As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Wednesday 10 October 2018

Bogota implores tourists to stop feeding pigeons

October 10, 2018 by Manuel Rueda

On a bright Sunday afternoon, a group of government workers walked around Bogota's most famous square dressed as pigeons, with cardboard beaks covering their noses, as thousands of real birds swarmed overhead and left their droppings on stately monuments.

Flapping their plastic wings and performing brief skits, they urged curious pedestrians not to feed the large flocks that descend each day onto Plaza Bolivar, a grand colonial era square flanked by a Roman Catholic cathedral and Colombia's elegant congressional building.

"There are too many pigeons here," said Mauricio Cano, a biologist who led the group of bird impersonators. "Feeding them is bad for people, and for the birds."

While London has tried to scare unruly pigeons away from train stations by deploying menacing hawks, and Paris has employed contraceptive methods to limit flock sizes, Bogota's government is trying to fight pigeon overpopulation through educational campaigns that urge people not to feed them.

Officials believe that if people stop nourishing the birds, they will stop concentrating in public squares where their droppings sully historical buildings and put people's health at risk. If the birds, which aren't native to Colombia, don't gather in large numbers their rate of reproduction is also likely to decrease.

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