Apr
05
2007

The pigeon poop problem


A Rock Pigeon: Rock pigeons are the pigeons that are common in large numbers in most major cities. Photo courtesy Josh215 via Wikipedia.
The City of St. Paul is aiming to look its best when the Republican National Convention comes to town in late summer 2008. Part of the plan to spiff up the capitol city is a crack down on pigeon poop – a daunting adversary for many major cities.

The City plans to build ideal nesting grounds for pigeons on rooftops in downtown and then take the eggs in order to attempt to control the population. The hope is that fewer pigeons will mean less pigeon poop. City officials are not sure the pigeon “condo” scheme will be effective, but they are willing to give it a try after numerous other plans have fallen short of the goal.

Pigeons find food easily in the city: The readily available food in an urban environment allows pigeons to breed year-round.  Photo courtesy Photo courtesy sarmoung via Flickr.
Pigeons find food easily in the city: The readily available food in an urban environment allows pigeons to breed year-round. Photo courtesy Photo courtesy sarmoung via Flickr.
Pigeons love city life

Rock Pigeons, often also commonly called doves, are the most common type of pigeon found in urban areas. They are found in cities all over the world as they find high buildings an ideal substitute for their preferred nesting habitat in the wild – sea cliffs.

Rapid reproduction

Many techniques have been used to attempt to control pigeon populations – but it is a major undertaking. Pigeons breed when they have access to a steady food supply. Given the readily available food in an urban environment – from garbage to residents actively feeding pigeons – the food supplies in cities allow pigeons to reproduce year-round, laying eggs six to nine times a year.

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

Joe's picture
Joe says:

A co-worker of mine asked which is the correct name for the bird - Rock Pigeon or Rock Dove. According to Wikipedia (and I did double check this with the American Ornithologists' Union's website):

In common usage, this bird is often simply referred to as the "pigeon". The species was commonly known as Rock Dove until the British Ornithologists' Union and the American Ornithologists' Union changed the official English name of the bird in their regions to Rock Pigeon.

Who knew?

posted on Sat, 04/14/2007 - 1:16pm
Joe's picture
Joe says:

Perhaps St. Paul should invest in robotic falcons?

posted on Fri, 04/20/2007 - 11:03pm
mary beth's picture
mary beth says:

i think that's a wonderful idea! maybe the entire country should do that. Falcons are rare in Nebraska, so that would help to catch the mosquitoes. there would need to be money spent, though, and we would have to make sure the state has enough.

posted on Sat, 04/21/2007 - 9:40am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

Are they serious? This is just to make St. Paul look nice? Sure, I understand overpopulation, but that's what birds of prey are for. I don't think it's the human's job to mess with the cycle.

posted on Sat, 04/21/2007 - 9:50am
Joe's picture
Joe says:

Falcon enjoying a pigeon.: Image courtesy Xcel Enercy Highbridge Falcon Cam.
Falcon enjoying a pigeon.: Image courtesy Xcel Enercy Highbridge Falcon Cam.
Well, they are serious about the pigeon condos. The robotic falcons - not likely. It may not be our job to mess with the natural cycle, but given that our cities have created an un-natural cycle - allowing these birds to reproduce year-round when normally they would not - I think a method of control is permissible. But, the falcons at the Excel Energy power plant sure do eat a lot of pigeons!

posted on Sun, 04/22/2007 - 12:00pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

Duh... no.

posted on Sat, 04/21/2007 - 10:42am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

why do pigeons poop, then we wouldn't have a problem now would we?

posted on Sun, 04/22/2007 - 1:18pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

I am currently working in urban pest bird management and mainly work with pigeons. The idea of getting a bunch of falcons to eat the birds is a myth. If biologically can't be done. There are too many pest birds, and falcons are territorial. Plus pigeons are only a portion of their diet. The best way to manage a population of pest birds is to reduce the population. This is most easily and efficiently done by trapping and euthanizing the birds. St. Paul's plans to build a nesting site seems outrageous and most likely will not work (at least not by thier convention time). How can they be sure the piegeons will find and like the nesting site well enough to actually use it. And if you only remove the eggs, it will not help with the adult birds. I find this story outlandish and rediculously funny. Good luck to that city...

posted on Fri, 04/27/2007 - 9:40am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

I live trap pigeons and could reduce the population by 85%.

posted on Mon, 05/14/2007 - 3:05pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

Wow! I did hear this and find it totally crazy. Cities have birds, birds poop, big deal! Leave to Republicans to focus on CRAP!!!

posted on Mon, 05/07/2007 - 2:29pm
Gene's picture
Gene says:

Crap produced by others, of course. ;-)

But, seriously, who wouldn't like their city to look nice for visiting guests? And the benefits live on long after the convention is gone. Chicago hosted the Democrats a few years back, and in preparation installed a number of beautification projects. They are still there, improving the quality of life in the city every day.

posted on Mon, 05/21/2007 - 11:22am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

just wanna know where to trap the birds

posted on Wed, 05/09/2007 - 11:23am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

Hey! I grew up in Washington, D.C., home to tons of pigeons and various other crap. And so far as I can tell, no one's done anything about either one! Live with it, St. Paul! The repubs are used to it. Besides, spending taxpayer money to build nesting grounds seems like a cockamamie idea. The pigeons aren't endangered and have survived just fine without one. And like the previous person said, there's no guarantee they'd find the nesting grounds and lay enough eggs in time to make any difference before the convention. Perhaps better garbage control would be a more useful strategy.

posted on Mon, 05/21/2007 - 10:06am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

Kind of scary, though not surprising, that killing the birds is the city's solution to this pseudo-problem. The root of pigeon overpopulation is the condition of the cities in which they abound. A nicer way to solve that is to fix the wasteful behaviors of the city and its inhabitants so the pigeons aren't as comfortable there.
But, well, that would necessitate a change in greedy, comsumptive lifestyles. And it is, then, much easier to kill a bunch of birds that nobody liked to begin with.

posted on Tue, 11/13/2007 - 11:41pm
Rob Scott's picture
Rob Scott says:

We are pestered by rock pigeons. They roost on the outside window sills and ledges under the eaves. I have found a solution that seems to work: Hang a string of silver tinsel (the kind used for decorating Xmas trees) above the roosting place so that it can move in the wind. It appears to scare them off, possibly by the reflection of sunlight or perhaps the movement of the tinsel in the wind. This method has worked for several weeks now.

posted on Thu, 02/14/2008 - 2:31am
Rob Scott's picture
Rob Scott says:

Re my previous comment on the use of silver Xmas-tree tinsel to scare off pigeons. It did work for about a month, but eventually they got so used to it that they were roosting right underneath it...so the battle continues!

posted on Sun, 06/01/2008 - 2:30pm
wraithdrudge's picture
wraithdrudge says:

no matter what they do the pigeon poop problem will not clear by building pigeons condos on rooftops.pigeons don't just stay in one spot,and i know by personal experiance they poop where they want.

posted on Wed, 10/15/2008 - 3:50pm
greg's picture
greg says:

If you're going to remove eggs then replace them with plastic dummy eggs or they'll just lay more.. the false eggs will keep them happy plus no newby pigeons!

posted on Sun, 10/26/2008 - 9:22pm
Pigeon lover's picture
Pigeon lover says:

You are mean to the poor pigeons.

posted on Sat, 02/20/2010 - 1:24am
Pigeon lover's picture
Pigeon lover says:

What do you care about pigeon poop?

posted on Sat, 02/20/2010 - 1:26am

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