Sunday, December 30, 2007

Illegal Avitrol Used to Control Pigeons in Worcester, Mass.

Article published Dec 30, 2007
Nonlethal means touted for nuisance bird control
Chemical Avitrol causes pigeons great suffering

By Danielle M. Williamson

In her nine years helping sick and injured wildlife, Sigrid Warren had never seen anything like what she witnessed this summer and fall. First, the Gardner woman tried to save two pigeons that violently seized and convulsed. A few weeks later, she came to the aid of a mourning dove with half of its tail ripped out, unable to walk. Meanwhile, colleagues saw pigeons, a sparrow and a blue jay drop from the sky. In October, the city’s animal control officer brought her a ruffed grouse that had flown into a store window and died. After unsuccessful attempts to save the birds, Mrs. Warren learned that several downtown businesses had hired a pest control company to use chemical-treated corn kernels to rid their rooftops of pesky pigeons. Suddenly, the previously baffling bird injuries made sense.

“I’m not trying to advocate that we have 10,000 pigeons in town,” said Mrs. Warren, a certified wildlife rehabilitator. “But animals — not just pigeons — that get into Avitrol can die miserable deaths.”

Mrs. Warren can’t prove that the unusually high number of bird deaths, or the disappearance of the hawk that normally watches over her backyard, are directly attributable to a chemical that pest control companies use to control nuisance birds. Necropsies are costly, and she already had disposed of some of the birds before she learned that Avitrol could have been a factor. From her experience, however, she suspects that some of the birds ate the treated corn, became disoriented, and suffered fatal injuries by flying into cars and windows, or by becoming vulnerable to attack.

Waltham Services, a pest control company permitted by the state to use Avitrol, says the right mixture of the chemical with corn kernels is an effective means of keeping pigeons away from the roofs of clients, but acknowledged that its sometimes lethal effects makes it a less than an ideal solution.

Even the Environmental Protection Agency, which regulates Avitrol, notes in a September report that the chemical poses “an acute risk” to nontarget species, including hawks.

Wildlife rehabilitators and an international organization that offers pigeon control solutions tout nonlethal options to ultimately reduce the pigeon population, and question why Avitrol, which is banned throughout much of Europe and in New York City, is legal here.

Worcester, meanwhile, has naturally reduced its flock of Canada geese, which, like pigeons, are annoying mainly because of their frequent defecation on public property. “Avitrol doesn’t reduce the pigeon population at all, and we’ve never used it to kill off a flock,” said Richard C. Berman, technical manager for Waltham Services. “Basically, we’re moving the problem from point A to point B.”

The mixture of harmless and chemically treated corn is meant to frighten away pigeons that see other members of their flock become distressed from it. Mr. Berman said that while his company offers nonlethal pigeon control solutions, including netting and bird spikes, Avitrol is the most popular because it is the least expensive.

Gardner officials estimate at least 24 pigeons died over the late summer and early fall, while Waltham Services had permits from the state Division of Fisheries & Wildlife to place Avitrol-treated corn kernels at popular pigeon roosting areas.

The company is still using Avitrol in Gardner, but the city has not seen multiple deaths since the fall. Mr. Berman said at the time it was unusual to see so many deaths, especially since his company has been working in Gardner for years. Typically, there are more deaths when a pest control company starts a program, he said.

Since there is no requirement for pest control companies, clients or the state to notify municipalities of the ongoing use of Avitrol, Gardner officials could not immediately explain the deaths. The problem mirrored an incident in Milford in summer 2004, when, unknown to town officials, Milford Regional Medical Center hired a company to use Avitrol, and handfuls of pigeons died in the hospital parking lot.

“We must have tested seven or eight pigeons for West Nile virus,” said Milford Health Agent Paul A. Mazzuchelli. “When people found out it was Avitrol, there was a public outcry.” Milford has since used Avipel, touted as a nonlethal repellant, to keep pigeons away from its bell tower at Town Hall.

Guy Merchant, founder of the nonprofit Pigeon Control Advisory Service, based in the United Kingdom, works with cities and towns throughout the world to naturally reduce the pigeon population, and recently started advising New York City councilors.

Not only is Avitrol dangerous to the birds that feed near or prey on pigeons, but it is also an ineffective means of controlling pigeon problems in the long term, he said. “It staggers me that Avitrol’s allowed to be used as irresponsibly as it is in America,” Mr. Merchant said. “By using lethal means, all you’re doing is increasing flock size. The only beneficiaries are the pest control companies that offer the service.”

When pigeons lose members of their flock, their instinctive response is to “breed open-endedly” to bring flock size back, Mr. Merchant said. His 35 years of experience in the pigeon control field show him that pigeons that lose part of their flock to death will overcompensate, ultimately increasing the flock by 10 percent to 20 percent.

Pigeon Control Advisory Service recommends several solutions for pigeon control: discouraging residents from feeding the birds in congested areas, setting up feeding areas away from the downtown area, and erecting artificial breeding facilities. The group offers its consulting for free. The breeding facilities — 8-foot by 6-foot structures that resemble a garden shed — encourage pigeons to roost and feed in a controlled area. Volunteers, often wildlife rehabilitators, such as Mrs. Warren, go to the structures once a week to remove the pigeons’ eggs and replace them with dummy eggs, Mr. Merchant said.

An article published Feb. 9, 1993, in The New York Times documents the success of such facilities in Basel, Switzerland, starting in 1988. Led by a team of researchers, students and residents built nine pigeon lofts from which they removed 1,200 eggs a year. After 50 months, the pigeon population had fallen 50 percent.

Worcester officials have reduced the city’s population of Canada geese by implementing a program similar to what Pigeon Control Advisory Service recommends for pigeon control. Neighborhood volunteers monitor the birds’ nests in the spring and put vegetable oil on the eggs, ensuring they don’t hatch. James G. Gardiner, acting director of health and human services, said this practice has reduced the city’s flock by 75 geese. “What a difference this has made with the concerts at Elm Park,” Mr. Gardiner said. The city also has a no-feeding ordinance, which has been effective because of an extensive education program, Mr. Gardiner said, adding the pigeon population has visibly decreased since the ordinance was created in spring 2006. Mr. Gardiner said Worcester has not used Avitrol, and believes that reducing the birds’ feeding sources is one of the best long-term solutions.

Mrs. Warren, meanwhile, is hoping for a time when the downtown Gardner area she now calls “the kill zone,” is free of Avitrol, and she doesn’t have to fear for the lives of songbirds and hawks. Gardner Animal Control Officer Lisa A. Gaudet, who took injured pigeons and birds to wildlife rehabilitators, said she felt horrible that Mrs. Warren spent hours trying to help the animals, only to find there was no way to save them. “I’m sure people who feel they have no choice but to use it (Avitrol) would be willing to consider other options if there was a plan in place,” Ms. Gaudet said.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Pigeon Birth Control

Hollywood’s Pigeons To Get The Pill
27 December, 2007

(AP) Hollywood residents believe they’ve found a humane way to reduce their pigeon population and the messes the birds make: the pill.

Over the next few months a birth control product called OvoControl P, which interferes with egg development, will be placed in bird food in new rooftop feeders.

“We think we’ve got a good solution to a bad situation,” said Laura Dodson, president of the Argyle Civic Association, the group leading the effort to try the new contraceptive. “The poop problem has become unmanageable and this could be the answer.”

Community leaders planned to announce the OvoControl P pilot program, which Dodson believes is the first of its kind in the nation, at a news conference Monday.

Dodson said representatives from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals contacted her group with the idea to use OvoControl P. Other animal rights groups, including the Humane Society of the United States, support the contraceptive over electric shock gates, spiked rooftops, poisons or other methods.

It’s estimated about 5,000 pigeons call the area home. Their population boom is blamed in part on people feeding the birds, including a woman known as the Bird Lady, who was responsible for dumping 25-pound bags of seed in 29 spots around Hollywood.

OvoControl P has been registered with the state Department of Pesticide Regulation and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Developed by Rancho Santa Fe-based Innolytics, the substance contains nicarbazin, which interferes with an egg’s ability to develop or hatch, said Erick Wolf, Innolytics chief executive.

The pilot program was expected to show results within a year, and the Hollywood area’s pigeon population is expected to shrink by at least half by 2012, Dodson said.

Los Angeles is working on being the second city in the state to successfully reduce pigeon and squirrel populations by using birth control rather than killing the animals.

The LA Times reports that squirrel birth control known as GonaCon, which succeeded in cutting squirrel's birth rate by 66% in 2004 in Berkeley, was piloted in Palisades Park but then thwarted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture which deemed the park too small to continue the program.

In Hollywood, though, according to the Times, officials have high hopes for reducing the pigeon population and their tendency to "roost on utility lines, tree branches and elsewhere, depositing their droppings on cars, buildings and even residents" with a birth control method called OvoControl P, which the pigeons eat from feeders.

The pilot program is expected to start showing results within a year, as long as the pigeons consume the kibble once a day. If proven as effective as in previous studies, Hollywood's pigeon population is expected to shrink by at least 50% by 2012, according to the contraceptive's manufacturer.

Councilman Wants Birth Control for Pigeons

A councilman has a unique solution to reducing the pigeon population at the Staten Island ferry terminals: Put them on birth control. Councilman James Odd says OvoControl-P, a drug that renders pigeon eggs unhatchable, could help to thin out the pesky birds and thus the droppings they leave behind inside the terminals where they like to nest.

Oddo says the drug which would be mixed into standard seed has not yet been approved for pigeons by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. A similar product meant for geese was given the OK last month.

