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Are Pigeons More Than Just Pests?

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Are Pigeons More Than Just Pests?

It can be hard to go anywhere in NYC and not see a pigeon. These birds seem to be almost everywhere as they steal food out of garbage cans, wait for crumbs on sidewalks, and leave their droppings on surfaces.

Yet pigeons were not always the unwanted pest that frustrates so many property owners today. In fact, part of what makes pigeons so prolific in NYC are due to the ways that humans interacted with pigeons in the past.

How Pigeons Became So Prevalent in NYC

Today’s pigeons evolved from the rock dove. This evolution was guided by humans during ancient times and into modern history. During these times, pigeons, called squabs, were a popular food in the Middle East and Europe.

For this reason, pigeons were domesticated as livestock animals. This resulted in two major changes that would set pigeons up to thrive in New York today. The first was that pigeons became comfortable living around humans. They also adapted to the types of foods that humans were feeding them in addition to becoming reliant on humans for those foods. While other birds rely largely on berries and insects, humans bred pigeons to thrive on whatever was available, including food scraps and refuse.

As European settlers came to America, they brought with them thousands of pigeons aboard their ships. In addition to food, pigeons were now in use for a variety of different purposes, including:

  • Carrying Messages – In ancient times, people realized that they could use pigeons’ innate sense of direction to deliver messages. Delivering letters by carrier pigeon became a fast and highly reliable way to get a message to its recipient.
  • Navigational Aids – Ancient sailing ships began to carry pigeons in case they became lost while at sea. When released, a pigeon would naturally fly towards the nearest landmarks, providing an easy navigational aid to the sailors.
  • Hobby Breeding – Breeding pigeons was a hobby among many people and many homes had dovecotes to hold pigeons for messages and food. The pigeons brought to America were sold to hobbyists.

Eventually these pigeons made their way into cities. When coupled with pigeons’ fast paced breeding, it is possible to see how pigeons could quickly overtake cities like NYC. Unfortunately, having pigeons around today does not offer the same benefits as it did hundreds of years ago. Instead, pigeons today are better known for the messes they create and their risk of spreading disease.

Animal Control NYC offers pigeon control in NYC, a humane way to manage pigeons and keep them away from local commercial properties without killing or hurting the bird. If you have an excess of pigeons at your commercial property, contact our team and learn more about our solutions for pigeon control.

By |2022-09-14T19:31:18+00:00September 14th, 2022|Birds|Comments Off on Are Pigeons More Than Just Pests?

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