Among the most famous images of London’s Trafalgar Square is one of people feeding pigeons in its grounds. And closer to home, feeding these birds was a favourite pastime on the weekends around the Vidhana Soudha, when people flocked to it for a bit of relaxation in its gardens. But no more, as the pigeons are now as numerous in most parts of the city  as they were once around it.

Far from feeding them, people have now taken to shooing them away as they  invade their balconies and kitchens, building nests and dirtying them with their poop and feathers.  Their numbers have become their downfall as they are no longer priced as pets either. Instead they are the flying rats of urban Bengaluru.

Observes one fed up Bengalurean, industrialist, Narendra Kumar, “Pigeons have adapted so well to our urban civilisation that  they are driving other birds away. Cleaning pigeon droppings has become a huge problem today. People in high- rise buildings are the worst affected and even the plants on the balconies suffer as a result of their invasion.”

But what’s worse, the pigeon droppings are not just an eyesore, but also a health hazard, warn wildlife experts.  With the pigeon population growing, they have been spreading diseases like avian influenza and castle fever through their droppings, according to them. “ The pigeon droppings contain bacteria and fungus, which can cause major lung disorders that can be fatal,” they explain.

It is also claimed that those who fall sick as a result of the pigeon droppings, find recovery hard despite downing antibiotics, because of the strong infection they transmit. Bird lovers too admit to being on their guard when it comes to these birds because of the infections and diseases they transmit.

The BBMP , which has received numerous complaints from people  about the pigeon menace, is now planning to hold a meeting with wildlife experts, bird lovers , health experts and concerned citizens to deal with it, says Mr Sarfaraz Khan, BBMP joint commissioner (health).

The civic agency is reportedly considering taking a cue from other countries, which have effectively dealt with the growing population of pigeons without harming the ecology and is also planning a study on their impact on humans, animals and other bird species.


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