Many city pigeons are immigrants: they are born in suburbs and flie as young birds to the city center. There have even the faintest birds a chance to survive.
That is the finding of ecologist André de Baerdemaeker. ‘ Pigeons are very good brothers, they produce a lot of offspring. Those young birds have to feed themselfs before in late summer their put their wings out. They do often in the city centre, where there is more food in general than in the suburbs. ‘
Youngsters in inner-city suburbs is so a pigeon paradise.
In the suburbs are especially strong, healthy animals. ‘ In the Centre is lots of food, but as a pigeon you still have to fight for the food. That is why especially birds who cannot eat otherwise go to the City Center: babies who still have a place in the pecking order and sick animals. That can be in the shopping streets by eating discarded French fries. ‘ The bad image of the city is mainly due to the sick birds. ‘ The healthy pigeons you will not see, because they can take care of themselves. The less healthy or desperate pigeons go to the Center. ‘
City pigeons will not be very old: de Baerdemaeker estimates life expectancy at about one and a half years. ‘ In captivity they can be ten to twelve, but pigeons in an urban environment run much risk. ‘ They should not just watch out for cyclists, there are also more and more predators in city centers to find. ‘ Foxes, sparrow hawks and peregrine falcons. Thereby the pigeons will be forced to keep moving. Formerly they could sit on a roof edge, nowadays, they’re much more on their guard. It is faster for the whimps ended, but the population is generally healthier. ‘de Baerdemaeker expects that it will reduce the inconvenience of pigeons. ‘ There will be less ‘ hang pigeons ‘. ‘ Also in Amsterdam, the peregrine falcons, sparrow hawks and hawks population is growing. To the pigeons here in recent years, no large-scale study is done.
Soon will start a trial with dovecotes at central places in the inner city. By feeding the pigeons extra the nuisance by the animals will decrease. The eggs laid are replaced by fake eggs, whereby the population will eventually dwindle. In Amsterdam had previously been such a test: in 2004, on the roof of de Bijenkorf a dovecote was posted. It disappeared in 2008 again, because the operator of the Parkinggarage was fed up with the pigeons droppings that felt on the roof of the garage.
But what is the best cure for the pigeon nuisance in inner cities?
‘ No longer feeding on the streets, ‘ says de Baerdemaeker. ‘ As long as they know there is something to get,they will keep coming. And right they are. ‘
Photo: Amsterdam Today