Source: Staten Island Advance.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Commissioner Thomas R. Frieden Responds to Pigeon Nettings

The New York Bird Club has received the following correspondence from Council Member Tony Avella (District 19) after he contacted the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene concerning the matter of illegal pigeon nettings occuring in the New York City area.

December 14, 2007

Honorable Tony Avella
Council Member, District 19
38-50 Bell Boulevard
Bayside, NY 11361

Re: Capturing of Pigeons

Dear Council Member Avella:

This correspondence is in response to your constituent, Anna Dove of the New York Bird Club, who is concerned about the capturing of pigeons, by people armed with nets on our streets. We apologize for our delay in response.

The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the Department of Environmental Protection, the Police Department, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and the American Society for the Protection and Care of Animals are coordinating our resources in an attempt to address this illegal activity.

At this time, any citizen observing the illegal netting of pigeons can report details of this act by dialing 311.

Thank you for taking the time to bring this matter to our attention.



Thomas R. Frieden, M.D., M.P.H.
Department of Health and Mental Hygiene
Office of the Commissioner

Monday, December 24, 2007

Pigeon War - Not Over by Christmas (London, England)

Pigeon War - Not Over by Christmas
December 23, 2007

On Monday 17th November 2003 feeding pigeons in London’s Trafalgar Square became illegal and anyone caught feeding the birds faced a prosecution and a £50 fine. The penalty fine has since been increased to £500.

In 2002, before the feeding ban was imposed, London’s mayor Ken Livingstone hired a pair of Harris Hawks to fly over the Square and scare the pigeons away. This measure cost £44,343 in 2002, their first year, rising to £78,241 in 2003/2004. In 2005/2006 they cost £38,160. Figures show that “Operation Harris Hawk” resulted in the deaths of 121 pigeons and cost tax-payers an average of £90 per bird and bringing the pigeon population of Trafalgar Square down by 121 could hardly be considered a large step forward in the science of pigeon management.
One wonders why the pigeon population has to be “managed” at all. Yes, they do make a mess but hardly more so than people dropping gum and litter in the Square. Surely the pigeons have been an integral part of Trafalgar Square for a century or more. Tourists expect to see them there. I remember standing in the Square as a small boy in the 1960s, with seed on my arms and being smothered in pigeons. I enjoyed the novel experience and I remember getting “hit” a few times by pigeon poo. My father told me that it was “lucky” and that whenever it happened I should make a wish. I survived the poo. I didn’t catch any nasty diseases and lived on to tell the story forty years later.

Since 2003 the perceived wisdom of banning pigeon-feeding has been adopted by councils throughout the land and people have even been fined for feeding birds in their own back gardens. In 2006 Portsmouth City Council managed to fine Ruth Shorter £100 for a “littering offence”. She was dropping bird seed for pigeons near her home. She was taken to court and had to pay an additional £250 in costs. The court heard how Mrs Shorter suffered from depression but took “great pleasure” in feeding the pigeons. One wonders how much the NHS is paying to treat her depression now that she is unable to feed the birds.

When the ASBO (Anti-social Behaviour Order) was created we all rubbed our hands together with glee and imagined that at long last something would be done to curb badly behaved yobs. Little did we know that the new powers were to be used against Bernard Humbleton, a 66-year-old bird lover with terminal cancer and Graham Branfield who had the temerity to feed birds with left-overs in his own back garden. Oldham Council are considering an ASBO for Dawn Benson and Norma Hughes faces eviction if she continues to feed the birds in her front garden.
All over the country from Trowbridge to Derby councils are waging war against the humble pigeon. Why do some people hate pigeons so much?

Are we forgetting the valiant pigeons who have served their country in times of war? Should we stop feeding Chelsea Pensioners too? A pigeon called Gustav was the first to bring back news of D-Day to the UK. He was awarded the “Dickin Medal” along with 31 other pigeons; all birds that carried secret messages during WWII. Their story was recently made into a Hollywood film, “Valiant” staring Ewan MacGregor.

In 2004 the Princess Royal unveiled a memorial sculpture to the animals that served and died alongside British and allied troops and a batch of pigeons was released as a part of the unveiling ceremony. In the same year a Dicken medal awarded to a pigeon called “Commando” was auctioned in London.

A loophole in the law meant that until recently pigeons could be fed from the North side of Trafalgar Square but since this loophole was closed the pigeons have been dying in droves and this week an organisation called the “Pigeon Action Group” held a candlelight vigil in the Square for 2,500 birds. Post mortem tests have shown that the birds have been literally starving to death.

According to the BBC News today, Westminster Council’s efforts to ban feeding does not end with the birds. They are now trying to ban charities from running soup kitchens for homeless people and their typically “Orwellian” justification defies common sense. In a masterful piece of “doublespeak” they claim that it is the soup kitchens themselves which actually keep people on the streets; an interesting-sounding but plainly nonsensical intellectual justification for those minor local bureaucrats who already have warm homes and enough to eat but who would like to “eliminate” homeless people.

My only worry is that this attempt to “eliminate” could see our homeless people eventually suffering the same fate as the pigeons.

PICAS International To Cease Working with PeTA

This week PiCAS International made the difficult decision to bring its longstanding working relationship with the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PeTA USA) to a close as a result of differences in approach to the issue of pigeon control. For a number of years PiCAS International has supported the work of PeTA in the USA where the provision of non-lethal and humane pigeon control systems are concerned and PeTA has, in turn, recommended the PiCAS approach widely.

Recently, PeTA made the decision to back a new oral contraceptive drug, OvoControl P, designed for use with pigeons and produced by an American pharmaceutical company called Innolytics (please see posts dated August 4th and August 6th 2007). PiCAS International made it clear to PeTA that it could not and would not back the use of a pharmaceutical drug when tried and tested and completely safe methods of birth control already exist in the form of PiCAS’ own egg removal/replacement programme. Other, more worrying issues have been raised in respect of the long-term use of OvoControl P where resistance to one of the most common causes of pigeon mortality is concerned - coccidiosis (please see comments posted on the August 4th post).

Although PiCAS International will no longer be working in tandem with PeTA over the issue of pigeon control, the PiCAS group still wholeheartedly supports the work of PeTA in other sectors of wildlife control and indeed its work to promote and maintain wildlife habitats.


Sunday, December 23, 2007

We Didn't Mean For You to Find Out We Kill Birds (Washington, DC)

Sun Washington Post Staff Writer - Lena H.
Tuesday, July 31, 2007
We Didn't Mean for You to Find Out We Kill Birds

After word got around Sunday night that several Metro stations had been temporarily closed due to dozens of dead birds appearing around them, Metro officials spent the day yesterday trying to figure out how to explain away the fact that the mistake their contractor had made was not that they had poisoned the birds -- merely that they had poisoned the birds at the wrong time of day, and didn't have a chance to clean up the carcasses before commuters showed up.

In today's Post we see that news traveled quickly to the Humane Society of the United States, who quickly contacted Metro officials and said they'd like to help them find humane ways to keep birds out of stations.

Now Metro says they will consider changing their bird-killing policies. A Metro spokesperson explained that they contract with a local company, Dixon's Pest Control, on an as-needed basis and only as "a last resort" to get rid of birds after customers and employees complain about droppings. The agency says it also uses netting and spikes to control the bird population. Of three other major transit systems polled by the Post, none of them said they use poison to get rid of birds.

It's interesting to note the different standards we apply to different kinds of pests. No doubt far fewer people would object to poisoning rats, which are also a big problem for the city, but pigeons, which carry just as many diseases and leave behind even bigger messes -- well we can't just go killing them, now can we?

This isn't to suggest that we think Metro was right. If there are humane alternatives to keeping birds out of Metro stations, then they should be put in place. But based on the information that's come out since Sunday, it looks as though Metro has been quietly killing pigeons and other small birds when they felt they needed to for at least 15 years. Is it really that no one knew about this practice for all that time, or is it more likely that those who are objecting now are just upset about having seen a bunch of dead birds?

Consider Other Ways to Get Rid of Birds

Metro officials said yesterday they might reconsider their longtime policy of poisoning pigeons and starlings after a contractor failed to clean up dead birds at several Metro stations Sunday, closing three stations and stalling trains for hours. After hearing news reports about the poisoned birds, executives of the Humane Society of the United States contacted Metro officials yesterday and offered to discuss more humane ways to keep birds out of stations, according to Maggie Brasted, director of the society's urban wildlife conflict resolution program. "We want to bring them good practical solutions," she said.

"We think that using poison is not very humane." Paul Gillum, director of plant maintenance at Metro, said killing the birds "is not something Metro enjoys doing, but it's sometimes a necessity to provide proper service to our customers." But, he added, he plans to meet with the Humane Society experts. "If there's another way to do business, we will look at it and see if we can make changes."

Metro officials said they have contracted with Dixon's Pest Control of the District for the past 15 years on an as-needed basis to get rid of pesky birds after customers and employees complain about droppings. "Our employees and patrons don't like them being overhead, and there is a tendency for those droppings to get on our Farecard machines . . . and people don't like touching that stuff," Gillum said, adding that Metro uses the poison as a "last resort." The agency also uses netting and spikes to prevent large flocks of birds from roosting, he said.

None of three other major transit agencies contacted yesterday said they use poison to get rid of birds. Officials at the Los Angeles, New York and Philadelphia transit systems said they rely on netting and spikes as their primary methods of controlling nuisance birds. Asked whether New York officials use poison to control the legions of pigeons that flock to the subway, transit agency spokeswoman Deirdre Parker said: "Oh no, no, no, no, no. We would never be able to get away with it." Parker said officials rely on a mild electric shock to get rid of birds.

