When you look at a pigeon, you might see a dirty, rat-like bird that fouls anything it touches with feathers or feces, but I see a waste-scavenging, protein-generating biomachine.
You see, city pigeons are the feral descendants of birds that were domesticated by humans thousands of years ago so that we could eat them and use their guano as fertilizer. They’re still doing their part, i.e. eating and breeding, but we humans have stopped doing ours, i.e. eating them.
Numbering in the hundreds of millions, they could be a new source of guilt-free protein for locavores in urban centers. Instead, we’re still trying to kill off our species’ former pet birds, which (as any city-dweller can attest) doesn’t work.
“Killing makes no sense at all,” Daniel Haag-Wackernagel, a biologist at the University of Basel, told Der Spiegel. “The birds have an enormous reproduction capacity and they’ll just come back. There is a linear relationship between the bird population and the amount of food available.”
“This explosion of the pigeon population is due to the large food supply, because after the war food became cheap in relation to income,” Haag-Wackernagel argues.
“Since this increase in our welfare, society has produced pigeon food in abundance through our wasteful practices.”
It wasn’t always this way. In fact, eating pigeons is as American as eating pumpkin pie. Probably more so, on a net weight basis, actually.
A 1917 report to the Massachusetts Board of Agriculture details the story of the
American passenger pigeon, extinct kin to our current city birds. The birds provided our founding fathers with a bountiful feast in 1648 when, according to Massachusets Bay Colony luminary John Winthrop, “multitudes of them were killed daily.”
The report describes the many millions of birds that were killed all across the nation through the 19th century. A specialized itinerant profession even arose, the netters, who when pigeons were spotted
“learned their whereabouts by telegraph, packed up their belongings, and moved to the new location.” In one particularly fascinating section, the author describes the last great flock of New
York pigeons on the lam from marauding bands of netters who sell their meat to market.
About Pigeon Patrol:
Pigeon Patrol Products & Services is the leading manufacturer and distributor of bird deterrent (control) products in Canada. Pigeon Patrol products have solved pest bird problems in industrial, commercial, and residential settings since 2000, by using safe and humane bird deterrents with only bird and animal friendly solutions. At Pigeon Patrol, we manufacture and offer a variety of bird deterrents, ranging from Ultra-flex Bird Spikes with UV protection, Bird Netting, 4-S Gel and the best Ultrasonic and audible sound devices on the market today.
Voted Best Canadian wholesaler for Bird Deterrent products four years in a row.
Contact Info: 1- 877– 4– NO-BIRD (www.pigeonpatrol.ca)