Parisians Say 'Non et Non!' at Unleashing Birds of Prey on Local Pigeons

This image appears on Getty under the title, “Scenic views of Paris.” Photo via Getty Images.
This image appears on Getty under the title, “Scenic views of Paris.” Photo via Getty Images.

Pigeons are a statue-shitting urban nuisance with the brash confidence of a local and the sidewalk-clogging unhurried stroll of a tourist, and a Parisian politician has an unlikely scheme to run them off: bring in some birds of prey and let them pick the pigeons off like a pigeon would peck bits of baguette off the sidewalk.


That’s according to the Local France (via the New York Post). Pigeons are apparently particularly bad in a specific area of the 10th arrondissement, doing a purported €150,000 in annual damages to area social housing complexes. That’s an absolutely incredible amount of pigeon crap, hence the notion to bring in three buzzards and two falcons to run them off.

“We tried traditional methods and now we are doing something more radical,” said a spokesman for arrondissement’s town hall. “Paris pigeons are not used to birds of prey.” (There is in fact a specific firm that hires out birds of prey for just this purpose, apparently.)

Well, a number of Parisians are apparently not so hot on this scheme! The Local returns with an update:

“We are very strongly opposed to the measure,” Brigitte Marquet, president of the Ambassade des pigeons, told Le Parisien newspaper.

“It won’t solve the problem of regulating the number of pigeons in the city, but it will also be very expensive for taxpayers, and extremely cruel for the targeted birds,” she added.

It’s not the first time the capital’s residents have defended an animal considered a pest by many. After the city’s authorities declared war on rats late last year, some 17,000 signed a petition titled “Stop the Genocide”.

One does wonder: won’t they just come right back? New York City pigeons would probably just make a rude wing gesture—flip the bird?—and only fly far enough away to take a nonchalant dump on the nearest bodega awning.

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We have naturally occurring falcons in my city, and I have stumbled upon the carcasses of their dead. It’s not pretty. They’re beautiful birds, but often they like to rip the head off a pigeon, tear out some guts and then drop the bloody, headless body on the ground where kids, dogs and their people can find them.

I know it feels better to use natural predators to limit nuisance populations, but I’m not sure littering the quaint sidewalks of Paris with headless dead birds is going to be great for tourism.