Pigeon birth control might be imported to deal with the out-of-control bird population in a seaside suburb on Auckland’s north shore.
Reports of the birds scaring local school children as well as concerns around hygiene have prompted the call to control the burgeoning population.
Hibiscus and Bays Local Board chairwoman Julia Parfitt said pigeon contraceptive is not licensed for use in New Zealand.
But the board is investigating and it could be introduced within the next six months, although it is not cheap, Parfitt said.
“We don’t want to go to this expense but we have a problem…Unfortunately the ratepayers will be expected to pick up the bill.
“We would prefer people just stopped feeding them.”
Parfitt said the board has been assured by council officers the pigeons would spread out and find their own food.
A local woman from Rothesay Bay who began feeding the pigeons in the Browns Bay Village Green last year said a contraceptive-laced seed would be a humane way to control the population.
She said she raised birth control as a possible solution with Auckland Council four years ago but nothing was done.
The council is trying to “starve out” the birds, she said, as the pigeons only flock to people because they are desperate for food.
“When the birds are well-fed and contented they sit quietly under the trees.”
Signs asking people not to feed the pigeons were installed in the village green in March but have since disappeared.
The local board has ordered replacements.
To add to the issue, schools have also noticed the pigeon population growing.
Northcross Intermediate acting principal Kim Sloane said the birds are coming into classrooms.
“They don’t voluntarily go out, they have to be chased out and they fly into windows. Children and staff are scared of them, there’s just so many of them.”
Students take their rubbish home and are instructed not to feed the birds.
Sloane said there are safety concerns around the pigeons swooping down on people.
When one flew at her she fell backwards onto a rubbish bin.
Issues with the birds were raised in April, after which, Parfitt was contacted by cafes and restaurantsstruggling to cope with the pigeons.
“It’s ruining their lives because the birds don’t know boundaries,” she said.
Another issue raised by Parfitt in April was the hygiene problems caused by feathers and excrement in the village green where community events are held.
The village green is in the heart of Browns Bay, Parfitt said.
“A village green is provided as a green space for the community, it wasn’t provided as a bird feeding station.”
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