Pigeon crap isn’t Wellington’s biggest problem – but go for a gun, if residents want eradication

Some namby-pamby tossers in the capital city want to waste a lot of public money on a chemical solution to the pigeon problem.

Problem, at least, if you don’t much like pigeons.

Alf would prefer them to the drunks and dope fiends who make bits of the Wellington city centre a no-go zone for civilized persons.

Bird crap does not make the same disgusting mess as a vomiting inebriate or junkie.

But there are people who reckon Wellington’s pigeon population is out of control.

And some of them say it’s time to look at contraception or feeding bans.

The Dom-Post tells the story: 

New proposals for maintaining verandas in the CBD require them to be kept clean of pigeon droppings. But the Inner City Association, which represents residents and businesses, said that was an unfair burden on veranda owners, and the onus should be on the council to control the birds.

“There needs to be some humane way of controlling the pigeons,” association president Geraldine Murphy said.

She suggested contraception, spread in bird seed, which had been used overseas to cull populations of pigeons, sometimes known as the “rats of the sky”.

She also raised the idea of a bylaw to forbid people from feeding the birds. “The more food they get, the more they breed.”

The same could be said of social welfare beneficiaries.

This residents’ outfit has called on Wellington City Council to tackle the problem, in a submission it made on the new veranda bylaw.

It was unreasonable to expect veranda owners to clean away bird droppings, when owners of buildings without verandas did not have to keep them clean, it said.

Building owners were already struggling to cope with the problem, by such methods as putting up spikes to deter birds, and cleaning away excrement before it became too encrusted.

“It can get quite solid, from what I understand,” Murphy said.

Council spokesman Richard MacLean didn’t seem to be too sympathetic.

He said  the control of pigeons was “one of those endlessly problematic issues”, and it was up to private building owners to keep their buildings clean.

Moves to cull the birds in the past had caused uproar, as many people believed killing them was “cruel and unnecessary”.

Alf wouldn’t go that far but he would argue that he would rather nobble any breeding activity by drunks and dope addicts, ahead of the pigeons.

Councillor Iona Pannett, who chairs the environment committee, said pigeon control was a fraught issue, and humane culling measures could be considered when the council considered its animal control bylaw later this year.

“I would not support anything that wasn’t humane … It’s a difficult issue, but it would be good to have some proper guidelines.”

In the meantime, the most important message was for people to stop feeding the birds, she said.

“We have to be careful not to encourage the growth of the population.”

While the council would discourage people from feeding pigeons, Pannett said she did not believe a bylaw would be necessary.

The Dom-Post article goes on to say pigeons are often associated with carrying diseases, including lyme disease, tuberculosis, influenza, salmonella, listeria and parasitic diseases.

But it also mentions a report by Landcare Research which stated that the risk of human infection was low, with few cases “verified as being sourced from pigeons”.

Alf observes that the risk of contracting something nasty from dope fiends, on the other hand, is comparatively high.

But birth control pills are a tedious way of trying to get rid of pigeons – or drug addicts.

Give him a shotgun, he says, and he will take care of both problems.

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