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As the growing population of pigeons in NYC continues to cause more distress for residents, the city council is making extra efforts to find a solution to the problem. Councilman Simcha Felder suggested the use of robotic hawks to drive pigeons away from city sidewalks.
RoboHawk is a mechanical hawk that is manufactured in Scotland by Robop Limited, and it resembles and acts like a real peregrine falcon. This high-tech scarecrow has been used in Liverpool, England and a few other cities around the world to tackle pigeon problems. The RoboHawk mimics the actions of real hawks by flapping its wings, shaking its head sideways, and making hawk calls. It is regarded as a humane way to deter unwanted birds, and it is commonly used in campuses, airports, and stadiums.
One of the limitations of the RoboHawk is that it cannot fly, and it has to be moved to different positions from time to time to trick the pigeons. There is another product from Spain called the Falco Robot, which has the ability to fly, but a skilled operator is required to control it.
Although I have not had rodents in my attic (at least none that I know of anyways), last spring we had the unpleasant experience of having birds living among us. We never heard any noise in the attic and it was only by chance that we viewed one entering through the eaves on the front of the house one day.
Upon inspection of the attic, we found that that one bird was not an isolated event. In fact, there were 15 nests in varying sizes up there. Like rodents, birds can also pose a threat to your well being. They did not eat through any electrical wires so there was no threat of a fire, but they did leave droppings everywhere. The droppings forced us to replace the costly insulation throughout the entire attic once we found how the birds were able to take up residence.
Besides leaving messy droppings everywhere, the birds caused another problem….a huge problem in fact. Each of the nests contained eggs shells and several contained tiny dead birds that did not make it into adulthood. These carcasses attracted ants by the millions. After feeding on the baby birds, the ants began to eat a portion of the roofing boards on our house. The shingles and the roofing boards had to be replaced in two locations on our home. The financial burden that ensued was far more than we bargained for. Who knew that birds could cause so much damage?
If you find yourself with birds nesting in your attic, you need to contact a wildlife control specialist so they can help with the bird removal and advise you how to keep them away for good.
Twenty-six pounds of poop! That’s the amount of waste one pigeon produces in a year. Sounds about right. If Hector doesn’t clean up his act, I’m thinking of evicting him.
Hector spends his winters on a small ledge at the top of my porch pillar. He was one of a cadre of noisy pigeons born a few years back in the eave of my roof. I’ve since repaired the eave, but Hector believes in the old saying about pigeons coming home to roost. He’s returned to my porch every fall for the past three years, and every spring I find myself hosing and scrubbing.
Pigeon poop is like trying to scrape concrete off brick. When it dries and falls on the porch, it produces a fine, caustic dust that can aggravate allergies and asthma. Droppings can ruin buildings and automobiles. Pigeons carry more diseases that are harmful to humans than rats, including encephalitis, histoplasmosis, cryptococcosis and toxoplasmosis. Add in fleas, ticks and mites and it’s time to roll up the welcome mat.
Unfortunately, once they pick your ledge, pigeons are hard to get rid of and the help of a wildlife control specialist may be necessary. Some cities are experimenting with a new product, Ovocontrol. It’s a birth control food pellet for birds designed to prevent egg fertilization. It doesn’t harm the birds, but it keeps them from multiplying. Since 5 pigeon pairs can produce up to 400 pigeons in just 2 years, that’s a good thing.
It’s like a scene for the Alfred Hitchcock’s classic horror film Birds. Only this time, the people are attacking the birds. Pigeon poachers have been rounding up birds in NYC parks and high-tailing it off to parts unknown with truckloads of the urban pests. City Health Department Commissioner Thomas Frieden said some rustlers are selling the birds for $5 to $10 each to out-of-state pigeon shoots. The pigeon shoots may be legal, but absconding with the city’s ubiquitous park dwellers and transporting them across state lines without a permit isn’t.
In the early-morning hours, men spread seed on city park pavements and uninhabited streets to lure the pigeons. As dozens come to feed, the men throw large nets over the cooing throng, toss the whole flailing mass into the back of a truck and screech off. The Health Department, in concert with several state and local agencies, has been trying to head the rustlers off at the pass, so far without success.
Birders and the New York Bird Club are upset, and some have formed their own posse to track down the bird-nappers. “We’ve followed the netters to a warehouse in Queens that sells poultry,” said one bird advocate. “We’re still trying to pull together evidence.” Commissioner Frieden urges any citizen observing the illegal netting of pigeons to report details by calling 311.