Thursday, June 11, 2015

Pigeons : Pesky pests or survivors?

I never really bothered to give them a second thought, but their raw-egg-like droppings on my balcony fence made me notice them. What a way to make your presence felt! 
Washing balcony floor and fence every morning, to get rid of the crispy white droppings, is now a daily morning ritual in most households.

So the question we cannot help asking ourselves is: how did the pigeon menace get out of hands all over the world, in the past few decades?

To a great extent, human civilisation is responsible for flourishing pigeon's lives in more ways than one. Humans domesticated pigeons almost 5000 years ago, and that number officially declined after World War II, when food and water became scarce in many European countries.

Unfortunately for humans, pigeons are highly adaptable birds.  Our housing, buildings, flats, etc. are perfect nesting places for pigeons - they live off the ducts, panes and closed spaces within human habitation. Because nesting is easily possible, a sharp growth in their population is seen. The enclosed concrete structures also protect the birds from predators, drastic climatic conditions, etc.

Talking of adaptation, a huge change is seen in the eating patterns of pigeons. These birds are often seen feasting on left-over food or grains thrown by humans - another incentive for them to flourish.

On the other side, there is a race for survival for these pigeons, as nature's law of 'survival of the fittest' complies. Also, quality of life deteriorates as population rises. Pigeons are said to be aggressive attackers towards their own weaker or older ones; an attitude, which studies show, would probably never have been reported in their own natural surroundings. Studies by ornithologists have also confirmed that pigeons undergo high level of stress due to high density of nesting in human civilisations.
Besides, pigeons are said to transport bacteria, mites and other diseases that induce migraine, asthma, etc, among humans. 

So while we shoo off these juvenile pests from our surroundings, how many of us ever wonder that they are what they are because of us. Man cut down trees, forests, for civilisation, thus, ruining their natural habitat. Lack of trees force them into human civilisations. By saying this, I do not mean that humans should breed them, but implying that our actions are directly proportional in an adverse manner on the flora and fauna around us.

So in the background of all these statistics, I come back to the same question: are they living in our territory or have we bulldozed into theirs?



    Samuchit Enviro Tech.

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