Pigeons are a nuisance in downtown North Platte. On Tuesday evening, the local city council approved a plan to get rid of them.
An agreement with the United States Department of Agriculture Animal and Health Inspection Service was approved on Tuesday at the regular North Platte City Council meeting. The plan is to eradicate the birds through a multi-faceted process that includes using toxicants, trapping and shooting.
Chad Richardson, district supervisor for the service, gave an overview of what needs to be done.
“The situation didn’t develop overnight and it won’t go away overnight,” Richardson said. “The goal is to reduce the population by 50 percent in the first year.”
It is estimated there are around 4,000 pigeons in the city, and Richardson said it will take putting in the man hours to accomplish the goal. Eventually, he believes the service can reduce the population by 90 percent. In Scottsbluff, the service successfully eradicated all but a handful of 2,000 pigeons in that city.
“Toxicant baiting is the key,” Richardson said. “Trapping and shooting is much more labor intensive.”
The toxicant is used after the birds have been baited with corn. Then corn is soaked in the liquid toxicant and the birds eat the tainted feed.
“We have a toxicant that is registered just to the USDA,” Richardson said. “It’s a good toxicant, if there is such a thing. There is no secondary toxicity to these birds. It is different toxicant than what private controllers have used in the past.”
The effect on the birds is that they die in their sleep due to liver failure. There will be dead birds, but the service will remove the birds as they are found. The toxicant does not stay toxic after the bird dies, so people or pets that come in contact with the dead birds are not in any danger.
“Great Plains Health and the Ag Valley Co-op have agreed to share the cost of the service,” City Administrator Jim Hawks said. “The cost will be split three ways with the city.”
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