The poisoning process at Metro begins when the contractor sets out food for two to three weeks to attract birds to a particular location, Gillum said. Once that feeding area has been established, the contractor is supposed to bait the area early on a Sunday morning using Avitrol, a chemically treated bait. The contractor is supposed to monitor during this period to make sure "non-target species" of birds do not eat the poisoned bait, according to the contract. The contract also states that Dixon's is required to use "extreme care and caution" in the poison application "so as not to be hazardous to the health of human beings, warm blooded animals, or songbirds. In addition, food, ground water, or subterranean water, must not be contaminated."

On Sunday, the contractor told Metro officials that it put out poison at one bus garage and seven Metrorail stations: Silver Spring and Takoma on the Red Line, and Prince George's Plaza, Fort Totten, Greenbelt, Naylor Road and Anacostia on the Green Line. The contractor, which was supposed to be finished before 7 a.m., told Metro officials it did not begin until 7:30 a.m., Gillum said. Dead birds were reported at four of those stations: Takoma, Greenbelt, Naylor Road and Anacostia. Gillum said the contractor was able to pick up dead birds at some of the stations immediately but did not have time to go back to the other stations before authorities closed them because of the dead birds.

Metro officials said they could not explain why dead birds were found at two stations -- Branch Avenue and Rhode Island Avenue-Brentwood -- where the contractor had not put out poison.

In 2006, Metro hired Dixon nine times, paying between $213 and $4,000 each time, based on the amount of work. The company's owner, Robert Dixon, did not return a telephone call to his office yesterday. The reports of at least 60 dead birds triggered an immediate response from federal and local officials Sunday, and the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force also interviewed Dixon, according to Debbie Weierman, a spokeswoman for the FBI's Washington field office.

Gillum noted that Metro had worked successfully with the Humane Society several years ago to find an alternative to trapping and killing troublesome beavers at the Greenbelt Metro station. Metro ended up using a device known as the beaver deceiver, which tricks beavers into thinking their dams are not working and prompts them to leave, he said.

Staff researcher Meg Smith contributed to this report.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Commentary: Pigeons, People & Perceptions

Pigeons, people & perceptions
By Mickey Z.
Online Journal Contributing Writer
Nov 15, 2007, 00:14

New York City Councilman Simcha Felder is sick and tired of some Big Apple residents “doing whatever they do all over the city without anyone trying to stop it.” Is he talking about trigger-happy cops, double parked cab drivers, omnipresent terror suspects, loud cellphone users, or maybe corporate lawyers? Nope. Felder has his legislative eye on Columba livia, a.k.a. Rock Pigeon (the bird formerly known as Rock Dove).

According to, the Rock Pigeon is “originally from Europe, Northern Africa, and India” but was “introduced to North America in the 1600s.” Since then, of course, “numbers have increased significantly as more and more of our country is urbanized.”

To combat the seemingly urgent problem of urbanized pigeon droppings, the intrepid Councilman Felder plans to introduce legislation banning the feeding of Columba livia. To defy this ban would be to risk a $1,000 fine. (Interestingly, the Rock Pigeon is despised while conversely its all-white cousins -- the Dove -- remain a beloved symbol of peace. Could this be a case of avian racism?) Mayor Michael Bloomberg hasn’t yet endorsed the ban but did opine: “We do have a lot of pigeons and they do tend to foul a lot of our areas.”

Just for the hell of it, let’s replace the word “pigeons” with the word “corporations” in Bloomberg’s statement. Better fit, huh? How about if we just insert “humans”?

For some, the feral pigeon could be viewed as a nuisance. But in all the thousands of years Columba livia have dwelled on this planet, did any of them ever feel the need to invent, say, nuclear weapons? No Rock Dove created pesticides, napalm, Agent Orange, or the internal combustion engine; you can’t blame cigarettes, greenhouse gases, hydroelectric dams, waterboarding, or mercury-laced vaccinations on a pigeon; and rest assured no non-human conjured up zoos, animal experimentation, factory farming, or the rodeo.

Also in the news is James M. Stevenson, founder of the Galveston Ornithological Society. Stevenson is currently on trial in Texas, charged with fatally shooting a cat that he said was “stalking endangered shorebirds.” In his own defense, the bird-watching enthusiast said: “This is about wild species disappearing from your planet. I did what I had to do.” Apparently, that jury will hear no theories as to why so many wild species are disappearing from our planet.

Maybe Councilman Felder can blame that on the Rock Pigeon, too.

Copied with permission: Online Journal
Mickey Z. can be found on the Web at

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Friday, December 21, 2007

Pigeon-Ban Pusher Addresses Community Board 12 Meeting

Pigeon-ban pusher:‘I like pigeons’
By Matthew Wolfe
Courier Life Publications

City Councilmember Simcha Felder addresses CB 12 at a recent meeting.

City Councilmember Simcha Felder explained his rationale behind penalizing the public feeding of pigeons at a Community Board 12 meeting last week. Citing messiness and health danger, Felder said that while he supported the existence of pigeons he felt it important to keep their population growth in check.

“The proposal that I put forward is to ban feeding pigeons in public places” said Felder. “We don’t intend to eliminate pigeons in New York City or in the rest of the world.” Felder said he wouldn’t restrict the feeding of pigeons on private proper, he has reportedly said that he would like a $1,000 fine for the feeding of pigeons in public.

Felder has not yet introduced a bill, but has reportedly said that he will do in some time in December.

Felder suggested that he had scaled down his proposals from those offered in the report.

While Felder’s report recommends promoting the breeding of hawks to curb the pigeon population and the deployment of pigeon birth control - as well as appointing a city “Pigeon Czar” – he said at the meeting that he was currently “not into discussing” contraception and hawks but was only emphasizing the limitation of the bird’s food source.

The ASPCA and PETA, the animals organization, support his plan, Felder said, although for different reasons. The groups say that over-population is harmful to the species.

Communicable health risks involving pigeons all stem from contact with their excrement, Felder said. A recent report released by his office that outlined the reasons behind his plan, says the droppings can host such as ornithosis, encephalitis, Newcastle disease, cryptococcosis, toxoplasmosis, salmonella food poisoning and histoplasmosis. The reports says while the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene consider pigeon droppings to be only a nuisance, their literature cites the threat several diseases in the stool.

Due to the corrosive nature of their droppings, pigeons are estimated to cause approximately 1.1 billion in damage nationwide annually, the report said. According to a recent study, pigeons leave approximately 25 pounds of excrement over the course of a single year, or slightly more than one ounce a day. Pigeons are sufficiently supplied with food left out for them that they are unable to consume all of it. The remainder, Felder said, is often eaten by rats, allowing them to procreate and prosper.

Felder acknowledged to the Borough Park/Kensington residents present that while some may regard the blessings bestowed by the pigeons atop the elevated F-line as a good omen, he said others are less sanguine about receiving such a benediction.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Owl Howls Scare Pigeons on Parkway

Wednesday, December 19th 2007

That screeching noise coming from the Henry Hudson Parkway? It's not just tires and brakes.
The recorded squawks of owls are echoing through the parkway's toll plaza each day, driving off a plethora of pigeons that cooped (and pooped) all over the area for years. The owl howls - think scarecrows with speakers - boom from the Manhattan side of the bridge to the Bronx, adjacent to the tollbooths on the lower level.

The piped-in noise from the pigeons' natural predators is a huge success in keeping the area clean, said Joyce Mulvaney, spokeswoman for MTA Bridges and Tunnels. The pigeons created major problems at the toll plaza and its facility building, laying a coat of bird droppings on walkways, railings and window sills.

And the smell, despite the neighboring Hudson River, was intense.

Cue the machine. Shoo the pigeons.

"When the device goes off," Mulvaney said, "they scatter."
While the pigeons still do flybys, very few settle in for the long haul since the machine arrived two years ago.

The device, while piercing, is pigeon-friendly. The majority of the birds relocate from the toll plaza to nearby Inwood Park, a woodsy area perfect for pigeons.

The anti-pigeon program was less successful at the Midtown Tunnel, where the birds were chased away but the neighbors were driven crazy by the sounds, said Mulvaney.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Joseph Zeman Killed by Negligent Driver (Memorial planned)

A Chicago man widely known as "the Pigeon Man of Lincoln Square" was struck and killed by a van Tuesday afternoon on the Far North Side.

Joseph Zeman, 77, whose love of and attentiveness toward pigeons was detailed in a 2004 Tribune article, was hit by a 1992 Chevrolet van at Devon Avenue and McCormick Road about 2:15 p.m., police said. Zeman of the 2100 block of West Arthur Avenue was pronounced dead at 3:21 p.m. in St. Francis Hospital in Evanston, according to the Cook County medical examiner's office.

The van was "exiting a parking lot, made a right turn, did not see him and struck him," said Sgt. Antonio Baio of the Chicago police major accident investigation unit. He said a laminated copy of the Tribune article was found with Zeman, and a witness recognized him.

Zeman used to sit for hours on a fire hydrant near Lawrence and Western Avenues with dozens of pigeons perched on his head, shoulders and legs." Soon as I take a seat, they want to be loved and kissed like a mama's baby," Zeman was quoted in the Tribune article. "Like I'm their father, and they're my child."

The driver of the van, a Chicago man, 68, was ticketed for striking a pedestrian in the roadway/failure to exercise due care, negligent driving and driving an unsafe vehicle, Baio said.

Related articles:

Pigeon Man of Lincoln Square
By Barbara Mahany
Tribune staff reporter
September 19, 2004

Except for his lips, you would think he was made out of stone, the man who sits, hours on end, on the red fire hydrant on Western Avenue, just north of Lawrence, pigeons by the dozens perched on him. Pigeons on his head. Pigeons on his shoulders and right down his arms. Pigeons poised on each palm. Pigeons clinging to his chest. Pigeons on his lap. Pigeons on his thighs. Pigeons, of course, perched on each foot.

