their own potential health issues, but it does mean the risk for people handling birds is relatively low. Of the diseases you can get from directly handling pigeons, salmonella and psittacosis are the most worrisome. Indirect diseases are actually more common when it comes to diseases and pigeons. Pigeon waste is known to host two potentially dangerous forms of fungus. These spores can cause respiratory diseases like histoplasmosis and cryptococcosis. All in all, bird droppings are far worse than actual direct contact with pigeons. Studies show pigeon droppings can facilitate up to 60 potential zoonotic infections.

Go back to the New York City Bird Control home page.