Will contraceptives for pigeons work in Tongeren?

The city of Tongeren (Limburg) is stepping up the fight against 'city pigeons'. The local council has decided to feed the birds contraceptives to reduce the population and limit the nuisance the animals are causing.

The pigeons are being fed corn that has been treated. "It has no impact on the birds' health in any way," explains Patrick Jans, the Tongeren Alderman for the Environment. "But the grains contain a product that reduces fertility. The number of pigeons should drop with 20 to 30 percent in a years' time."

Jans is also calling on local residents to stop feeding the pigeons. This feeding has enhanced their success in recent years. "But their faeces is causing damage to local historic buildings and littering pavements. Our problems with so-called city pigeons are concentrated in 3 places: near the basilica, the beguine church and the shopping centre."

The dominant pigeons will be hardest hit, as they are the first to pick up any food that is being spotted. The feeding will take place on 3 locations on regular times, as the pill also has to be taken on regular times to have any effect. However, bird welfare organisations are afraid that other birds will also be hit by the contraceptive project.

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