Contraceptive pill is solution for pigeon problem

OEIRAS CÂMARA says its hands are legally tied, following complaints from residents in Paço de Arcos about a plague of pigeons in the area.

The situation seems desperate as house terraces, pathways and cars are covered in pigeon droppings. Apart from being an eyesore, there is the public health and hygiene issue worrying local residents, who have already handed in petitions to the authority and the police. Oeiras Câmara recognises that the problem is a “complicated one” but says it’s limited by legal restraints, as it cannot poison pigeons. Another problem is that some residents actively feed the pigeons, encouraging their proliferation.

However, Lisbon Câmara has finally decided on a humane answer to its pigeon problem – the pill! The council is to distribute more than 100 tons of corn laced with contraceptive to the city’s pigeons. At a cost of 235,000 euros, the initiative aims to control the number of birds in the city. The distribution of the pill will be carried out in two phases, in spring and autumn.

“The number of pigeons in Lisbon has grown at an alarming rate,” says Lisbon deputy mayor, Fontão de Carvalho. At the same time, he assured journalists that there was “absolutely no risk” of the birds transmitting bird flu to the population.