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After the article about the people in my town using a bird of prey to scare the feral pigeons away at the Pantiles (see Local pigeon news posts), I looked into the matter further to see how effective and humane this method really is. I mistakenly thought that using this method was humane because, as I first read, the birds of prey are not trained to kill the pigeons – only to fly about to scare them. How silly of me to believe this! My mistake simply shows how important it is to research something thoroughly before making a judgement.

There is nothing humane with using birds of prey to control pigeon numbers. They state that the bird of prey is only supposed to fly about and scare the pigeons, however, how do you train a bird of prey to not catch and kill a pigeon?

Rather than reproduce what has already been so effectively written, please go to the following websites to read for yourself how ineffective and inhumane this method really is:

And for information on the law regarding pest control: PiCAS: The Law

Pest control companies that use lethal methods are either ignorant of the fact that it is ineffective and inhumane to use birds of prey or they simply ignore the fact and decide to keep their clients in the dark because they are making money from them. It is so sad to see so much greed and speciesism in the world.

I believe I found a clip of the video that inspired the people at the Pantiles to hire out a bird of prey (unfortunately, anyone outside of the UK cannot view the video). In the clip they simply state that they use falcons (a natural predator of pigeons) to scare pigeons in Dubai. They fail to mention whether the falcons actually catch and kill pigeons, so I looked further and found an article about their services as well as the company’s website. Nothing is mentioned on their own website (no surprise there), however, in the article they state that their falcons “never attack birds in the air and are trained to return to their owners for food when they’re hungry”. Believable?

Pigeons have a bad rep. I’m not entirely sure why since they have been domesticated for thousands of years and have been utilised as messangers, raised for food, and kept as pets and for show. So why the ‘flying rat’ and ‘dirty’ image that many people view them as? (Editors note: rats are also given the same bad, if not worst, image as pigeons, however, I feel this is equally unjustified.)

I guess it is just a matter of prejudice. While white doves are considered a symbol of peace, innocence and loyalty, feral pigeons are considered dirty and diseased. Strange since doves and pigeons are actually the same species. Maybe it is only a colour difference that makes someone like or dislike a pigeon?

Pigeons are also often labeled as pests. Humans are quick to call a species a pest if they interfere with agriculture, livestock or our dwellings. How arrogant of us to do so when we are the ones encroaching on their territory and they are simply taking advantage of what we leave around for them. Anyway, I don’t want to rant and rave about this subject. I could get a bit hot under the collar. :)

The reason I’m bringing this up is to say that although pigeons are not generally thought by the masses as pet animals, they are indeed one of the best species to have as a pet, and can rival a dog! Pigeons are intelligent, clean, easily tamed (especially if hand-reared), found in different shapes and colours, and are very entertaining and loving. I’m not advocating for people to go out there and capture feral pigeons to keep as pets, not at all! Rather I’m just trying to show that if, for some chance, a tame or baby pigeon comes your way don’t make any rash decisions. You have a wonderful animal in your hands!

For those of you who are not quite sure about pigeons, why not take part in The Feral Pigeon Project: http://feralpigeonproject.com/ It may help you see pigeons in a different light once you’ve started observing them.

Going onto a pigeon forum and reading peoples positive viewings will also help you realise what wonderful animals pigeons are. My personal recommendation is this forum, Pigeon Angels, for a friendly and relaxing atmosphere: http://pij-n-angels.forumotion.net/

For those of you who cannot or will not see pigeons as anything other than a pest, and have an issue with them on your property, please have a look at these two websites before attempting to remove them in a non-humane way: Pigeon Control Advisory Service (PiCAS) and Humane Urban Wildlife Deterrence Association.