Saturday, January 19, 2008

Paris Installs Pigeon Lofts to Control Their Population

Paris Installs Pigeon Lofts to Control Their Population
By Gregory Viscusi

Jan. 18 (Bloomberg) -- Paris is installing pigeon lofts throughout the city in its latest attempt to control the population of the birds that leave their droppings on the French capital's monuments.
City authorities aim to encourage pigeons to nest in these lofts and then sterilize their eggs while the birds are out feeding.

The first of the 20,000-euro ($29,000) pigeon houses was installed yesterday in a garden in the working class 20th arrondissement on the city's eastern edge. At least 20 lofts will be installed in city parks, where most of Paris's estimated 80,000 pigeons gather lured by locals who feed them, said Yves Contassot, the deputy mayor for environmental affairs.

``We don't want to eliminate pigeons from the city, just to control their population,'' Contassot said in an interview at the base of one of the new five meter (16 feet) tall constructions. ``They cause a lot of damage to buildings and monuments.''

Paris's efforts mirror similar attempts being made in cities across the globe. Venice, New York and London have instituted bans on feeding pigeons in areas where they congregate.

In New York, City Councilman Simcha Felder on Nov. 12 proposed a $1,000 fine for feeding the winged creatures. Across the Atlantic, where London Mayor Ken Livingstone labeled them ``flying rats,'' feeding the birds in Trafalgar Square can bring a 50 pound ($98) fine.

Other Efforts
Los Angeles has begun a trial use of pigeon birth control. In Basel, Switzerland, pigeon populations have been reduced by an approach that includes stealing their eggs and replacing them with fakes, fooling the birds into thinking they have reproduced. Other cities have used hawks to scare pigeons from their perches.

In the 1980s, Paris used nets to trap and kill pigeons, leading to protests from animal rights groups. Poisons are ineffective against pigeons, Contassot said.

The new Paris pigeon houses, made of galvanized steel and green-painted wood, sit two meters off the ground. Up to 200 pigeon couples can nest at a time.

Employees of Srep, a pest control company based in suburban Paris, will enter each pigeon house at least once a week when the birds are out feeding, and will sterilize all but one of each couple's eggs. A vigorous shake is enough to kill the embryo, Contassot said. The eggs will be put back in place so as not to alert the mother.

An experimental project in a Paris park since 2003 prevented the birth of 5,000 pigeons, Contassot said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Gregory Viscusi in Paris at Last

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is a win win win situation, however the shaking of the eggs will more than likely prove less efficent than thought, Providing fake eggs may be the answer.
Here in my rescue facility I have been practicing birth control by replacing fertile eggs with fake eggs for many years, before the fake eggs I tried shaking only to find the eggs develope, I tried placing a needle hole in the end of the egg, I tried many means before coming to the conclusion of using fake eggs.
One simply can't send (pest control) people into the loft and expect a sound result, there will be a need for proper documentation and proper training.
These lofts will also need to be cleaned regulary to prevent diseases and other illnesses associated with there droppings.
I pray this idea works but the bottom line is there will be more involved than simply entering the loft and shaking eggs.
Arty Tovar