Sick pigeons downtown might have been poisoned

“It can be a very painful death.”

A local wildlife organization is concerned about the number of sick pigeons it’s finding in Regina’s downtown.

Megan Lawrence, director of rehabilitation for Salthaven West, said her organization is frequently called for reports of pigeons in distress.

She said Salthaven has been dealing with the birds for years now and fears they might have been poisoned.

“On average we’re seeing a poisoned pigeon every two to three weeks,” she said, adding those numbers increase in the summer. “It’s not a very humane death. Their temperature skyrockets; it can be a very painful death.”

“By the time we receive them, they’re having violent seizures,” she said. “The only thing we can do to get rid of the poison in their system is basically flush it out.”

Lawrence said she’s heard that some businesses downtown may be using poison in order to detract the birds from congregating on rooftops and other roosting points on buildings. However, she wasn’t able to offer any proof for her claims or pinpoint specific businesses and said she hasn’t spoken to any business owners herself.

The Leader-Post contacted some downtown businesses to see how they control the pigeon population. None of the businesses who responded said they use poison or have had an issue with pigeon overpopulation.

Kevin Lang, building manager for the Ramada Plaza located on Victoria Avenue, said while he has inquired with pest control companies about using poison to stop pigeons from roosting on the hotel’s roof, he’s never used it.

“I’ve been told … it affects the other (types of) birds,” he said. “(If) you put poison out, it can be consumed by anything that lands on our roof, which is not environmentally friendly.”

Instead, the hotel uses cages to keep them out. He said without them, pigeons can get into ventilation equipment and leave feathers in the rooftop coils.

Lawrence said if pigeons ingest poison, they aren’t the only ones who suffer. Animals who eat pigeons could be affected.

“If a Peregrine falcon was to eat one of those pigeons that had ingested the poison, the falcon is also going to get the poison and perhaps die as well,” she said.

Half of the pigeons they receive, she said, end up dying.


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