Why are pigeons used to people

Not feeding is not a solution either

They were once bred to mate all year round, up to seven times a year with one or two eggs each, regardless of the food available. The only scientifically proven effect of a food shortage is therefore that fewer young animals survive the first few weeks - because they starve. Nobody should be accused of malicious intent here, and most likely most of those who call for such a shortage really mean it. It is still correct: Anyone who wants to reduce the pigeon population in areas where no supervised lofts have yet been set up by means of a radical feeding ban is inevitably calling for more baby birds and their parents to starve.

But feeding can also be irresponsible. Pigeons get used to individual people very quickly, and after a few times they rely on them to actually appear. So if you feed regularly at a certain place, you have to do it 365 days a year, otherwise it is also torture, says Klaus Lüdcke, the animal welfare officer.

Nature will fix it, one might argue. But it is not nature that created the pigeon problem, but humans. The first major bird plague began at the end of the Second World War, when entire flocks flew through Berlin's street ruins. Their lofts were either destroyed or the owners struggled to survive with no money to feed pets. The offspring of these pigeons form the basis of today's population.

In addition, there are constantly new carrier pigeons, which are released by their keepers hundreds of kilometers from the loft during competitions and do not have enough power for the entire distance. A traditional, popular competition route is the route from the Ruhr area to Poland. Exhausted animals prefer to end up in Berlin. Carrier pigeons wear rings, their owner is easily identifiable. But she often doesn't want to go back. Because a pigeon that could not cover its distance is considered a loser and useless for breeding.

No, the dove is not a saint. Their transfiguration as peace-makers was just as inappropriate as the assumption that pigeons would remain monogamous for life. Researchers have found that they are also prone to cheating, although not as often as humans. According to the current state of knowledge, the only animal species that is 100% monogamous is Peromyscus californicus. The California mouse.

It is noticeable that even many nature and animal rights activists have little vigor to work for the pigeon of all things. The Naturschutzbund has been awarding the title “Bird of the Year” since 1971, and pretty much everything that has two wings in Germany has already been honored: the reversible neck, the jackdaw, various falcons.

Even the songbird with the ugly name of the red-backed shrike, it belongs to the family of stranglers, received the award. The red-backed shrike is so named because it impales mice, insects and other birds on sharp twigs as food reserves. The pigeon, on the other hand, was never bird of the year. If you believe the spokeswoman for the Nabu Federal Association, the chances for 2013 are also rather slim.

Also read: A visit to the pigeon rehab.

How can you help?

If you find an injured or visibly sick pigeon on the street, you should bring it to the vet yourself, ideally stored in a box. Sonja Kling, for example, specializes in birds with her practice on Mierendorffstrasse in Charlottenburg. Telephone 34 90 28 43. For emergencies at night: The Rödiger practice at Scharnweberstrasse 136 in Reinickendorf is open around the clock. Telephone 412 73 57.

Anyone who would like to support Almut Malone's “Avian Bird Protection Association”, for example by donating money or in kind, can find out more on the website www.vogelklappe.de Malone can also be reached at [email protected] Pigeon emergencies on the street can be reported to her by SMS to the mobile number 0172-31 73 455.

The Berlin animal shelter, Hausvaterweg 39 in Falkenberg, maintains its own pigeon house in which sick animals are cared for healthy. If you want to help on a voluntary basis: Telephone 76 88 80.

At www.stadttaubenkonzept.de you can find animal welfare tips in the event that pigeons settle on your own balcony or in the garden.

Anyone interested in the concept of the supervised dovecote can view a 20-minute documentary at www.tierrechte.de/themen/stadttauben.

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