Society

Say goodbye to these winged visitors

CAST A NET To prevent pigeons from getting in  

As the city evolves, the pigeon problem is uppermost in most people’s minds. Their droppings are considered corrosive and in many countries, the rise in the number of pigeons has apparently caused respiratory illnesses to increase.

From a pigeon’s perspective, living in the city is like living in a free holiday resort. Food and water are readily available, predators are rare, there is plenty of free housing.

Pigeons love the city. They find our window ledges, rooftops, to be ideal substitutes for the natural ledges of cliff sides were they would roost and nest. Dr Asad R Rahmani, director of Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS), who has been involved in bird conservation efforts for several years, said any bird species that multiples out of control would pose problems to cities and towns.

“Apart from people’s generosity, pigeons have also benefited from the fact that there are no major predators in urban areas,” he said.

Mohan Kunjukrishna Pillai, a birder, has two solutions to deal with the problem. “If the house has a backyard, build a birdhouse on a pole or tree a little away from the house. Provide grain and water there, and voila, you have a new pigeon adda. The other method is quite simple, hang something reflective near entry points of the house (windows, balconies) — small, useless CDs do a good job. They reflect light, and scare off the pigeons.”

Jayaraman Karkarla, another birder said, “I have seen people using pigeon nets which was helpful as suggested by some folks. Many people are getting light netting (that does not prevent air movement) for their balconies, or windows. It is simple and very effective and I have put nets on my balcony which prevents pigeons from entering.

Raja Bandi said, “In some parts of Europe I have seen some institutions installing a replica of a life-size owl to deter pigeons.”

Naturalist Rajesh Ramnarayan suggests “Rattlers, and loose ribbons like those seen in Tibetan temples, which clang in the wind.”

“Netting is a good idea to prevent pigeons from getting in. However, please do remember not to keep any space outside of the netting. This would allow the pigeons to settle there and start nesting,” advises Vishnupriya Hathwar.

So, we need to stop feeding the pigeons, intentionally or not. Avoid attracting them by cleaning up leftover food scraps. And finally, pigeons look for flat surfaces for roosting and nesting. One can install bird wires to keep pigeons off ledges, railings, awnings, and rooftops.

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Printable version | Feb 24, 2021 8:27:58 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/society/say-goodbye-to-these-winged-visitors/article6545179.ece

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