Possibility of killing problematic pigeons in Oak Park sparks discussion

Field experts, residents weigh in on ordinance proposal

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By Anna Lothson

Staff Reporter

Oak Parkers aren't keeping their opinions on pigeons cooped up.

The village board's initial discussions of a recommendation to amend an ordinance that would allow pigeons to be trapped and euthanized if they continue to sneak through preventative measures, as explained in last week's issue, has become a hot-button issue.

This case, specifically related to the Marion Street train viaduct, sparked nearly 100 comments on OakPark.com from both pro-pigeon and anti-pigeon residents. The Chief Executive Officer of OvoControl, a California-based company that produces birth control for pigeons, along with a field director for the urban wildlife program at the Humane Society of the United States, reached out to Wednesday Journal once the news went viral.

The matter, set to be voted on at the village board's June 4 meeting, outlines that pigeons, sparrows and starlings would fall fate to the ordinance — a regulation that didn't settle well with many of the website commenters. Others seemed pleased to see the village working to tackle the animal some called "rats with wings."

Mike Charley, environmental health supervisor in the village, presented the recommendations at the May 21 meeting, but further discussion will be left until its June 4 meeting.

Charley emphasized in a phone interview last week that the village isn't advocating killing pigeons; rather it's being viewed as a last resort.

"It's not even our first or second option," he said. "We prefer to exclude pigeons from an area."

The problem, however, is the village's first option isn't working. In February the village installed netting to shut off the recesses of the viaduct's support beams, but the birds snuck through. Also, it was noticed that many of the birds shifted their presence from the blocked-off nesting areas to lighting fixtures. The village then sought the recommendations of a wildlife biologist from the United States Department of Agriculture Division of Wildlife Services, who suggested an integrated "pest-control management program" that involves a combination of trapping mechanisms and bird spikes to discourage roosting.

The resilient ones, however, would be humanly euthanized, the ordinance states. Charley said he wasn't sure what the process for killing the birds was, but said it would be monitored and done by staff of the USDA. He said village employees would survey the area, but activity would be documented by the USDA in "routine intervals."

"This is really the last thing we want to do with any type of animals," Charley said. "There are other things we'd rather do, but we're making the best decision with the hand that was dealt to us. This is what's being recommended."

Scott Beckerman, state director for USDA Wildlife Services, said moving birds is not effective and shifts the problems onto residents and businesses. Instead of continuing to spend money on products, like netting, that haven't been working, he said it is sometimes best to eliminate the problem.

If the village chooses to move forward with the plan that involves euthanizing the trapped birds, a carbon monoxide method that's done either on site in a truck or at an off-site warehouse or office location would be used, according to Beckerman. He said it's a humane tactic that's approved by veterinarians.

The caged birds, he added, would be checked twice a week and given food and water while they wait.

Beckerman said pigeons, a non-native species to the area, have droppings that can carry a number of diseases.

Overall, Charley said the nuisance, both appearance- and health-wise has made the matter important to address as soon as possible. Charley is confident in the expert's recommendations, but some suggest other tactics would be more effective.

Oak Park resident John Murtagh said what's he's most concerned about is the process of drafting the ordinance. He suggests the board be presented with a broader range of options that includes more input from experts and the rest of the community.

"This is a classic case of not doing due diligence," he said about Oak Park drafting its language from another town. "Going to Winnetka is not advice. … The village did not do its homework."

The culture of Oak Park and its people needed to be taken into account before making rash suggestions to have a law that allows for the killing of birds, said Murtagh, who noted that he isn't especially attached to birds one way or the other.

"The board should be demanding more due diligence on what options they have," he said. Having changes made without community input with such a permanent outcome isn't how he'd like to see the decision made.

Laura Simon, field director of the Humane Society of the United States' Urban Wildlife Program, said it's a "shame" to see this as a growing trend in municipalities.

"And the tragedy is it doesn't work. What happens is that you remove the birds and new birds move in," said Simon, who later said she received multiple phone calls from Oak Park residents following last week's article. "The program continues and the killing continues. Residents are going to see that their money is going to continue to be wasted."

She agrees that products like netting and bird spikes are superior alternatives if installed properly. She said once an environment becomes unattractive the birds scatter; therefore the village should focus on preventative measures more.

