He cites it as an example of misinformed conservation practice and misplaced charity. “You cannot mollycoddle one avian species to the exclusion of others. It causes imbalance. The common misconception among people is that they are contributing to a cause. The sooner they discard the thought better it is for urban biodiversity,” he cautions.

Mr. Dilawar has plethora of examples of people living in the vicinity of these densely populated pigeon feeding centres suffering from dry cough and severe breathing problems as in Ghatkopar in Mumbai. Doctors have traced it to their continuous exposure to allergens found in dried up droppings of pigeons and their feathers. Harassed residents are now using even social media to launch “Kabutar Ja” campaign against feeding pigeons. In Hyderabad, the “Kabutar Khanas” once confined to Old City have invaded newer areas like Begum Bazar, Koti and Nampally.

There was a case of a blogger narrating how his weekends are spent scrubbing and cleaning the crusty pigeon droppings on window ledges of his “Rs. 15,000 per sft apartment” in Mumbai. There was yet another instance of a person shooting a pair of Rock Pigeons down unable to bear the stench and their nuisance.

There is a tourism angle to it. Tourists like to be a part of visual feast of flocks of pigeons feeding or flying off as it happens at the landmark, Gateway of India in Mumbai. Tourists and the devout who feed pigeons do not realise that some of these centres are run on crass commercial lines with vendors hawking tonnes of jowar and black gram. The bigger size of these grains deter other smaller birds from visiting the place. “Before more people take to extreme steps to check the menace, those concerned with urban biodiversity should run awareness campaign to discourage people from patronising feeding centres as these are turning out to be mass breeding centres of pigeons. Such exponential growth also partly caused by lack of predators like birds of prey could lead to ecological problems,” says Mr. Dilawar.

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