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Pigeon Nuisance - discussion and solutions

The Landelijke Werkgroep Duivenoverlast offers advice to individuals, companies, local authorities and other governing agencies on effective and animal-friendly methods to reduce and prevent the nuisance caused by pigeons in cities.

Prevent the capture and killing of pigeons
A solution
Do pigeons make people sick?
The influx of lost postal pigeons
Acknowledgments

Prevent the capture and killing of pigeons

The Landelijke Werkgroep Duivenoverlast is keen to stress that the capture and killing of pigeons does not lead to a structural alleviation of damage and nuisance caused by pigeons. Capturing and killing pigeons just creates space that will quickly be taken up by new animals. Because the remaining animals are driven to reproduce more rapidly after a capture ‘raid’, the population may even grow to a higher level than before. This has been suggested by scientific studies by the ‘Wetenschapswinkel Biologie’ at the University of Utrecht, by the ‘Bureau Stadsnatuur’ in Rotterdam, as well as by research by the Urban Wildlife Society. Based on information provided by the Urban Wildlife Society, the following chart can be drawn.

Click here to see this image enlarged

The population cyclus of urban pigeons, based on D.L. Roth (1995).

Sources:

Control or Delete, a comparative study on the possibilities for reducing nuisance caused by urban pigeons. Drs. D. Bos ( Msc), bureau Stadsnatuur Rotterdam (urban nature bureau), March 2000

Pigeons in the city, a literature study on effective and animal-friendly methods for reducing nuisance caused by pigeons in cities; Drs. I. van Veen ( Msc), Wetenschapswinkel Biologie (biological science transfer agency), Universiteit Utrecht, June 2001. An English summary is available on their website. Clicking here will take you to the website, but it's in Dutch, so you'll have to click your way further through it to get to your English summary: click on “Thematisch Overzicht” in the menu bar on the left hand side of the page. On the page titled Thematisch Overzicht, select “Dierenwelzijn” (animal welfare). The report is titled, in Dutch, “Duiven in de stad”. At the bottom of the entry, there is a link to the English summary.

Bird Population Fluctuation. Chart by D. Roth, The Urban Wildlife Society, 85007 Phoenix, AZ (USA), 1995..

A solution

Both the Bureau Stadsnatuur (urban nature bureau) of Rotterdam and the Wetenschapswinkel Biologie (biological science transfer agency) at the University of Utrecht conclude that instead of capturing and killing pigeons, another combination of measures is not only more effective but also more animal-friendly in reducing and preventing nuisance caused by pigeons. Both sources recommend placing low current wiring, pins and nets at locations where pigeons are unwanted. At the same time, pigeons can be guided towards using accommodation that is created for them in the vicinity of nuisance-intensive locations. This method is already being applied with success in many cities in Germany. The pigeon accommodation takes the form of a ‘loft’, in which they can feed, drink and brood. The eggs can be replaced by plaster eggs. In this way, the population can be controlled and the nuisance they previously caused in an area is removed.
With little doubt many citizens will prefer this pigeon-friendly approach to the current method of capturing and killing. For more information about the placing of wiring, nets and pins, see www.duivenwacht.nl.

Sources: (see also above)

Concept for the animal-friendly regulation of the urban pigeon population; E. Hess, R. Reichert, Bundesarbeitsgruppe (BAG) Stadttauben (federal working group on urban pigeons), Aachen, February 2001

Can pigeons make people sick?

Scientific research in Germany and the Netherlands, a.o. by Dr. G.M. Dorrestein, professor of pathology at the University of Utrecht, has shown that postal pigeons returned to wild present next to no risk to public health. Paratyphus, tuberculosis and parrot disease are not transmitted by pigeons. A form of bird tuberculosis that can occur in pigeons is not harmful to humans! Only daily intensive contact with pigeons, their feathers and their excrement can lead to a ‘pigeon keeper’s lung’, a well treatable form of allergy that affects mainly pigeon keepers.

Sources:

Findings on the health situation of free-roaming city pigeons; Dr. G.M. Dorrestein, Vakgroep Veterinaire Pathologie (faculty of vetinary pathology), University of Utrecht. With R. Korbel and D. Schneeganss, Institut für Geflügelkrankheiten (institute of poultry diseases), Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München (Munich), 1989

Zoonosis in birds, lecture presented at the World Veterinary Conference, Lyon 1999; Dr. G. M. Dorrestein, drs M. van der Hage, Vakgroep Veterinaire Pathologie (faculty of vetinary pathology), University of Utrecht.

Pigeons in our cities, Concept for an animal-protective and ecologically sound population control of city pigeons, Ministry of the Environment and Nature Protection, Farming and Consumer Protection, federal state of Northrine-Westfalia, Germany.

 

The influx of lost postal pigeons

Every year, hundreds of thousands of postal pigeons get lost during pigeon races. These ringed pigeons settle in cities and villages and produce unringed offspring. The percentage of ringed pigeons among urban pigeons varies per city and depends partly on the flight routes of postal pigeon races. In some cities, up to 75% of city pigeons are postal pigeons that have gotten lost. In one single location in Rotterdam, more than 2000 lost postal pigeons can be counted per year. While on the one hand there are many efforts to contain the urban pigeon populations, there is on the other hand a continual influx of postal pigeons that do not return to their home loft and owner. Most pigeon keepers, incidentally, are not interested in having their strayed pets back, because there’s no longer any prizes or honours to be won with them. Bird asylums too have something of a problem with lost postal pigeons, being reluctant to follow up the often-heard advice they get from pigeon owners, to “just wring its neck”. (See also this recent article.) There will only be a chance of containing the growth of urban pigeon populations if the influx of postal pigeons is contained.

Sources:

Nuisance caused by pigeons in the Netherlands; an explorative study on the pigeon sport, pigeon problems, cost frames, proposals and advice; Drs. M.H. Drijgers ( Msc) and E.P. de Rook, Landelijke Werkgroep Duivenoverlast, September 1998

It's raining young postal pigeons, Zwolse Courant (newspaper of Zwolle), 18th July 2003

 

Acknowledgments

This website has been made possible with kind financial support of the Nederlandse Stichting voor Hulp aan Dieren (Dutch Foundation for Helping Animals), Stichting Bouwstenen voor de Dierenbescherming (The Foundation for Support for Animal Protection) and the Wilhelmina Davyt-Keuchenius Foundation.

 

 

2003-2007 Landelijke Werkgroep Duivenoverlast

Laatst gewijzigd: Q4 2006