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Town pigeon numbers hit hard by renovation

The Local · 5 Aug 2012, 13:17

Published: 05 Aug 2012 13:17 GMT+02:00

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Figures from the nature protection society Nabu say there are only around 10,000 town pigeons left in the capital, down from up to 30,000 thought to have been there in 2001. And although there are no recent figures in Frankfurt, officials say that complaints about them have declined over recent years.

One of the causes is building renovation, which is undertaken without any consideration for providing space for birds to nest, Lars Lachmann from Nabu told the Frankfurter Rundschau newspaper at the weekend.

He said wartime ruins, which could still be found particularly in Berlin and other eastern cities until recently, had provided ideal accommodation for many birds, town pigeons included. They build their nests on ledges where there is some shelter.

Nets, wires and spikes installed on buildings to discourage the nesting also seems to have had a significant effect – as has the ban on feeding pigeons, as introduced in Frankfurt in 1970.

Officials there have also been swapping pigeon eggs with artificial fakes to reduce numbers, while hawks have been breeding successfully in many cities. In Berlin for example, there are so many hawks that bird watchers have travelled from the UK to see them, the paper said.

While the town pigeons are on the decline, their space in the city ecosystem is being taken up by wood pigeons, attracted from the increasingly unattractive countryside, where hedges and other nesting spots are being uprooted. They benefit from the trend towards greener cities, as they nest in trees.

Story continues below…

The number of crows in cities are also on the increase, said Lachmann, as they also move out of the countryside. A recent study suggested the number of field birds had halved in Europe since 1980 due to intensive land use.

The Local/hc

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

14:18 August 5, 2012 by cheeba
One can reasonably ask oneself, who is the Burgermeister liable to.? The citizens, or all of the human residents? Or all of the creatures residing within the city limits? Obviously the birds were there centuries before the humans ...."
14:42 August 5, 2012 by Münsterklaus
The cities will be better without these flying rats.

Three human diseases are known to be associated with pigeon droppings: histoplasmosis, cryptococcosis, and psittacosis.

Pigeon poop was considered to be an invaluable resource in the 16th, 17th and 18th century in Europe... but today it cost millions to keep the cultural heritage 'poop-free'. When leached by water, pigeon droppings form salt solutions with high acidity that in the long term destroys everything are contact with.

The rats and the cockroaches were there centuries before the humans too, and we don't -voluntarily- feed them...
15:43 August 5, 2012 by grazhdanin
the number of magpies has also been increasing in Berlin
16:00 August 5, 2012 by petenick
As a native New Yorker I have been bombed on by them a few times. They say it's good luck? YUK!
19:13 August 5, 2012 by Berlin fuer alles
Rats on wings. They spread disease and destroy buildings and monuments with their crap. Maybe the killer crows that are lose in Berlin are doing some good after all. :-)
22:10 August 5, 2012 by franconia
send them to St. Mark Square. There they are getting fed and the poop destruction on buildings don't matter. They will be under water in a few years anyway.
09:17 August 6, 2012 by hankeat
Cigarette and alcohol are welcomed, but not pigeon. Aren't they equally harmful? Nevertheless human is a strange being.
15:18 August 30, 2012 by Berlin fuer alles
I can choose to smoke or drink alcohol. Pigeons spread disease whether I like it or not.
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