"The tools are there," she said. "But the city would really do far better investing money in a long-term solution."

Erick Wolf, chief executive officer of OvoControl, suggested controlling pigeon population is one long-term solution that is proven to reduce the birds' presence by 50 percent a year, according to their results. He thinks rushing to trap birds isn't effective.

"You can either increase mortality, or reduce reproduction. There is nothing else," he said. "There's no magic wand. It takes time."

While there may not be an easy answer, Oak Park resident Kathleen Wrobel said it's time the village eliminates the problem anyway possible.

"They are very disease ridden and their droppings are just a mess. It is a terrible nuisance," she said. "Not only is it a nuisance, it's a health nuisance."

Wrobel said she doesn't want to see the viaducts that the village plans to enhance destroyed by pigeons anymore. Specifically, the Marion Street stop will undergo a renovation to beautify the archways and install new LED lighting sometime in the fall or spring.

"I'm all for it," she said about the possibility of euthanizing pigeons. "We put money into art and sculptures [at the train viaducts]. Let's be a little more practical and get rid of the pigeons."

Financially, she said she wants the village to spend what's necessary to be rid of the issue. She's lived in condominiums with similar problems, and she said after spending a "good deal" of money, the issue nearly disappeared. A combination of netting and spikes solved her pigeon headache.

"We got what we paid for," Wrobel said.

Email: anna@oakpark.com Twitter: @AnnaLothson

Reader Comments

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Speaking of Humanity... from Oak Park  

Posted: June 5th, 2012 4:27 PM

Marie Perkins: "Do not let one dictator (Pat Zubak) determine if these birds live or die. I say put her in a cage and see how she likes it.". Jenny Tiner: "I met Marie last nite, she is an ally in logic & kindness". 'Nuf said. I'm not giving you crap for the outcome, it was the right one and the obvious one and the politically astute one. Those pigeons will be history soon enough. I'm just pointing out the nature of your "fight".

Jenny Tiner  

Posted: June 5th, 2012 1:08 PM

Oh by the way, an extremist, naaah. Just normal, I haven't met one person, face to face, that didn't think that this was insane. Did they question the safety, sure, but then they thought. Thinking is key, reading, whatever and not what you read here. Do your work and get off on educating yourself rather than putting others down. You sound like an elitist and it makes you sound like a pathetic elitist. You give it a bad name. Tiner out! chirp!

Jenny Tiner  

Posted: June 5th, 2012 1:05 PM

The only thing I trust is that someone is writing under 3 diff names. A victory is a victory. If it's short lived back to the village. Don't buy too much hot sauce yet. I want clean & safe just like anyone else for me & my child,again check your sources. I find it hilarious that you think you can work them. National humiliation on NPR yesterday helped "work it." We aren't the 1%.Abnormal people don't mind killing in the name of facts they don't check. Happens all the time,sadly to humans.

BuffaloPigeonWings from Oak Park  

Posted: June 5th, 2012 12:39 PM

Marie & Jenny, trust me. Your "victory" is short-lived. All you have done is awakened the sleeping giant, aka normal OPer's of common sense, who want a clean viaduct & the choice of BBQing pigeons & other of God's creatures. We want our kids & dogs to be safe from pigeon droppings, & won't let the 1% (aka environmental extremists) force their values on our town. This isn't over. We know how to work the trustees & we, the 99%er's, will prevail. Gimme the hot sauce!

Jenny Tiner  

Posted: June 5th, 2012 12:37 PM

@the guy/gal who was written to below. I complimented her!? I said nice to meet you! You should really learn to read rather than read "into" things. You lost all credibility-I will be amused at your pompous rant back but just know it serves no purpose but to make a laughing stock of an anonymous person publicly. See, kinda not constructive. You are too funny and nonsensical. Have a great day! Again, thanks to everyone!

Jenny Tiner  

Posted: June 5th, 2012 12:34 PM

@speaking of humanity or pigeons are yummy food (same?) it was a simple question, you didn't directly answer that. 2 questions, try answering them. I met Marie last nite, she is an ally in logic & kindness. now for me to be more like you-get off the computer, take a walk, quit giving people crap for what was a happy outcome. It's over. You don't want the issue over because you want to fight! Ha! You don't have too great of a grasp on the def of irony either or self reflection-lonely?