The pigeons peck and coo, occasionally flutter their wings. Sometimes even scatter. But not the man, the man is motionless. You might mistake him for a statue. Joseph Zeman, 73, commonly known as the Pigeon Man of Lincoln Square, can sit for hours, barely flinching a muscle. Except for those lips.He coos right back to the birds. He kisses them, right on their iridescent necks, flat on the point of their sharp little beaks. He nuzzles them, rubs his nose in their wings, the herringbone of feathers all black and charcoal and pewter and white. He calls them by name, his favorites, Whitey and Brownie. "Sure, sure," he coos, stroking them with his words. "There, there," he clucks. He worries when one is missing in action. "Where you been? Where you been?" he asks when the prodigal pigeon finally flutters back.

Like some kind of pigeon dentist, he tenderly plucks a feather that's stuck in a beak. He loves them as though they're his best friends in the world, and pretty much that's what they are. They wait, then swoop "Soon as I take a seat, they want to be loved and kissed like a mama's baby," he says, taking a seat late one recent afternoon, as a raincloud of pigeons alights from a roof and hovers in for a landing. "Like I'm their father, and they're my child." See 'em waiting here now, they know I'm coming. They're waiting for me so they can say, `Here I am, here I am, do what you want to do with me. We're not worried about you.' I just tell 'em all, `You're my baby, you're my baby too.'"

Within seconds, it is getting hard to make out the man from under the pigeons. Drivers crane their necks. Truck drivers roll down their windows. Folks on the sidewalk sometimes slap $5 or $10 in his hand. He keeps track, in a neat little ledger up in the attic where he lives a few blocks away, of how much he has collected. Three hundred dollars since the first of the year, he says proudly, all of it used to buy his pigeon supplies, the unpopped popcorn kernels (the primo pigeon food, he calls it), the bags of white rice, the loaves of Deerfield Farms enriched white bread, the Maurice Lenell oatmeal cookies, the plain old birdseed that comes in 50-pound sacks, which he breaks down into zip-top plastic bags. Old baby food jars he fills each morning and afternoon with rice or popcorn kernels, seven jars in all, each time he heads to the hydrant.

Twice a day, at least, once in the morning, once late afternoon, you can darn near count on a pigeon-man sighting: Shuffling down Western Avenue, there's Zeman on his way to his hydrant, black canvas bag slung over his very stooped shoulders, suspenders holding up his navy blue janitor's pants that seem maybe a size or two too big."

All my life I had so much backstabbing at home, real problems there. I got to love the animals more, so trustworthy. Fifty years, all I heard was `Shut up, shut up.' I needed help at home 'cause I was handicapped. They took advantage of me. Epileptic fits since the day I was born."Because I had so much trouble at home, I learned not to say nothing, keep to myself, just so I can't be wrong anymore. So they came up to me [the pigeons]; I appreciated the friendship out of a bird more than a person. They're wordless. They come up with pure appreciation."

Building trust:
After more than half a century with the birds, Zeman says, he has learned many a lesson. "Stay quiet all your life. Nothing but trust and honesty, low profile all the time, just like I'm another bird, sitting there. They sit on me all day and half into the night. That's where I got something about me that nobody else has."

Zeman, who's retired now, had a newsstand at LaSalle and Division Streets for 47 years. That's where he first got friendly with the pigeons."At my business, the pigeons came down on me. After six months, they took a chance on me. First No. 1, then when No. 2 sees it's OK, he gives it a try. Then comes No. 3. Every day, every day for six months, you gotta come out. Have something for 'em. Patience and time, little by little."He moved up to the fire hydrant on Western Avenue after he sold the newsstand seven years ago. He comes every day if it's dry. He comes because he sees his sitting on the hydrant as the most important work he has ever done."

I'm really advertising to the public how easy it is to be good without an attitude; it's just as easy to show decency as it is to hate today." Sadly, he says, not everyone sees it that way."Some people hate me because of this," he says. "They say, `Oh, they're disease carriers,' and all that. People that are fancy and don't want to deal with a dropping, they come up to me with those remarks. They're jealous, jealous because the birds aren't afraid of me."

One of the people who say that is Sheila Magee, who lives not far from the hydrant where Zeman and the pigeons roost."He represents a huge danger to the neighborhood," she begins. "What we're talking about here are flying rodents, nothing less." Magee outlines the vile things she contends the pigeons are carrying into the neighborhood. She draws a vivid picture of how the birds feed off food strewn near sewers. The way she paints it, pigeons are Public Nuisance No. 1 when it comes to the health of the masses.

She would be wrong, as a matter of fact."Pigeons are not a public health hazard," proclaims Dr. Joel McCullough, medical director of environmental health for the Chicago Department of Public Health. There is a fungus, he says, that can be carried in pigeon droppings, but it has not been detected in Chicago as far back as anyone at the department can remember. "Nobody in public health is losing any sleep over pigeons." And, in fact, Zeman is breaking no law. The city, according to the corporation counsel's office, has no ordinance prohibiting the feeding of pigeons.

There is a general nuisance ordinance, but it is rarely if ever used for pigeon feeders. The Chamber of Commerce in Lincoln Square does get an occasional complaint, and only a couple of weeks ago the office heard from Magee. But even the guy in charge of maintenance for JCDecaux, the folks who tend to the city's bus shelters, has asked his guys to lay off Zeman and let him roost his pigeons in peace. And Heidi Hurtado, who works in a dress shop right across Western Avenue, makes a point of peering out the window to take in the Zen of Zeman."Peace, he makes me feel at peace," she says. "It's joyful to see somebody so loving and caring to pigeons. A lot of people don't like pigeons. Through everything that's going on in the world right now, it's just nice to see a sight like that."`On their own free will' As the heat of another day drops away, Zeman is shuffling to his post from the bus stop a block away. When asked if he has ever thought of simply taking the birds home, he answers: "I've thought of it. But they're outdoor birds, they're meant to be on their own free will. They'd die from grief."When they come up to me, it's got to be on their own free will, not being grabbed or grasped. That's what makes them so happy when you come back."

With that he slips off his shoulder bag and settles onto his hydrant, and the flock descends. He raises both arms, palms skyward, the veneration pose."Sure, sure. Yeah, yeah," he coos away as day turns to dusk. He won't leave his birds until the black cloak of midnight comes to wrap them in, safe until dawn, when Zeman, sure as the rising sun, will once again take on the pose of St. Francis of a city.

Permanent memorial to 'the Pigeon Man'?
JOE ZEMAN Called birds his children
December 21, 2007

Roses, candles and a smattering of birdseed marked a fire hydrant in the 4800 block of North Western on Wednesday night in memory of Joe Zeman Jr., known to many Chicagoans simply as "the Pigeon Man."

Zeman, 77, died Tuesday after being hit by a car on Devon. The simple, mysterious man captured the attention of passersby who gawked at the dozens of pigeons roosting on and around him -- birds he called his children.

Kevin Kitchen, a Lincoln Square resident, was drawn Wednesday to the hydrant where Zeman and the pigeons merged to remember a man who was "going out and caring for the least of God's creatures."

Kitchen is talking to "neighbors, friends and strangers" about the possibility of a permanent memorial to Zeman in Lincoln Square. Kitchen proposed hanging artistic, locally designed birdhouses on lampposts near the statute of Abraham Lincoln at Lawrence and Western, across the street from Zeman's usual perch.

"He was such a unique person, he's hard to forget," he said.

Those interested in a "Pigeon Man" memorial can reach Kitchen at . Kitchen has also started a "Remember the Bird Man" group on Facebook.

War-HERO Pigeon Paddy is Remembered

War-hero pigeon is remembered. A County Antrim pigeon who received a medal for his war-time bravery is being remembered at a special ceremony in England.

Paddy the pigeon was bred in Moyleen, Carnlough.

He was decorated for being the first bird to fly back with news of the D-Day landings in Normandy in World War II.

Paddy is one of 62 animals who received the PSDA Dickin Medal, the animal equivalent of the Victoria Cross, for bravery in the war.

Like many homing pigeons, he was "volunteered" by his owners in response to an appeal by the government to support the war effort.

As radio signals could compromise operations, carrier pigeons were used to ferry important messages back to Britain. The pigeons formed the National Pigeon Service.

Paddy even had his own number - NPS.43.9451.

The Germans rumbled the importance of the winged courier service and stationed a flight of hawks at Calais to intercept the Allied pigeons.

Paddy, however, wasn't only a brave pigeon, he was also incredibly quick.

He received the PDSA Dickin Medal on 1 September 1944 for recording the quickest time to return with information from the D-Day landings at Normandy on 6 June that year while he was serving with the RAF.

Dogs, horses, pigeons and a cat received medals because they helped save thousands of lives in the war.

They are buried at the PDSA animal cemetery in Redbridge, Ilford and all are being remembered at a special ceremony.

Veteran military personnel who served with the animals will stage a march past and a bugler will sound the Last Post.

A fly-past by pigeons will commemorate the 32 birds who were honoured for their bravery.
Actress Jenny Seagrove is to formally reopen the cemetery. Restoration work was carried out over the past year with the help of a £50,000 grant from the Big Lottery Fund's People's Millions.

Paddy's medal was sold to a pigeon fancier for almost £7,000 at an auction in Dublin in September 1999.

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2007/12/13 07:21:39 GMT© BBC MMVII

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Pigeon Feeding Ban in Other Areas

CHICAGO, Dec. 14 (UPI) --

Two Chicago aldermen are calling for fines of up to $1,000 and jail sentences of up to six months for people who feed the city's pigeons.

