pigeon airCARLSBAD — Flocks of feral pigeons have prompted the Carlsbad City Council to set a date on Jan. 12 to hear a new ordinance that would allow the city to eradicate the problem.

Introduced at Tuesday night’s city council meeting, the ordinance would prohibit the feeding and harboring of feral pigeons, and includes a section that defines pigeon-proofing.

Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway said in an emailed statement that the city has received continuous complaints about large flocks of pigeons all across the city.

If this new ordinance were to be adopted then it would allow the city to reduce the feral pigeon population in the city.

Because pigeons not only cause damage to buildings and ventilation systems, but also can carry harmful diseases, the ordinance has some merit.

City officials said that pigeons carry many diseases, particularly found in their droppings, and they pose the risk of carrying fungus such as Histoplasmosis or the fungus Cryptococcis.

“Psittacosis is a rare bacteria, and pigeons may also carry mites and parasites,” a city news release said. “Pigeon droppings are (also) acidic and can damage buildings.”

Officials also cited sanitary concerns as another reason to introduce the ordinance.

Environmental Services Superintendent Richard Aguilar said that the large population of pigeons has not been an issue in Carlsbad until recently.

“Within the last two years, the population has doubled or tripled, due to the feeding,” Aguilar said in an email. “My understanding is one pigeon couple can result in a population of a few thousand after a few years.”

According to the city council agenda, “the most efficient long-term methods to control excess feral pigeon populations is to limit their access to food, shelter and nesting materials.”

The ordinance would define “feeding” as providing food to pigeons, meaning that any person intentionally feeding pigeons on public or private property would be in violation of the ordinance.We’re not trying to stop people from putting out a bird feeder, what we’re stopping is the excessive feeding that is causing this problem,” Aguilar said.

Janway said the ordinance will heard by the city council during the Jan.12 meeting and the council will then be able to vote on whether to adopt the ordinance.


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