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Paris Builds Contraceptive Communes for Pigeons

Paris loves pigeons

When I went to Paris recently I was surprised to see what looked like a beyond-huge pigeon house in a pocket park in Montmarte, not far from Sacre Couer. Did pigeons, detested throughout the world, find a warm welcome from Parisiennes? Were they like the Jerry Lewis of birds?
Well, not quite.
The pigeons like the giant communes, where they live comfortably in groups of up to 200. But it’s a trap. They’re designed so the pigeons don’t poop on buildings. And every week or so someone from a pest control company comes in and shakes their eggs so they won’t have baby pigeons.
They do allow some reproduction. A Bloomberg report seems to say they let one egg per nest hatch. Le Figaro seems to say that workers let the first brood of each pair (La première couvée de chaque couple) hatch, then shake all the rest. Either way, it amounts to a lot of pigeons not being born, but a good life for those who do hatch.
The League for the Protection of Birds [Oiseaux] (LPO) likes the plan. The Humane Society of the United States has been pushing contraceptive as the most sane, least cruel strategy for dealing with populations of animals that people find annoying.
The big catch? Those fancy houses cost a lot of money. Like 20,000 euros ($30,000) to build and another 5,000 euros ($7,500) to maintain. But just one experimental house up five years is supposed to have prevented the birth of 5,000 pigeons. Depending on how long the houses last, it amounts to something like 9 € ($13.50) per pigeon prevented.

Can’t believe there’s any real wildlife in Europe? Check out this map and guide of cool places to see Europe’s wild horses (koniks), bison (wisent), wild boars and other natural wonders.

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1 comment to Paris Builds Contraceptive Communes for Pigeons

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