"No person shall purposely provide food -- including, but not limited to grain, seeds, greens, bread crumbs and miscellaneous food scraps -- intended for pigeon ingestion on public property or property subject to the city right-of-way," the proposed ordinance says.

Aldermen Danny Solis and Helen Shiller introduced it at a City Council meeting Wednesday, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

Violating the ordinance would result in fines of "not less than $100 or more than $1,000" and up to six months in jail.

Solis said well-fed pigeons in the city each drop 25 pounds of fecal matter every year."It doesn't look good to have all of this fecal matter around a very beautiful monument" at 18th and Blue Island, Solis said. The droppings "causing damage -- not only to property, but to health .... Whenever they overfeed them, rats gather around the statue. That's another health problem," Solis said.
Pigeon feeding ban goes to council Monday
Doug Williamson
The Windsor Star (ONTARIO, CANADA)
Saturday, December 15, 2007

Despite an apparent negative public response and possible enforcement problems, city council will consider a bylaw Monday forbidding the feeding of pigeons and stray animals in Windsor.

A fine of up to $5,000 will be the penalty for breaking the bylaw, if it's passed. The bylaw forbids such feeding on public and private property.

Of 37 people who formally commented on the proposed bylaw to city hall, 15 supported it while 22 were opposed, according to a report to council.

According to the staff report to be considered by council, those opposed to the bylaw made points such as:

- They were concerned over the well-being of strays.
- The bylaw should apply only to pigeons.
- Bird feeding is a legitimate hobby.
- Feeding bans should only be imposed in designated areas.
- The bylaw would be unenforceable.

Those in favour of the bylaw: cited the mess made by birds; supported a ban on feeding of cats; cited problems when pigeons congregate near apartment balconies; and raised concerns over building structures damaged by pigeon excrement.

The report also notes that "resources will be required" to enforce such a bylaw.
"If additional resources are not available for the enforcement of the bylaw, existing enforcement resources will be stretched and it is likely that enforcement officers will be unable to pursue enforcement of other bylaws."

Public Nuisance
It also says that "if existing resources are diverted to the enforcement of this bylaw, revenue from other bylaw offences may be reduced."

In Ontario, only Hamilton and Ajax have similar bylaws.

The report to council says that those in favour of the bylaw feel that feeding pigeons and strays is a public nuisance that attracts rodents and other animals to a regular food source and results in property damage and interferes with enjoyment of property.

Those opposed say that the bylaw intrudes on their regular activities of feeding animals, and could result in inhumane treatment of the feral cat population.

"Once the person exercising the right to feed pigeons or stray animals impacts another's enjoyment of their property due to the creation of a nuisance, it is reasonable to attempt to eliminate the feeding activity that results in the nuisance to others," the report says.
Pigeon feeding targeted by City Council
By John Rudolf
Friday, January 4, 2008
see article

Pigeon feeders beware.

Those caught feeding the city's feathered residents will face a maximum of 30 days in jail and a $500 fine, if the City Council approves a proposed ordinance at Tuesday's council meeting.

Identical penalties would be levied on those caught feeding coyotes within the city limits, according to a similar ordinance also up for a vote."I think it's the right thing to do. Pigeons continue to be a problem," said vice-mayor Dennis Schilling. "We should make it clear that this is an unacceptable practice."

The maximum 30-day jail sentence, however, might be a little severe, Schilling thought. "Thirty days I thought was a little excessive, and we'll probably have some discussion on that," he said. "Repeat offenders might come down to serving jail time."According to the city attorney's office, an existing ordinance already bans the feeding of pigeons within Mohave County. If the city's ordinance is found to conflict with the county law, it would be removed from the council's agenda. Yet as the sight of people feeding pigeons in the parks and the English Village clearly shows, that ordinance is not being enforced."It doesn't help that some of our businesses sell those blocks of food that feed the birds," Schilling said.

A state law exists banning the feeding of all wildlife, including pigeons and coyotes, but only within counties with a high enough population density. Largely rural Mohave County does not meet that threshold.

According to Curtis Herbert, wildlife manager with the Arizona Game and Fish Department, the feeding of coyotes can result in more aggressive and less fearful coyote populations. "That's the biggest problem," he said. "When they feed them, they teach the coyotes to think of humans as providers of food."

The LOS ANGELES Municipal Code (that pesky LAMC that is most notable on parking restriction signs on private property and on parking tickets).

According to Section 53.43 as of 1985,
"No person shall feed any pigeons upon any public street or sidewalk or in any public park in that portion of this City bounded and described as follows:" That which follows is a legalize written map (could not copy map......)

As you can see, Pershing Square is part of this area; but other than that, the area does not seem to have any rationale for existing in the area it does. It was designed as addressing the "Central Business District" of Los Angeles. Since the passage of this ordinance over 20 years ago, things have changed and the ordinance may need to be re-examined. (Also, it doesn't prohibit anyone from feeding birds on their private property.)

From LAMC Section 53.43:
Beginning at the intersection of the center line of First Street with the center line of Los Angeles Street; thence southwesterly along the center line of Los Angeles Street to the center line of Eighth Street; thence northwesterly along the center line of Eighth Street to the center line of Main Street; thence southwesterly along the center line of Main Street to the center line of Ninth Street; thence northwesterly along the center line of Ninth Street to the center line of Olive Street; thence northeasterly along the center line of Olive Street to the center line of Eighth Street; thence northwesterly along the center line of Eighth Street to the center line of Flower Street; thence southwesterly along the center line of Flower Street to the center line of Ninth Street; thence northwesterly along the center line of Ninth Street to the center line of Figueroa Street; thence northeasterly along the center line of Figueroa Street to the center line of Sixth Street; thence southeasterly along the center line of Sixth Street to the center line of Olive Street; thence northeasterly along the center line of Olive Street to the center line of First Street; thence southeasterly along the center line of First Street to the point of beginning.

Vittorio Hernandez - AHN News Writer

VENICE, ITALY (AHN) - Venice has banned the feeding of pigeons on its famous San Marco Square because of the damage caused by bird droppings on the city's landmarks. The city council intends to implement the prohibition by cutting off the pigeon's food supply, principally bird seeds vended on the square.

Beppe Caccia, Venice City councilor, said the city recognizes it may take away the livelihood of birdseed vendors. He added Venice is prepared to provide compensation to affected vendors by taking into account the number of years the sellers have been engaged in bird seed retail, how large is their family and the capital involved in the enterprise.

Licensed vendors naturally oppose the plan. They insisted on being compensated or provided souvenirs to vend elsewhere in Venice, which draw millions of tourists because of its water canals.

There are about 120,000 pigeons hovering Venice, twice the number of the city's human population. Since 1997, feeding the pigeons was made a crime punishable by a fine of $726 (500 euro), except in San Marco Square.

Aside from destroying the city's landmarks with their droppings, the birds also bring with them parasites and bacteria that cause allergies and other ailments.

Meanwhile, another pro-environment measure has caught fire in the city. A Lenten resolution initiated by Fr. Gianni Fazzini, head of Venice Patriarchate's Lifestyle Center, encouraged Venetians to drink tap water instead of bottled mineral water. Plastic bottles are a major source of pollution.

The campaign has caught on as City Mayor Massimo Cacciari and Italian stage actor Marco Paolini supported it by showing up with traditional water flasks filled with tap water. Venice, like Rome, has numerous water taps that provide free, potable, cold drinking water to residents and tourists alike.

The money saved from buying bottled water will be given to a community in Thailand to build a water supply system for the village.
Dear friend,


I am writing to ask you to help prevent a plan to starve to death many thousands of pigeons in and around Venice's St Mark's Square.

For generations, locals and tourists alike have bought food from eighteen licensed corn sellers on the Square and fed the semi-domesticated flock.

Over the years, just as in Trafalgar Square, the birds have come to depend on this food source for their survival. And, just as in Trafalgar Square, Venice's Mayor, Massimo Cacciari, is planning to outlaw the feed sellers from 1st May. Even the traditional throwing of rice at weddings at Palazzo Cavalli, the nearby registry office, will be criminalised.

With the feeding of pigeons in the areas surrounding St Mark's Square already illegal, mass starvation amongst the birds is inevitable.

Mayor Cacciari is going further. Already his officials are trapping large numbers of these trusting, semi-tame birds and breaking their necks. Incredibly, the barbarism even has the support of the Chief of Police, Marco Agostini, who described the birds as "unbearable".

Please email or write to Mayor Cacciari urgently, urging him to halt the culling and to abandon his plans to ban the sale of pigeon food.

Postal Address:
Comune di Venezia
Ca Farsetti
San Marco 4136

Thanks for caring.
Yours for the birds,

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Tests Show Pigeons Are Starving (London, England)

Post-mortem tests carried out by a government laboratory show pigeons in Trafalgar Square are starving to death, according to a campaign group.

The Veterinary Laboratories Agency examined five corpses and found them to be in "poor bodily condition" and the "gizzard of all birds was empty".

Pigeon Action Group (PAG) says a ban on feeding the birds, introduced by mayor Ken Livingstone in 2003, is to blame.

The mayor's office said measures to reduce pigeon numbers were humane.

Agonising death

It became illegal to feed birds in the main square in 2003, but a loophole allowed protesters to continue to feed pigeons and other birds on the north terrace.

This loophole was closed by Westminster Council in September and pigeon numbers are thought to have dropped to between 300 and 400.

PAG claims that in 2002 a flock of about 4,500 birds occupied the square.

"The reality is that these birds have been subjected to a long, agonising death by starvation"
Julia Fletcher from PAG

In October PAG sent five dead pigeons found in the square to the Veterinary Laboratories Agency's (VLA) laboratories in Suffolk.

