Pigeons are a nuisance for cities, and cities are like heaven for pigeons. Attempts to control the pigeon population has been going on for decades in places like New York City and Hollywood. Now, Hollywood has found a way to control the population effectively and to the approval of animal activists. They plan to feed them birth control.

In the past, the number of ways that pigeons were controlled were inhumane, and the birds are not protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918. They’ve also tried moving large numbers of the birds to other areas or replace their eggs with dummy eggs to discourage rebreeding. They have even tried poisoning them with Avitrol mixed in with corn or grain. People are also discouraged from feeding the birds, and Hollywood has even considered hiring a “pigeon warden” to crack down on those who are caught feeding pigeons except in certain places.

All of these efforts seem unnecessary for harmless little birds who were once natural cliff-dwellers who migrated to the city where food was plentiful. However, one pigeon can create about 25 pounds of excrement a year and can spread more than 60 diseases, although most of these are rare. The costs of cleaning up bird waste throughout the country has been estimated to cost $1.1 billion a year. Pigeons live about three to four years in urban settings and can produce four or five broods of young a year. It needs only to eat about one ounce of food per day. So those who throw feed out to pigeons is supporting their daily consumption of food.

Now, in the next few months, rooftop feeders will be filled with kibble and a substance called OvoControlP. The effects of this substance will show initial results within a year and reduce the pigeon population in half within four years. It was developed by Rancho Santa Fe-based Innolytics and contains nicarbazin which interferes with an egg’s ability to develop or hatch. The treatment costs about $4.88 a pound or $6.00 a day for every 100 pigeons fed with an annual cost of $60,000. The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce has promised to put up $1,000 of this cost, but the city is hoping that local businesses will contribute to the cost that will benefit them as well as the rest of the city.

For related articles visit

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/10/15/magazine/15pigeons.html?pagewanted=6&ei=5070&en=29b67a9134134420&ex=1186027200 and http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-pigeons30jul30,1,6029374.story?coll=la-headlines-california.

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