FW: [canberrabirds] Feral Pigeons

To: "" <>
Subject: FW: [canberrabirds] Feral Pigeons
From: Geoffrey Dabb <>
Date: Wed, 28 Aug 2019 02:05:25 +0000

Thanks for all the informative replies so far, and Con, thanks for that comprehensive response.  Were you involved in pigeon control in a former life?


From a webtrawl it seems the ACT govt has had more than one position.  In 2013 TAMS was trying to eradicate pigeons from underpasses in Tuggeranong because of fouling of walkways,  and in 2017 Parks and Conservation issued a warning to pigeon-keepers to take precautions to avoid birds becoming infected with ‘rotavirus’.  Owners should avoid their birds coming into contact with ‘feral pigeons’ (!).


It seems bridges rather than buildings are the preferred sites for local birds.  Query whether this is the result of aggressive ‘pigeon management’ in relation to buildings.



From: Con Boekel <>
Sent: Wednesday, 28 August 2019 11:02 AM
Subject: Re: [canberrabirds] Feral Pigeons



In Civic I have from time to time found pigeons dead but with very full crops. I assume that these birds had been poisoned by building managers. Examination of the crop contents included items such as corn kernels which would not normally have been available to feral pigeons in Civic.

Also in Civic, and formerly, there were also a high proportion of pigeons with deformed feet. I assumed that these were the result of chemical warfare by building owners to deter pigeons from roosting on their buildings.

The biggest regular flocks I used to see were those that used Campbell Park Offices as a roost. This flock still exists, but is now drastically reduced - I assume because of actions taken by building management. This flock may also have been impacted by the drought and the impact on seed production in the peri-urban paddocks where it can be seen from time to time in the company of Galahs and Little Corellas.

Other than that, I have seen several local and smaller flocks rise, flourish and then fall. There used to be a flock of around 50 that hung around a certain residence in Turner near Sullivan's Creek. Either the owner changed his behaviour or the residence changed hands. That flock is gone. that flock used to feed in Haig Park and in the playing fields and rough grasslands adjacent to Sullivan's Creek. Similarly there used to be a flock that hung around the O'Connor shops but which now seems to be gone.

From observation, I believe that if Pied Currawongs can reach the squabs then breeding success is not sufficient to replace the adult birds. Some of our bridges have currawong-proof niches and crevices and these have virtually perpetual populations of pigeons.

Such 'safe' sites have recently been added in tens of thousands to the ACT - solar panels. I have observed something like half a dozen attempts to breed in such places. I believe that the householders intervened in all cases but one to destroy the nesting attempt. In that case the breeding attempt was destroyed when the adult birds perished under the panels during an exceptionally hot day.

I don't know whether the modern multi story buildings in the ACT include deliberate provisions for eliminating pigeon roosting and/or breeding sites.

The tide of gentrification whereby older houses with breeding crannies are being replaced by houses with none may be having an impact.

Increased competition with Common Myna scavengers may be having an impact.

Are schools more effective in recycling and reducing food waste behaviour by children in the playgrounds, thereby reducing a food source? Shopping Centre managers ditto? Have wheelie bins altered the availability of food scraps? Is the ever-declining proportion of urban backyard space and nature strips having an impact?

Did water pricing and the drastic consequent impact on householders refusing to water their grassy spaces have an impact? (I believe that this may have reduced Canberra's worm population and hence Canberra's Common Blackbird population.)

In 2008 in Paris we observed various measures taken by the authorities aimed at reducing or eliminating pigeons. This included in targetting the numerous folk who took pleasure in feeding pigeons. This was in direct response to bird flu. I don't know whether the ACT took similar measures to discourage/eliminate pigeons.





On 8/28/2019 10:14 AM, Geoffrey Dabb wrote:

I am engaged on a little project on the local feral pigeons.  I’m interested in any reports of regular feeding aggregations or major roosting or nesting sites.


At the moment we are not seeing the large flocks we used to get around the open areas and on powerlines at JWNR.  There are a few flocks to be seen on lawns in the parliamentary triangle.


The flock regularly seen flying over south Canberra is probably based at a local loft i.e. privately owned.  There are probably similar flocks in North Canberra, which is the home of an active pigeon racing club.

Does anyone on this chatline keep pigeons?

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