The autopsy report said: "All were found to be in poor bodily condition and although in some of the birds there was evidence of recent feeding... the gizzard of all birds was empty."

The tests found no evidence of salmonella or the notifiable disease paramyxovirus.

Julia Fletcher of PAG said: "While the mayor is reporting that the programme to reduce the birds is working well, the reality is that these birds have been subjected to a long, agonising death by starvation."

She said that due to the birds' homing instinct they will not go elsewhere for food and the group wants a designated feeding area set up in the square.

A spokesman for the Greater London Authority said: "The GLA measures to reduce the feral pigeon population in Trafalgar Square and make the square more pleasant and hygienic for public use have been done in a humane way.

"It considers that it has at all times acted responsibly and fairly."


Published: 2007/12/11

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Rewards Offered for Apprehension of Pigeon Netters/Pigeon Shoots

Reward Offered by:

Humane Society of the United States:
Reward Offered for Exposing Cruelty at Live Pigeon Shoots

(October 29, 2007) — The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of persons committing acts of cruelty to animals before, during and after live pigeon shoots.

The HSUS is seeking information about instances of cruelty during the shoots, as well as information pertaining to the illegal trafficking of pigeons across state lines to supply shoots, and illegal gambling occurring at events.

“It’s time to expose the seedy cruelty that occurs almost every weekend in Pennsylvania during live pigeon shoots,” stated Heidi Prescott , HSUS senior vice president of campaigns, “We encourage anyone with information related to supplying birds, gambling, or specific acts of cruelty occurring at shoots to come forward.”

Individuals with information may call the toll-free live pigeon shoot tip line at 1-800-637-4124.

Live Pigeon Shoots:
Live pigeon shoots are events where shooters fire at birds released one at a time from boxes in an attempt to shoot each animal down within a ring for prizes.

Live pigeon shoots occur almost every weekend during the fall and winter primarily in Pennsylvania.

Although an underground, illegal pigeon shoot circuit exists, Pennsylvania is the last state where live pigeon shoots knowingly, regularly occur.

During past live pigeon shoots, participants have beaten the pigeons against barrels, buried wounded animals with dead ones in containers, and abandoned wounded animals.
At least 1,000 birds are typically used for one shoot.

In past shoots, seventy percent of the birds are shot and wounded rather than killed outright, with some wounded animals escaping into the area to suffer for hours or days before dying.

Visit for more information.

The HSUS Contacts:
Jordan Crump, Phone: 901-581-5666;

The Humane Society of the United States is the nation’s largest animal protection organization – backed by 10 million Americans, or one of every 30. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education and hands-on programs.

Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty
The Humane Society of the United States
2100 L Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20037

International animal protection organization In Defense of Animals (IDA) is offering a $2,500 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for illegally netting, capturing, and killing pigeons in New York City.

"Reports of large numbers of pigeons being netted in New York City have grown over the last year," said IDA's East Coast Director, Valerie Sicignano.

"IDA is offering a $2,500 reward in the hope of turning up evidence that will identify the offender(s). We suspect that the majority of birds are being transported out of state for canned hunts in a neighboring state and that a smaller number may be for human consumption.

Emails mentioning a concern about bird flu are false - Pigeons do not transmit bird flu. If the Avian Flu does reach New York, New Yorkers will have to be concerned about catching it from other humans - not from the birds," added Sicignano.

Fill out the form entitled "Bird Netting Sightings Report" found at

2) Call New York City Humane Law Enforcement at (212) 876-7700, ext. 4450 and file a report using the information you gathered on the form.

3) Next, Call NYS-DEC District 2 at (718) 482-4885 and file a 2nd report using the information that you gathered on the form.

4) To register for the reward offered by IDA, mail a photocopy of your completed form to:

Valerie Sicignano
In Defense of Animals
3010 Kerner Blvd.
San Rafael, CA 94902

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Despite Bad Rap Pennsylvania Pigeon Shoots Go On

Critics still take aim at Pa. pigeon shoots
Enthusiasts press on despite bad rap.

By Amy Worden
Inquirer Staff Writer

Find this article at:

PIKEVILLE, Pa. - At the cry of "Pull!" a pigeon is catapulted from a small spring-loaded metal box in the middle of a field at the Pike Township Sportsmen's Club. A shooter poised 30 yards away with a shotgun fires, sending the gray and white bird plummeting to the ground.
Over and over for two hours scores of live pigeons are launched into the air as shooters vie to kill the most birds and take home the prize money.

Some birds are killed instantly. Others land wounded, flapping helplessly on injured wings. The lucky ones escape and cluster in nearby trees and rooftops.

This is the scene at the Pike Township Sportsmen's Club, 56 miles northwest of Philadelphia, where Sunday pigeon shoots are a longtime tradition. Fewer than a half-dozen gun clubs - most of them in Berks County - still stage shoots in the state. Pennsylvania is one of two states where the events are legal, but the only one where the shoots are still being held.

Under fire from lawsuits, bad publicity and hostile legislation, the clubs operate in near secrecy. They do not advertise their shoots, nor are they open to the public. Efforts by a reporter to talk to participants at one recent pigeon shoot were rebuffed.

The Humane Society of the United States has been trying to end pigeon shoots in Pennsylvania since the mid-1980s. It has filed lawsuits on animal-cruelty allegations and pushed bills to ban the shoots in every legislative session without success.

The group argues the unregulated shoots are cruel because so many birds are slaughtered at close range and the injured suffer needlessly. The injured that fall inside the rings have their heads snapped off by ring crew members and those that fly away injured, critics say, languish in pain for hours or days before dying.

But they also contend that the shoots, like dog fights, are rife with other kinds of illegal activity occurring across multiple states in the region: trapping birds in New York City, transporting animals across state lines, tax fraud and gambling.

"Animal cruelty alone should be enough to shut down this practice, but there are many other compelling reasons as well," said Heidi Prescott, vice president for the Humane Society. "Our intelligence about the sordid and secretive pigeon-shoot circuit highlights the similarity to dogfighting and cockfighting in terms of the extent of gambling and illegal animal trafficking."
Officials at three gun clubs contacted by The Inquirer did not return calls seeking comment. An official reached at the Strausstown Gun Club, where pigeon shoots are held seven times a year, said he was not involved.

"I don't approve of them, but I don't condemn them," said Tom Leary, vice president of the club.

Don Bailey of Strausstown, who organizes shoots and provides pigeons at the Strausstown club and elsewhere, said he viewed the events as an effective way to get rid of vermin. "We kill pigeons," said Bailey. "What do you think they do when they poison birds in Philadelphia?"

Monitoring the Action

From her perch a few hundred yards away from the shooting rings, humane officer Johnna Seeton has a clear view of the action.
The retired teacher stands on a public road, dutifully recording on paper and with a video camera the license plates of participants, the numbers of birds used, and how the injured birds are treated before they are destroyed.
This has been Seeton's weekend routine for 20 years.
"I guess I'm obsessed," she said. "But I figure if I have the documentation, no one can say it's hearsay."

After each round, a flock of teenagers, called "trappers," is dispatched with sacks to pick up the injured and dead birds. They disappear into a small lean-to. Typically, the injured birds are disposed of by breaking their necks or ripping their heads off.

Seeton goes out to comb the countryside to try to rescue the wounded the next day. She has brought scores of badly injured birds to vets, where most are euthanized.

"I feel like I'm cleaning up their mess," Seeton said of the shoot organizers.

Bailey claims he picks up birds from the perimeter of the rings and disposes of them. Birds that go farther afield are "taken care of by hawks," he said.

Pigeon shoots have been held in Pennsylvania since before the Civil War. It was a notorious Schuylkill County shoot that put pigeon shooting on the national radar in the 1980s. The annual fund-raiser in the town of Hegins drew as many as 10,000 people to its Roman circus-like atmosphere.

Animal-welfare advocates set up triage tents for the wounded birds. In 1993, mounted state troopers wielding tear gas arrested 114 protesters.

In 1999, amid a court battle with an animal-rights group, the shoot was canceled by its organizers.

"Most people now think the shoots are over," Seeton said.

But they continue to be held almost every weekend from September through February in other Pennsylvania clubs. At least 22 shoots were held in the last year, according to a schedule assembled by the Humane Society.

It's unclear exactly where the pigeons come from.

The pigeon broker and shoot organizer Bailey told a New York Times reporter in 2004 that he paid farm boys to collect pigeons from barns, but that he had heard of people taking birds from the streets of Philadelphia and New York.

The Humane Society alleges a large number continue to be brought in from New York City, where residents have reported witnessing people throwing nets over pigeons and whisking them away in vehicles.

With the clubs on the defensive, access to their shoots has become limited.

At the Pike Township club, where roughly 20 shooters showed up on a recent Sunday morning, a cluster of participants turned their backs on a reporter trying to ask questions.

Participants pay high fees - at Strausstown they start at $270, plus $7 for practice pigeons - for purses as small as $20. At the big events, winners can take home as much as $4,000. But the Humane Society's Prescott believes those purses represent a fraction of the real stakes - tens of thousands of dollars wagered under the table - at some events.

Leary, of the Strausstown club, said that the shoots' attraction was "gambling pure and simple."

Is It Hunting?

Many hunters say pigeon shoots are cruel and not a legitimate form of hunting. Game Commission officials say that leaving behind a wounded animal violates the state game law.
The commission has not taken a position on the shoots or gotten involved because pigeons are not classified as wildlife, said spokesman Jerry Feaser.

