There is no such thing as a dumb animal. Okay, with the possible exception of that one bee who currently keeps flying into my kitchen, again and again and again. But he always finds his way out again. Hm. Then maybe even this bee isn’t really that dumb… I haven’t figured out yet what smell on my windowsill could be attracting him. Or her.
Traditional pest control companies like spreading persistent myths that help keep them in business. Thankfully, humane wildlife deterrence practices – which are much more effective – are slowly gaining traction. Take pigeons.
They’re highly intelligent animals which we took from their native habitats in foreign countries – sea cliffs – and introduced all over the world. I didn’t know that until nearly two years ago. When it comes to pigeons, there seem to be three groups of people: People who hate them, people who love them and people who are indifferent to them.
I used to be in that third category. In the past, I hardly paid any attention to the critters.
If you haven’t seen it yet, watch this documentary:
Deterring pigeons the traditional way is expensive. That’s partly because it works against the intelligence of the animals instead of working with it. Birds have been on the planet much longer than humans – since 150 million years ago, roughly, whereas our oldest ancestors such as Orrorin tugenensis appeared only around 6 million years ago. So birds have built up a vast collective knowledge that we still lack.
Several cities, including Paris and Nottingham, successfully work with pigeons instead of against them. It results in healthier birds and makes – if you want that – controlling pigeon populations much easier (through the use of dummy eggs).
In city parks and on the rooftops of flat buildings, you can provide pigeon roosting, nesting and feeding structures – modern dovecotes – that are so attractive to pigeons – the former rock doves – that they’ll select them over the inferior spots where we humans usually don’t want pigeons.
Such structures can be made from recycled plastic, which is maintenance-free, non-toxic and available in many shapes and colours. You can use them educational facilities for the public too, connect them with their surroundings in a positive and meaningful way that can be highly inspirational.
It makes sense. Would you rather live in a shack that exposes you to the elements from almost all sides or in a nice cosy environment that feels like home?
I’d be very happy to assist any party (city council, park owner, owner of large building with flat roof) who wishes to apply this.
This is a National Geographic documentary. Watch the whole 46 minutes and you may find that it changes your world view forever.