Birth Control for Paris Pigeons


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Photo by Chris Card Fuller ©2008
In Parisian ‘argot’ or slang, a ‘pigeon’ is a gullible mark. Paris pigeons have been the topic of heated coop, that is co-op, debates for ages – if you can imagine grown Parisians sitting around arguing about pigeon poop – well, yes, it’s true. But, since 2003, the wise mayor of Paris, Bertrand Delanoe, has brought science to the forefront of the pigeon problem.

Why not sterilize pigeon eggs? According to today’s Le Figaro story, a pigeon family is entitled to one shot at laying eggs – but the next batch gets neutralized. And how do you go about sterilizing pigeon eggs – by building pigeon houses. The first pigeon house I’m proud to say was planted in the 14h arrondissement – and just recently the seventh Paris pigeon house has been inaugurated in Paris’s 20th arrondissement.

For a mere 20,000 Euros, you too can have pigeon house in your neighborhood (with a 5000 Euro maintenance contract billed to your neighborhood). ( If Rachida Dati becomes mayor of the 7th arrondissement, will she honor the 5000 Euro maintenance contract? These are the questions reporters never ask.)

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Our apartment coop had suggested much less humane alternatives.
Likewise, a guest from Frankfurt said, “We don’t have a problem with pigeons in our parks. About six am every morning, they go out and shoot them.”

Well, I guess every city finds its own solutions.
Wonder what they do about pigeons in Venice?

Pigeon trivia: Did you know that Hemingway and his buddies used to eat pigeon when they hard up for a meal?
I’m not sure if that practice isn’t still continued in the Montmartre district. We were sitting at one of the outdoor restaurants when one of the ‘artists’ had a pigeon shooter pointed directly above my head . . . I’m not sure which ‘pigeon’ was his mark.

Pigeon houses o pigeonniers have a great tradition in France. In the countryside when you see a pigeon house on an estate, it represents the wealth of the landowner. The more pigeonholes in the house, the more hectors of land owned by the estate.
At 20,000 Euros per pigeon house, sure hope the mayor won’t buy a pigeon house for every hector owned by the City of Paris – that could get to be expensive real estate.