But he said the pigeon shoots are "not what we would classify as fair-chase hunting."
David Kozloff, a Wyomissing lawyer who is representing the Pike Township club in a suit filed by Seeton, said he didn't see the difference between pigeon shoots and hunting in the field.
"Isn't the end result the same?" he said.

Sen. Patrick Browne (R., Lehigh), the sponsor of the latest version of the pigeon shoot bill, is still confident he has the support to pass the bill. (A companion bill has been introduced in the House.)

"I think in terms of the issue of a balance between the hunters and the cruelty to animals, this is something that breaches that," Browne said. "Traditional sportsmen find it offensive, and a large majority of Pennsylvanians agree."

Contact staff writer Amy Worden at 717-783-2584 or

Reference: Humane Society of Berks County

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Unlawful Pigeon Nettings Continue as New York City Does Nothing

For the past several months the New York Bird Club has been concerned with the matter of pigeon nettings in the New York City area.

Hungry pigeons are baited with food, netted and dumped into a van and then allegedly sold to out of state pigeon shoots and restaurants as fare for the menu.

The Humane Society of the US in Washington, DC has been working on the Hegins pigeon shoots in Pennsylvania for years. Pennsylvania is the last state to allow the cruel practice of pigeon shoots to continue.

Although the public has expressed sympathy, outrage and concern for pigeons and there have been eye witnesses, to date the New York Bird Club has not received any tangible information to turn over to the District Attorney's office who have expressed an interest in the situation. Several persons have attempted to file complaints with the New York Police Department, but they refused to cooperate and Incident Reports were not taken.

The New York Bird Club contacted the Civilian Complaint Revue Board to file a complaint against the New York City Police Department, but they would not accept it. Once we can establish precisely what the law is concerning removing pigeons from their habitat, we will be standing on firmer ground.

Laws concerning pigeons are ambiguous and difficult to find since pigeons are not considered native wildlife, and laws that protect wildlife do not apply to pigeons since they are not indigenous to the United States. Government agencies we should be concerned with are New York City Department of Agriculture and Market, the Department of Environment Conservation and the New York City Department of Health.

The following statutes may apply.

21 NYCRR § 9003.12 (2007)§ 9003.12 Park animals.No person shall within any park molest, chase, wound, trap, hunt, shoot, throw missiles at, kill, remove or have in his possession any undomesticated animal, or any significant portion of the remains of any domesticated or undomesticated animal, or any nest, or the young of any undomesticated animal or the egg(s) of any undomesticated animal; or knowingly buy, receive, have in his possession, sell or give away any such undomesticated animal or egg taken from or killed within any park.

There are multiple statutes that protect pigeons.

New York Agricultural and Markets Law ("Ag & Mkts Law") section 353-a protects pigeons from aggravated cruelty. Ag & Mkts Law section 353 provides that anyone who beats a pigeon (or other animal) or causes it to be deprived of necessary food or drink, among other acts, is guilty of a misdemeanor.

Ag & Mkts Law section 362 provides that throwing a substance at a pigeon (or other animal) to willfully injure it is punishable by imprisonment of up to a year, a fine of up to $1,000 or both.

NYS Environmental law § 11-0513. Pigeons.

1. No person shall at any time, by any means or in any manner capture, kill or attempt to capture or kill any Antwerp or homing pigeon, wearing a ring or seamless leg band with its registered number stamped thereon; nor shall any person remove such mark. No person except the lawful owner shall detain, possess, or transport Antwerp or homing pigeons wearing a ring or seamless leg band with the registered number thereon.

2. Notwithstanding any other law to the contrary, the local legislative body of any city, town or village, or in the city of New York the Department of Health may take or issue a permit to any person to take pigeons at any time and in any humane manner in such municipality, whenever such body or administration finds that pigeons within such municipality are or may become a menace to public health or a public nuisance; provided, however, that no pigeon may be taken in a manner which will endanger other animal life, persons or property.

New York State Department of Environmental and Conservation Law states that all birds are entitled to protection afforded by §11-1101(1), and that this protection is also afforded to pigeons. This was conceded by the Division of Legal Affairs at NYS-DEC Albany, in a Petition For Declaratory Ruling settlement in June 2005.

Only a coward would shoot down a defenseless bird weighing but a few ounces with no means of escape for their amusement and egos. If you would like to put an end to the cruel matter of netting pigeons, please contact the New York Bird Club.


Pigeon nettings in the New York City area are becoming more aggressive and frequent. Netters working in a pair start before sunrise netting in Manhattan, the five boroughs and beyond. They have been seen in brand new SUVs, and since it is a cash-only business with no taxes paid, this appears to be a lucrative business.

Pigeons are sold to out of state shooting galleries and restaurants.
Although it is against the law to remove pigeons from their habitat, no one has stopped the netters from doing so.

The public may be eating pigeon meat as it unknowingly may be substituted for quail, chicken or other meat products.

Only the New York City Board of Health has the authority to remove pigeons, or a permit or license is required from them.

If you care about pigeons and justice, please contact the Mayor of New York City and demand that the appropriate action be taken.
From In Defense of Animals

New York, N.Y.
July 24, 2007

International animal protection organization In Defense of Animals (IDA) is offering a $2,500 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for illegally netting, capturing, and killing pigeons in New York City."Reports of large numbers of pigeons being netted in New York City have grown over the last year," said IDA's East Coast Director, Valerie Sicignano. "IDA is offering a $2,500 reward in the hope of turning up evidence that will identify the offender(s). We suspect that the majority of birds are being transported out of state for canned hunts in a neighboring state and that a smaller number may be for human consumption.

Emails mentioning a concern about bird flu are false - Pigeons do not transmit bird flu. If the Avian Flu does reach New York, New Yorkers will have to be concerned about catching it from other humans - not from the birds," added Sicignano.

To Report a Bird Netting in New York City: (edited by NY Bird Club on 03/09/2008)

1) Contact the New York Bird Club:
2) Call New York City Humane Law Enforcement at (212) 876-7700, ext. 4450 and file a report using the information you gathered on the form.
3) Next, Call NYS-DEC District 2 at (718) 482-4885 and file a 2nd report using the information that you gathered on the form.
4) To register for the Reward offered by IDA, mail a photocopy of your completed form to:

Valerie Sicignano

In Defense of Animals
3010 Kerner Blvd.San Rafael, CA 94902

New Yorkers Love Pigeons!

The response from people who are concerned about pigeon poaching in NYC has been overwhelming! New Yorkers love these birds and we're not surprised given that the city even has a "Pigeon Registry" where people can name a pigeon after someone just like the Star Registries where you can name a star after someone.

To Name a Pigeon After Someone You Love:

Visit the Pigeon Registry started by Kerry Lea, IDA volunteer and Director of the world famous Veg Kids, at

Recommended Reading:
PIGEONS: The Fascinating Saga of the World's Most Revered and Reviled Bird by Andrew Blechman.


Correspondence Sent to Group (9/22/07):

Just a note to stay in touch concerning the pigeon nettings.A few weeks ago, I was contacted by someone through our blog who witnessed a pigeon netting. She managed to get a picture of the criminal - only his back was photographed, but a picture of the van and license plate number was taken, and I sent this to Bill Dunn of the ASPCA and the D.A. office, but have not heard further.

Some disturbing news was sent to us, but cannot share until I get specifics; however, please be aware of PICAS - Pigeon Control, that I have reason to believe is being implemented in our city by government agencies. Pigeons do not have an easy life, as you can see by their scrawny appearance and apparent hunger. Some people believe it is better to eradicate them than to let them live a life of misery. I have seen pigeons in the park sunning and enjoying life, and the NY Bird Club is against intentionally killing healthy birds. However, this is an area open for debate and we should keep an open mind to this sensitive issue.

Thank you for caring about pigeons....we are a small group but are growing as more people learn about what beautiful and sweet birds they are.


I have had this in my mailbox for close to a month now, and have put off sharing for reasons that I think are obvious; however, I see the investigation of apprehending the poachers/hunters/netters is stymied, and this may be some explanation as to why nothing is being done and the netters have free reign to do as they please.

Please know that the source of the email is reliable. Personally in my opinion, apprehending the netters is not a top priority with any agency or organization and perhaps it may be welcomed, cruel as it seems. Again, this is only my opinion; the email is real.

"This week Tuesday I was buying a used book at a stand in front of a Beauty Salon on 812 West 181 Street, that is in Manhattan (upper) by Fort Washington ave. The person that was selling the books told one of the men standing outside of the Beauty Parlor 'Give that pigeon some food' as he was eating a sandwich, so he threw the pigeon a piece of bread. I remarked that he was very kind. He then proceeded to tell me that the one pigeon that was there was the only survivor. He told me that a truck pulled up last week and threw out a net and took all the pigeons away directly across the street. I asked him if he remembered the license or if he could describe the car. He told me it was an ASPCA truck. I was shocked!

Can it be that we are complaining to an organization that is looking to cut down on the amount of pigeons in the city and periodically goes around and collects pigeons. THEY DON'T TAKE THEM TO THE COUNTRY FOR A BETTER LIFE. I was nieve when I witnessed my first bird netting. I believe the man's name is Victor and he sells used paperbacks at that location. He likes pigeons and shares when he is eating. What can you do?I am not an eyewitness to the crime, but I know the writer to be reliable."

What Can Be Done:

Most of the pigeons being netted are crossing state lines into Pennsylvania, the last state where it is still LEGAL to shoot pigeons in shoots. Pennsylvania is the state of hunters and pigeon shoots, a state where "real men" go for "entertainment".Pennsylvania - state of the wimps and cowards.Please contact all of the government officials on this link whichever way you choose and ask them anyway you choose, to please MAKE PIGEON SHOOTS ILLEGAL! Any way you can get the word out to ask people not to visit this state and not to do business there would help all animals that are hunted down in cold blood. Government is cruel, unprincipled and immoral.

