Stories tagged animal control

Aug
21
2008

Problem pigeon: John McCain, I've got that bald spot on the top of your head targeted for one of my droppings.
Problem pigeon: John McCain, I've got that bald spot on the top of your head targeted for one of my droppings.Courtesy Josh215
Aboout a year ago, the Buzz brought you news that St. Paul city officials were taking steps to reduce (with the ultimate goal of eliminating) the pigeon population in downtown. The thought was, with the Republican National Convention coming, the city didn't want out-of-towners having to watch their step on the sidewalks for messy pigeon droppings.

As a regular pedestrian through downtown, I can attest that the year's worth of efforts haven't made much of a difference. There are plenty of pigeons, and their droppings, still around downtown. Unless we host a massive falcon-hawk-eagle convention in the next week, the GOP is going to have to be on the lookout for pigeon GOOP.

None the less, St. Paul officials are cranking up their efforts to reduce the pigeon population. While earlier efforts focused on building delux nesting sites for the birds, and the confiscation of their eggs after they were laid, they've turned to pigeon birth control methods. Read all about it here in this Star-Tribune interview with the city's animal control officer. That all begs the question, were do you get pigeon condoms?

Dec
28
2007

Kicked out of St. Paul: The sugar glider -- a small marsupial version of a flying squirrel, has gotten the boot from the St. Paul City Council, which doesn't want the creatures to be kept as pets in the city any longer.
Kicked out of St. Paul: The sugar glider -- a small marsupial version of a flying squirrel, has gotten the boot from the St. Paul City Council, which doesn't want the creatures to be kept as pets in the city any longer.Courtesy Anke Meyring -- Wikipedia Commons
You’d think our civic leaders would have enough on their plates these days: fixing shaky bridges, untangling bad traffic jams, getting the snow plowed in a timely manner.

On Wednesday, the St. Paul City Council took action on another issue. It has banned sugar gliders from being house pets in homes in the city. The sugar glider is a marsupial version of a flying squirrel that comes from the South Pacific. As adults, they measure about 7.5 inches long and weigh up to five ounces.

Animal control officials for the city recommended the ban fearing owners might abandon the animals and they would have no ability to survive in our environs on their own. Also, they’re afraid that the critters make a lot of noise and can get to be quite smelly.

Checking with wildlife officials in Australia, the St. Paul leaders got the same word: that sugar gliders are not good house pets. But yesterday’s Star-Tribune news story on the issue also found people in Minnesota who have a lot of sugar gliders in their home. A St. Paul woman has six of the animals in her home while a married couple in Lino Lakes, who breed the animals for sale, has 34. On the market, a sugar glider goes for about $200.

The vote on the matter was 6-1 in favor of the ban. Dave Thune, the one vote against the measure, wasn’t so much in favor of sugar gliders as he was in wondering how far a city should go in banning different types of exotic animals from ownership by residents.

What do you think? How far should cities go in control the kinds of animals that people keep as pets? Share your thoughts here with other Science Buzz readers.

Apr
05
2007


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.