Being an element that offered an idyllic landscape in our cities, pigeons have become a serious health problem due to their invasive capacity, as well as a risk to the architectural heritage. These birds are part of the biodiversity of cities, but when their density increases disproportionately, they generate problems in several areas.
The mass reproduction of this species has made the messenger symbol of peace a transmitter of more than 40 infectious diseases that are transmitted to humans from direct contact with the pigeons or by inhaling their droppings in the form of microscopic dust. The most common ailments they cause are psittacosis (an infectious disease similar to pneumonia), gastroenteritis, salmonellosis, cryptococcosis (lung infection) and, on certain occasions, cases of bird flu. All of them cause in humans pictures of fever, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain and allergies. Also, urban pigeons are carriers of around 50 parasites such as ticks, lice, mites, or scabies.
To the health problem, we must add the impact on the architectural heritage. The overpopulation of pigeons in the urban environment is producing numerous aesthetic alterations and the deterioration of important buildings, in addition to the breakdown of urban furniture. Keep in mind that the feces of a pigeon – it can reach 15 kilos per year per bird – are highly corrosive and may contain seeds that end up sprouting on the facades of historic and protected buildings, causing damage and affecting their appearance. Both aspects cause economic damage that, every year, rises to millions of euros.
A problem dating from 1950
Historically, pigeons nested on the cliffs and in rocky mountain areas, but starting in the middle of the last century, they began to settle in cities that were beginning to be larger and offered different facilities. With this change of habitat they achieved three objectives: to get rid of the danger posed by predators such as hawks and eagles; have multiple buildings that provided excellent places to nest and, finally, get food easily and abundantly.
Experts point out that the tolerable average density is between 300 and 400 pigeons / km2 and that, if this number is exceeded, it is necessary to establish strict measures to control its population. The National Association of Environmental Health Companies has already requested urgent measures that contribute to controlling this species since it is necessary to take into account that they do not have predators around, they can eat everything, besides that they reproduce during any season and very quickly.
One of the most effective measures to tackle the problem of overpopulation is to ban their food, although few cities apply it in their municipal ordinances. But to achieve this it is necessary to offer more information to citizens so that they know the reality of the problem and begin to become aware. Although it seems easy, it is a sensitive issue because the pigeons have great social roots unlike other species such as rodents or insects.
In addition, other necessary measures to control your census are to always ensure that the garbage containers are tightly closed and do not leave garbage bags or food in the open. It is advisable to carry out periodic surveillance and proper conservation of the buildings to avoid that through any hole the pigeons can find a way of entry and nest on the rooftops.
In any case, you should always try to maintain a balance between the necessary measures to keep the pigeon population under control and how to carry out such control in order to respect animal rights, on the one hand, and obtain the greatest consensus between The different social agents for another.
Professional methods to stop the pigeon’s problem
As we have seen, the best way to avoid overpopulation of pigeons in the urban environment is to withdraw their food source. But, if the problem reaches larger dimensions, it is necessary to have the help of professionals. In this sense, we have a specialized bird control team that carefully analyzes the characteristics of the installation and the degree of infestation.
After this study, we propose to the client to develop the most suitable method and start the treatment and protection work. Among the most commonly used methods are antipalomas networks, electrostatic systems, anti posting tines or falconry.
- The protection networks against birds allow covering large areas (facades, squares, streets, roofs, etc.) and are a safe and economical control method. Birds are immediately blocked by the net and have no chance of becoming entangled in it.
- The antiposamiento tines are the most economical possibility to protect buildings. By blunt stainless steel tips, the area chosen to scare away the pigeons is covered.
- The electrostatic system; Upon entering the pigeons in contact with the system, they receive a harmless electrical impulse that will break their desire to settle in that area. The system consists of a series of parallel stainless steel rods that are installed on the surfaces to be protected, these rods are connected to a pulse generator that feeds the entire system.
- Falconry is the oldest, natural and ecological method to keep birds away from a certain area. It requires experts and a wide range of birds of prey (hawks, eagles, and owls) to develop the removal technique.