Without pigeon shoots in PA, the nettings will dramatically decrease in frequency or even be given up.

What's At Stake?

Pennsylvania: Stop Pigeon Shoots

Pennsylvania is one of the last states to practice these outdated events in which shooters kill thousands of pigeons for prizes or cash. Tame pigeons are stockpiled for months prior to a pigeon shoot. Obtained on the sly, the birds are typically kept in packed cages and arrive at the shoot malnourished and dehydrated. At the shoot, the birds are usually released one at a time from traps. As the disoriented birds leave the box, waiting shooters fire rounds of shells at the animals. More than 70 percent of the pigeons are not killed outright, but fall to the ground wounded. In past shoots, children called "trapper boys" then took to the fields to rip the heads off of wounded pigeons, and slam others against the ground.Thousands of dollars exchange hands during these events, with prizes being awarded for the most birds killed. The Pennsylvania pigeon shoot circuit attracts out-of-state extremists looking to target animals for kicks. Since almost every other state prohibits pigeon shoots, these shooters come to Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania has a long, controversial history of battling pigeon shoots. In 1999, the infamous Hegins Pigeon shoot in Schuylkill County ended after the Pennsylvania Supreme Court unanimously ruled that humane officers could prosecute shoot participants for animal cruelty. The opinion issued by the court characterized pigeon shoots as "cruel and moronic." Now, only a handful of floundering shoots serve as reminders that the fight to end the wanton and wasteful events is not yet over.

New York State law:

New York Agricultural and Markets Law ("Ag & Mkts Law")Section 353-a protects pigeons from aggravated cruelty.Provides that anyone who beats a pigeon (or any other animal) or causes it to be deprived of necessary food or drink, among other acts, is guilty of a misdemeanor.

Section 362 provides that throwing a substance at a pigeon to willfully injure it is punishable by imprisonment of up to a year, a fine of up to $1,000 or both.

New York Times Article
Wing and a PrayerA
Published: October 28, 2007

WHEN Eduardo Urbina’s pet pigeon disappeared from his apartment in Spanish Harlem three summers ago, he suspected something nefarious.

Mr. Urbina, a street vendor who sells hats and watches along Third Avenue in the East 80s, recalled having seen a burly man with dreadlocks scooping live pigeons off Third Avenue with a fishing net, then depositing them into the back of his van.

Mr. Urbina, who knows that pigeons are not in the habit of wandering off on their own, says he believed that the man with the dreadlocks had taken his bird.In a town where pigeons have long been relegated to the status of pest, Mr. Urbina is part of a loose cadre of New Yorkers who see the birds as gentle, misunderstood creatures worthy of protection from human cruelty and indifference.

The problem of pigeon netting has continued unabated, and over the summer, organizations like the Wild Bird Fund, a local group, and In Defense of Animals, based in California, offered thousands of dollars in rewards for information leading to the arrest of netters, as the bird-nappers are known. A few months ago, an official of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals met with local pigeon protectors to discuss effective ways to address their complaints.

But Mr. Urbina worked alone.

He had been given this pigeon by a building superintendent when the bird was still tufted in yellow baby fuzz. He raised it to adulthood inside his apartment, feeding it seed through a straw and, later, from a dish, then released the pigeon outdoors — a routine he has followed with other rescued birds. Even so, the pigeon returned every morning through his apartment window for breakfast. One day, it did not.

“I loved that animal,” said Mr. Urbina, a soft-spoken 60-year-old who immigrated to New York 28 years ago from Peru. “So beautiful. So smart.”He had heard rumors that netters lure the birds with food, then spirit them away to mysterious destinations.

Many bird lovers believe that the pigeons become living targets at private gun clubs in Pennsylvania. Others say they end up in voodoo ceremonies, in the hands of pigeon breeders, at live poultry markets where they are sold for human consumption or at restaurants, particularly in Chinatown.

And while catching wild birds like pigeons on the street is a violation of state environmental law, one New York police sergeant said that as a practical matter, enforcement is a low priority. After Mr. Urbina’s pigeon vanished, he set up his own sting operation at Third Avenue and 103rd Street, near his apartment.

A bakery on the corner discarded large bags of old bread that attract flocks of birds, and Mr. Urbina suspected that the birds would in turn attract the netter. Every morning for two months, he waited on the corner from 6 until after 7, his camera in hand. According to Mr. Urbina’s account of what happened next, early one morning in late August, he finally saw his target driving north in a white truck. Along the way, the man would stop to park the truck, climb out and go after his prey with a long-handled net. Mr. Urbina pursued him, snapping photos as he went.

AFTER the netter sped off, Mr. Urbina hailed a taxi and sped north for six blocks, where he saw the netter scooping up more birds. Mr. Urbina leaped from the taxi and took photos of the truck, on the bed of which rested a portable pigeon coop. Turning away from the birds, the netter approached Mr. Urbina from behind, snatched his camera and drove off.

At this point, a police officer named Jon Stueckenschneider entered the case.“I always refer to this case as my great pigeon caper,” said Sergeant Stueckenschneider, who at the time was an officer with a detective unit at the 23rd Precinct station house on East 102nd Street. He had been assigned to the case to investigate not the netting but the theft of Mr. Urbina’s camera.The officer’s search for the thief ended the following February, when he got a call from police officers in the Bronx who had found the man in question.

Subsequently, according to court records, a man named Dwayne Daley, now 49, pleaded guilty to possession of stolen property and was sentenced to the day he had spent in police custody. According to Mr. Daley — who identified himself in a telephone voice message as “the birdman” — the case was dismissed.“

My take on Dwayne Daley is he just wants to do his thing,” Sergeant Stueckenschneider said. “He might have felt Eduardo was invading his space by taking pictures.”

In a telephone interview, Mr. Daley said he had been fascinated by pigeons ever since he was a child trapping them in shoeboxes in Brownsville and East New York, the Brooklyn neighborhoods where he grew up. He now lives in Bushkill, Pa., near the Delaware Water Gap, where he keeps hundreds of birds, but he occasionally visits New York. He uses the birds he nets to interbreed with his own birds, he said, or sell at auction, where some can fetch more than $100.“It’s not like I’m doing anything wrong with them,” Mr. Daley added. In his opinion, it is the birds’ defenders who do the real harm, by giving the creatures food that is meant for humans and that subsequently attracts rats.

Mr. Urbina never again set eyes on his 6-month-old pigeon, which he had named January, after the month he adopted it. But he did get back his camera, along with copies of the photographs he had taken. Exactly who had made the copies is unclear, but the final image showed Mr. Daley in the driver’s seat of his cab, wearing sunglasses and a half-smile.


Reward Offered for Exposing Cruelty at Live Pigeon Shoots
(October 29, 2007) —

The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of persons committing acts of cruelty to animals before, during and after live pigeon shoots.The HSUS is seeking information about instances of cruelty during the shoots, as well as information pertaining to the illegal trafficking of pigeons across state lines to supply shoots, and illegal gambling occurring at events.“It’s time to expose the seedy cruelty that occurs almost every weekend in Pennsylvania during live pigeon shoots,” stated Heidi Prescott , HSUS senior vice president of campaigns, “We encourage anyone with information related to supplying birds, gambling, or specific acts of cruelty occurring at shoots to come forward.”

Individuals with information may call the toll-free live pigeon shoot tip line at 1-800-637-4124.

Live Pigeon Shoots:Live pigeon shoots are events where shooters fire at birds released one at a time from boxes in an attempt to shoot each animal down within a ring for prizes.Live pigeon shoots occur almost every weekend during the fall and winter primarily in Pennsylvania . Although an underground, illegal pigeon shoot circuit exists, Pennsylvania is the last state where live pigeon shoots knowingly, regularly occur. During past live pigeon shoots, participants have beaten the pigeons against barrels, buried wounded animals with dead ones in containers, and abandoned wounded animals.At least 1,000 birds are typically used for one shoot.In past shoots, seventy percent of the birds are shot and wounded rather than killed outright, with some wounded animals escaping into the area to suffer for hours or days before dying.

Visit hunt for more information.
The HSUS Contacts:
Jordan Crump, phone: 901-581-5666

The Humane Society of the United States is the nation’s largest animal protection organization – backed by 10 million Americans, or one of every 30. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education and hands-on programs.

Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty --
On the web at
The Humane Society of the United States
2100 L Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20037

Councilman Wants Birth Control for Pigeons 11/02/2007


Pigeon Nettings
Pigeon Nettings

(reference: Tales & Tails of New York):

It is beyond comprehension how anyone could complain about the number of pigeons now in New York City.

In the above (emphasis supplied) essay, it states that thousands of pigeons are being netted weekly in NYC and sent to Pennsylvania gun clubs where they are used as "targets."With this kind of continued and unabetted cruelty and assault on our urban population of birds, it won't take long for pigeons to go the way of the Do Do bird. Already, the pigeon population in Manhattan has been severely decimated. In another 5 years or so, there won't be any.

About 8 or 9 months ago, I yelled at two men netting pigeons on the corner of Lexington Avenue in the East 80's. Although there were many people around, NO ONE assisted me in trying to stop these men. I got the licence number of the car they threw the pigeons into and reported it to the ASPCA. The ASPCA never even returned my call.Small wonder the men conducting this henious deed every day have NO FEAR to do it out in the open and even in front of crowds of people. They certainly have no fear of the ASPCA.

The ASPCA is no friend to the animals in allowing -- and tacitly supporting this kind of blatent cruelty to animals. Anyone supporting the ASPCA should no longer do so and let them know WHY. -- PCA