VRSA advises citizens against feeding pigeons and seagulls

Council warns that bird populations grow quickly and can become pests

Vila Real de Santo António Council has launched a campaign advising citizens against feeding pigeons and seagulls in order to keep public areas clean.

“These birds adapt easily to urban areas (feeding on human leftovers and waste), which means they will reproduce much more when compared to normal,” the council said in a press statement.

These birds’ high reproductive capacity means they can become pests. A way of combating the problem is to ask citizens to stop feeding these animals, said the council.

When birds stop finding food so easily, they automatically return to nature, where they find food more adequate to their diet (such as grains, fruit, fish and insects), which restores the balance of ecosystems,” the council says.

In order to promote the campaign, the local council is putting up signs in public spaces such as parks, town squares and the local riverside, where higher numbers of birds gather.

As the council explains, bird populations can propagate very easily in urban areas due to three factors: an abundance of food and water; the existence of areas where they can nest, such as terraces, balconies, downspouts, gutters and roof decks which are not properly cleaned; and the absence of predators.

“Pigeons can facilitate the propagation of diseases which affect both their own species as well as others and human beings, particularly the most vulnerable, such as children and the elderly.

“In addition, bird excrement can cause gutters to clog and even damage paintworks, metallic structures and monuments. Furthermore, it can lead to a proliferation of rats, cockroaches and flies due to food scraps left on the ground,” the council says.

The council also warns that feeding these birds can lead to fines which range from €25 to €7,600.

By Michael Bruxo

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