Often around city spaces, one might find haunts, especially near crucial traffic signals where the public gets down of their vehicles and feeds the pigeons. While the practice might be generous and in line with the human instinct of helping the flora and fauna around, it certainly is not helpful in the long run.
The common pigeons, also called the blue rock pigeon found ubiquitously around the human populace are an invasive species and the practice of feeding them not only destroys their natural instinct to hunt but also creates food security to help them breed. Their proliferation is to the detriment of other species, such as the house sparrow and the Brahminy mynah.
Pigeons push other bird species to the fringes
The phone towers might be a reason for the drastic reduction in the number of sparrows across the city landscape but the pigeons are one of the big factors, often ignored. One pair of these birds can generate up to 18 new pigeons every year, and they are extremely territorial. They push other bird species on the periphery and usurp their food requirements.
Moreover, the pigeons and their burgeoning population is a health hazard for the public. The primary feathers of the common pigeon are extremely small and hence can be inhaled by humans through their noses. It can lead to respiratory issues, which can often cause severe problems for certain people.
Numerous health problems associated with pigeons
Moreover, with humans providing food conveniently to these birds, they have adapted to living in human spaces. From building nests over AC’s to crevices of the house- the pigeons have invaded every possible space. By invading such spaces, pigeons tend to compromise the heating and cooling components of a building.
Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) distributes the air through a building and thus the pathogens and germs breeding in the pigeon droppings, feathers, and nest can easily circulate through the venting system of the entire building and can cause up to 60 types of diseases.
Histoplasmosis is one of the most common respiratory diseases caused by breathing in spores of a fungus found in pigeon droppings. The symptoms of histoplasmosis can include fever, chill, headache, and muscle ache.
In severe cases, the symptoms may be similar to that of tuberculosis and can include bloody cough. These birds do not have a separate urinary bladder. They excrete uric acid along with faeces, which includes nitrogenous waste as birds are uricotelic. It is estimated that each pigeon creates 11.5kg of excreta every year.
Feeding pigeons is not the only stairway to heaven
There is a spiritual side to feeding birds as people tend to believe. While nobody is encroaching upon their beliefs, it is also important to understand that Pigeons are more than capable of hunting for their food. Evolution has made them capable of doing so. In an attempt to attain good karma, they are inadvertently harming society.
The pigeons are spoiling the environment with a heavy population. If their population continues to grow at the current pace, the corporations in and around the capital city will have to at least term the pigeons as ‘Urban Pests’. So the next time when you think of feeding them, pull out of the act and find other bird species that might need it more.