Pigeon Coexistence Plan
Originally designed for the City of San Jose, CA
Conflicts between pigeons and humans have increased as the populations of both have grown. The feral pigeon is the species most often blamed for causing problems in urban areas throughout the world with their droppings that deface buildings and increase the cost of maintenance. Access to garbage in and around food establishments and extensive public feeding also contributes to their rising populations.
Towns and cities throughout the world provide excellent nesting sites for the birds. The ledges of buildings and support structures of bridges and highway systems resemble the rocky outcroppings of cliffs, which are the natural habitat of wild pigeons.
Most complaints about pigeons are nuisance in nature, owing to the birds’ roosting habits and droppings. But undoubtedly, pigeons bring life and add ambience to a city. Often, pigeons are the only form of life in otherwise bleak urban landscapes. Places like Venice, the Vatican Square and Paris would not have the same appeal or charm without pigeons.
Traditionally, pigeon control programs throughout the world have relied extensively on lethal methods like shooting, poisoning, trap and kill operations and the use of inhumane deterrents. With the exception of some deterrents, all of these methods have failed to reduce bird numbers.
Although lethal methods have been shown to offer temporary relief where removals have occurred, it only treats the symptoms and not the underlying cause, which makes it impractical as a permanent solution. Moreover, lethal methods can actually exacerbate the situation because pigeon numbers have been shown to increase in response to lethal population control (Haag-Wackernagel 1992).
Many older, non-breeding birds are removed during these operations, increasing the chances for survival in the younger breeding stock that remains. Another consideration is that the public has expressed a strong distaste for lethal methods, and their continued use will inevitably prove to be a public relations nightmare for communities.
Most pest control companies still advise clients that lethal pigeon control is an option to consider. It would seem that pest control companies have a vested commercial interest in recommending lethal control because it will inevitably result in an indefinite contract, due to the fact that pigeon numbers can increase above pre-cull figures in a matter of a few weeks subsequent to the initial cull.
Furthermore, they misleadingly advertise that the poison they use to bait the birds also acts as a taste deterrent, and because it sickens them, that they will not return to the area. Research shows that taste deterrents do not work with birds, nor do they keep them away from an area.
Short description of our program
1. Site Evaluation
We partner with city officials, and other interested parties to assess the pigeon situation. A detailed plan of action is drafted that identifies which measures to take, where to focus efforts, and which personnel to engage. Deterrents (not all deterrents are humane) and exclusion devices, proven to be effective, will be recommended to prevent roosting in problem areas.
2. Artificial Breeding Facilities
Will be installed if needed, to divert pigeons to predetermined sites away from buildings and public-use areas.
3. Birth Control
In dense super-flocks, a reversible birth control bait will be used to gradually reduce the population to more tolerable levels.