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Feathered Rats

By johnny_the_knife - 15 October 2010 18

During one of my regular visits to the nation’s capital, I noticed an increasing number of pigeons in Civic, particularly around the chess board area and the merry go round.  Feathered rats (avian rats as I assume they would be known in PC speak) are a messy, disease carrying (http://www.cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au/Business/documents/Health/PigeonFactsheet2005.pdf) pest which the government seems to do nothing about.

While I agree Australia has a mixed history with biological controls for pest animals (Cane toads are a case in point), I would suggest that an effective solution to the problem already exists in the Australian Ecosystem in the form of the Peregrine Falcon (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peregrine_Falcon).  This crow sized bird of prey feeds almost exclusively on medium sized birds such as pigeons.  The introduction of a small number of falcons in the civic area would quickly reduce and control the population of gutter birds in the Canberra CBD.

The use of Falcons as a remedy to pest birds isn’t a new idea and has been successfully implemented at various airports around the world, and, I’m led to believe, at a number of sporting fields to keep seagulls away from the playing fields.

I urge the ACT government to consider this relatively cheap solution to the avian rat plague in our town.

What’s Your opinion?


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18 Responses to
Feathered Rats
Captain RAAF 9:01 pm 15 Oct 10

matt31221 said :

A few pigeons aint a problem ya homicidal maniac. A lot are though. Being a tradie I recently had a bit to do with the Old Canberra Powerhouse (the glassworks) cafe small pavillion upgrade in Kingston. I noticed that they had an absolute colony of pigeons living on the roof of that building and the gutters were blocked full of pigeon excrement. The stench on the worksite of that building was so bad, the soil was basically pigeon poo. The glassworks wanted a bird stopper electric fence on the roof. Upon commisioning I noticed they hadn’t plugged it in yet, so they called some exterminators to help with the problem. They put this horrible cage on the roof that contained wheat and water, it was a one way trap and would catch up to 100 pigeons in it and they would just sit in the cage once trapped and not fight. The pigeon control people rocked up and pulled the horrible cage off the roof and put the whole thing into a sealed box on the back of his ute. He then turned on a tap of sorts on the side of the ute. Anyways I was chatting to the bloke and just making small talk I asked were they going to re release them somewhere in the bush. He said no mate – we just put them in that box and gas them! Well at least they weren’t using poison which is the least humane of all. Talk about not messing around, I am not a greenie but offing the mongrels like that is a bit far maybe?

I bet he took all the gold teeth and rifled through their clothing first!

matt31221 8:36 pm 15 Oct 10

A few pigeons aint a problem ya homicidal maniac. A lot are though. Being a tradie I recently had a bit to do with the Old Canberra Powerhouse (the glassworks) cafe small pavillion upgrade in Kingston. I noticed that they had an absolute colony of pigeons living on the roof of that building and the gutters were blocked full of pigeon excrement. The stench on the worksite of that building was so bad, the soil was basically pigeon poo. The glassworks wanted a bird stopper electric fence on the roof. Upon commisioning I noticed they hadn’t plugged it in yet, so they called some exterminators to help with the problem. They put this horrible cage on the roof that contained wheat and water, it was a one way trap and would catch up to 100 pigeons in it and they would just sit in the cage once trapped and not fight. The pigeon control people rocked up and pulled the horrible cage off the roof and put the whole thing into a sealed box on the back of his ute. He then turned on a tap of sorts on the side of the ute. Anyways I was chatting to the bloke and just making small talk I asked were they going to re release them somewhere in the bush. He said no mate – we just put them in that box and gas them! Well at least they weren’t using poison which is the least humane of all. Talk about not messing around, I am not a greenie but offing the mongrels like that is a bit far maybe?

Pork Hunt 5:09 pm 15 Oct 10

Exactly what deadly disease/s do the birds carry?

Why isn’t every second office worker/seagull in Civic dying from said disease/s?

What about racing pigeons and doves that people keep to release on ceremonial occasions?

kylieonwheels 4:15 pm 15 Oct 10

If you have a bunch of filthy, diseased pigeons, and you feed them to a bunch of falcons, will you not then have a bunch of diseased falcons?

astrojax 3:35 pm 15 Oct 10

trevar said :

I’d love to see a falcon or two in Civic… is their biological name falconus fordus?

or falconus gthous?

johnny_the_knife 3:28 pm 15 Oct 10

niftydog said :

troll-sniffer – I think the method Johnny is referring to involves trained falcons and handlers. Once the pest birds see a few of their buddies taken out by a hungry predator they all clear out.

Using Falconers and trained birds is an (expensive) option, however, the Falcons natural behaviour is to take other birds mid-air. Once introduced to the area, and they realise their is a substantial food supply available, they will probably stay in the area.

niftydog 3:14 pm 15 Oct 10

troll-sniffer – I think the method Johnny is referring to involves trained falcons and handlers. Once the pest birds see a few of their buddies taken out by a hungry predator they all clear out.

Davo111 3:11 pm 15 Oct 10

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IgCsav-_zlw

just hire these guys and be done with it.

johnny_the_knife 2:46 pm 15 Oct 10

Gantz said :

Unless… do Falcons swoop too?

Generally only to catch other birds – max speed of a Peregrine Falcon dive is about 320KM/h.

I suspect a magpie would be a bit big for a Falcon. In other urban areas where there are Falcons, 80% of their diet is made up of Pigeons.

troll-sniffer 2:44 pm 15 Oct 10

A lofty ideal but totally impractical for more reasons that you can poke a feather at. If the inner part of a city was suitable for a wide-ranging falcon, they would probably have moved in by now.

Next?

p1 2:38 pm 15 Oct 10

Easier to give teenagers air rifles.

Solidarity 2:38 pm 15 Oct 10

Gantz said :

And what of the massive Magpie population (NATIVE birds)that have set up shop in Garema Place also?
Just Collateral Damage or…?

Even more reason to introduce Falcons!

Unless… do Falcons swoop too?

Thumper 2:25 pm 15 Oct 10

A couple of pigeons and you want the government to step in and eradicate them?

Man, try Instanbul or London…

trevar 2:18 pm 15 Oct 10

I think likening avianus rattus to rattus rattus is not very complimentary to the rats. Rats might be filthy vermin, but at least they look good!

I’d love to see a falcon or two in Civic… is their biological name falconus fordus?

Gantz 2:18 pm 15 Oct 10

And what of the massive Magpie population (NATIVE birds)that have set up shop in Garema Place also?
Just Collateral Damage or…?

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