Pigeon poo plagues city assets
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.
Rock Pigeons were introduced to New Zealand and are most commonly found in urban areas.