LAKE CHELAN – You may see a couple of sharpshooters taking aim at the pigeons roosting on Lake Chelan Dam in the coming weeks, but don’t be alarmed.
Between two-to-three dozen of the birds have resisted all human efforts to trap them or scare them off. And they’re pooping everywhere, says Alene Underwood, the PUD’s Fish and Wildlife manager.
“The difference between pigeons and other birds, to be candid, is pigeons only poop when they sit,” Underwood said. “Lots of excrement is building up. We’ve tried to hose it off. Hose them off. But they keep coming back. We’re attempting to trap the birds, but they can’t seem to get them in the traps.”
That creates human health hazards, she said, because pigeons carry parasites and infectious diseases that can become airborne in the birds dried excrement.
“When the folks go out and work on the dam, we want to make sure they’re not exposed to that,” she said.
The PUD has an ongoing contract with the wildlife services division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture for nuisance species removal at its dams.
USDA officials will continue to try to trap the birds, she said. If unsuccessful, they’ll use pellet guns to shoot them. Trapped pigeons are also killed.
Beginning this week, work there will take place five days a week, every other week, Underwood said. Shooters will only be at the dam an hour or two each day, at different times.
The PUD has sent fliers to people who live within an 800-foot radius of the dam to alert them to the work.
The utility has used similar measures to exterminate pigeons and cormorants at its dams, Underwood said.
The cormorant is another “nuisance” species for its tendency to feast on baby salmon.
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