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Pigeon problems: If you kill them, more will come | Bird•B•Gone Blog

Pigeon problems: If you kill them, more will come

Why installing physical bird deterrents is a better bet for effective bird control.

Article Shared From: The Johnson City Press

Published February 6, 2012
By Amanda Marsh- Press Staff Writer

They’ll be back.

That’s what some are saying about the problematic pigeon population at the Washington County Courthouse in downtown Jonesborough.

In an effort to prevent the birds from roosting at the historic building, Jonesborough’s Historic Zoning Commission voted to remove the louvers from the backside of the building so there would be less places for the birds to gather and bird spikes were also placed on several ledges of the courthouse. Last month, county officials also decided to allow the USDA Wildlife Services Division to administer a toxicant to the birds that will kill them in one to three days.

Laura Simon, field director of urban wildlife for the Humane Society of the United States, says these steps will not rid the building of its pigeon plight.

“The solution they have chosen is absolutely senseless and biologically inappropriate,” Simon said. “If you poison them, more pigeons are going to fly in and use the structure.”

Fred Alsop, an ornithologist and professor of biological sciences at East Tennessee State University, is under a similar impression and says pigeons can reproduce two to three times during a breeding season and a flock can grow as large as the habitat will support.

“If you’re doing something to remove them, you haven’t removed the habit that brought them there to begin with,” he said. “If you eliminate this population, it won’t be long until they show up again. Killing them is usually a short-term solution.”

The Humane Society office in Connecticut where Simon works has received at least 15 calls from community members who she said were upset, distressed and didn’t want to see the birds harmed so they asked what they could do to help the situation.

“They shared our views that this is a completely misguided approach,” Simon said.

The Humane Society is sending a letter to county officials offering to work with them for a better approach. Simon says the organization deals with similar pigeon problems on a regular basis and often works with communities for a long-term solution. In this case, she recommends that the county purchase black netting, which she says has been used at a number of historical buildings.

“If installed properly, there would be no danger to the building and it would be a very aesthetic and long-term solution,” Simon said.

County officials agreed to spend $2,200 for the toxicant that the USDA Wildlife Services Division will administer to the birds over a two-month period. They also looked at several other more costly options like a contraceptive, netting and a harsher toxicant.

Simon suggests that in the long run, it would be wiser for the county to deal with the source of the problem instead of the system by investing more funds into an effective exclusion product.

“When you invest in netting or other exclusion productions, it’s long term, you’re done,” she said. “You install the proper device and you can walk away. When you poison now, it’s going to be continual. The cycle will never end. We have no shortage of pigeons in this country.”

Alsop said he was also in favor of the county utilizing exclusion products in order to provide a more permanent fix.

“If you haven’t altered the habitat and it was good for pigeons now and in the past, it will be good for the next group of pigeons,” he said. “If it’s going to be the taxpayers’ money, might as well do it the right way.”





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