Pi­geon poo plagues city as­sets

Central Leader - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE - JACK­SON THOMAS

Cor­ro­sive poo left by Auck­land’s in­creas­ing pi­geon pop­u­la­tion is slowly eat­ing away at the city’s as­sets.

Since 2014, Auck­land Coun­cil spent more than $14,000 re­spond­ing to 64 call outs specif­i­cally re­lated to pi­geon drop­pings. This does not in­clude Auck­land Trans­port’s call outs.

Unitec as­so­ciate pro­fes­sor in en­vi­ron­men­tal and an­i­mal sci­ences Nigel Adams said bird drop­pings were a com­bi­na­tion of fae­ces and uric acid, re­sult­ing in a ‘‘mildly cor­ro­sive’’ mess.

Pi­geon drop­pings were com­mon in most large cities around the world and, if not cleaned up, could dam­age in­fras­truc­ture, he said.

‘‘Pi­geon ex­cre­ment of­fers a sub­strate for the growth of micro­organ­isms that can add to the cor­ro­sive and dis­colour­ing ef­fect on build­ings,’’ Adams said.

Aside from the mess, pi­geons can carry bac­te­ria and fun­gus that causes pneu­mo­nia and po­ten­tially, lung dis­ease. Their fae­ces can also spread dis­eases such as sal­monella.

How­ever, Adams said cases of hu­mans con­tract­ing dis­eases car­ried by birds were rare.

Grey Lynn res­i­dent Mar­ion Geor said the city’s ‘‘out of con­trol’’ pi­geon pop­u­la­tion was de­stroy­ing lo­cal shop fronts, bus stops and pub­lic art.

Ross Brader of Point Che­va­lier said a cull was needed around his lo­cal shops.

Even Auck­land Poul­try and Pi­geon As­so­ci­a­tion vice pres­i­dent Rob Ed­wards called for the erad­i­ca­tion of pi­geons.

‘‘Some form of mod­er­a­tion or con­trol is re­quired to ad­dress the in­crease in pi­geon num­bers as it can be­come a ma­jor prob­lem if left to con­tinue,’’ he said.

‘‘Auck­land Coun­cil has had to ad­dress these is­sues in the past and will be re­quired to do so con­sis­tently in the fu­ture as es­caped, lost or freed birds will re-es­tab­lish them­selves in our city.’’

Auck­land Coun­cil head of op­er­a­tional man­age­ment and main­te­nance Agnes McCor­mack said there was cur­rently no pi­geon cull in place for Auck­land.

He said drop­pings were of­ten cleaned off city as­sets dur­ing rou­tine cleans or main­te­nance calls.

Most of its call outs were in Auck­land cen­tral, McCor­mack said.

Pi­geons are not con­sid­ered pests in New Zealand as they do not fit the cri­te­ria of a biose­cu­rity threat un­der Auck­land Coun­cil’s Re­gional Pest Man­age­ment Plan.

FAIR­FAX NZ

Rock Pi­geons were in­tro­duced to New Zealand and are most com­monly found in ur­ban ar­eas.

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