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Midland Park pigeons face unhappy New Year

NEWS RELEASE
10 December 2007

Midland Park pigeons face unhappy New Year

A big increase in the pigeon population in Midland Park and corresponding increases in complaints from outdoor diners in the area means Wellington City Council will have to take action with extreme prejudice against the birds – unless people stop feeding them.

The City Council’s Public Health Manager, Alison Box, says she and colleagues have faced a steady stream of complaints from park users, and from the adjacent Caffé Astoria, about pigeons in recent weeks.

“We think it’s because of the fine weather – it’s meant lots more people have been sitting in the park and either feeding the pigeons, or leaving food scraps behind - this is despite a number of existing 'do not feed the birds' signs.

“Word appears to have got around the pigeon population because the numbers in Midland Park have jumped. We’re now getting reports of pigeon intimidation – with birds swooping at muffins in the park and even flying into the Astoria itself.

“Increasing numbers of the birds are also now landing on nearby structures from where they can watch for food. And because the population has grown, the individual birds are becoming more desperate and aggressive.”

Alison urges Midland Park users to refrain from feeding the birds and to bin their leftovers – otherwise the Council will conduct a pigeon cull early in the New Year.

The Council is also contacting nearby building owners to see whether they can take simple steps to make their buildings less attractive as roosting spots.

“We don’t want to have to do a cull – but Midland Park is becoming unpleasant and unhealthy. There’s been a marked increase in the amount of pigeon poo in the area. That is not good from a health point of view because pigeons can spread a number of nasty gastric diseases via their droppings.”

Council staff are currently discussing the most effective and humane way of culling the population if the situation warrants such action after Christmas.

For further details please contact:
Richard MacLean, Council Communications, tel 04 801 3578 or 021 227 8180.


ENDS

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