Speaking of Humanity... from Oak Park  

Posted: June 5th, 2012 10:57 AM

Jenny Tiner: "Do you find being rude or unkind constructive?". Laughly ironic how in the same breath you compliment your ally Marie seeing how that is her primary modus operandi. Or don't you find this rude, unkind, and counterproductive?: "Do not let one dictator (Pat Zubak) determine if these birds live or die. I say put her in a cage and see how she likes it."

Speaking of Humanity... from Oak Park  

Posted: June 5th, 2012 10:44 AM

Marie Perkins, it appears that your only means of argument is personal attacks on those who MIGHT disagree with you (whether or not they actually do seems irrelevant). PAYF makes a good point that your approach is more about bolstering your ego that any sort of rational argument. And you still haven't apologized to Pat Zubak in this public forum where you attacked her.

Jenny Tiner  

Posted: June 4th, 2012 11:05 PM

Yes!!! Battle #1 over! Now to get those nets down so the trapped birds can eat and FLY! THANK YOU TRUSTEES! http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/ct-met-oak-park-pigeons-spared-0605-20120605,0,2609840.story

Jenny Tiner  

Posted: June 4th, 2012 10:38 PM

@Pigeons are Yummy-they actually are in certain parts of the world made into good food. I am not a member of PETA, a vegan or anything else you want to "pigeon-hole" me into. I'm hoping you are not serious. Do you find being rude or unkind constructive? If you have so much to say where were you? If you are for killing, show your face rather than taunt. Marie, good to meet you & the others as well. Thank you village for listening, I hope everything comes to a happy agreement by all

Pigeons are Yummy Food from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: June 4th, 2012 10:09 PM

@Marie Perkins - Meat is beautiful. I have no beef with you (pun intended), but I do continue to be amused by what the Village Board deems a debate-worthy issue. Pigeons are rats with wings. Sadly, the rats in Village Hall have repeatedly shown they don't give a **** about people in our village that passionately care about real issues.

Marie Perkins  

Posted: June 4th, 2012 10:00 PM

@Pigeons are....obviously us pigeon lovers have just proved your point about how superior and enlightened we are compared to the likes of you. Life is beautiful, isn't it?

Marie Perkins  

Posted: June 4th, 2012 9:53 PM

Jenny, it was a pleasure meeting you and your daughter. When we stick together, we get things done. Hopefully, the Village will shelved this terrible idea permanently. I think that they realize that there are people in our Village that passionately care about issues.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: June 4th, 2012 9:52 PM

Kyle - I think it is a good outcome. It shows that the board is willing to listen when the community is speaking with an informed and unified voice.

Pigeons are Yummy Food  

Posted: June 4th, 2012 9:52 PM

Humanely butcher the pigeons and serve the breasts, seared but still rare, with a cherry-port reduction and a side of polenta and broccoli rabe w/ fried garlic and proscuitto chips at the Farmers Market for $49 per plate and the village can quickly fix the deficit caused by not writing enough parking tickets. Everyone's happy except PETA and vegans and, well, they can go have a Boca Burger and debate about how important they are for having superior moral values and enlightened consciousness.

Jenny Tiner  

Posted: June 4th, 2012 9:43 PM

Hey Oak Parkers! All of you that came out to the village meeting to speak your mind, rock! The heartfelt facts, figures and comments were awesome, (though did you see half of the board w/a smirk-ugh.) I think it is great when you put a face to a name and don't sit behind a computer. I think the man who said it was like the gas chamber and euthanasia being a nice word for killing (sorry I didn't get your name) and said so humbly was spot on. Now, get the nets down! Village-thanks for listening


Posted: June 4th, 2012 9:34 PM

For those keeping track, the Board tonight did not act (on the euth.) because the viaduct is being rebuilt within 12 months. @John, I take the view that no city's code can comprehensively deal w/everything. But I agree that given the debate this brought, we should clarify our stance on (esp. nuisance) animals. If you read the code there are some puzzles as a resident about how to handle pests. Rat poison is allowed but no other poisons. Squirrels are protected. How about raccoons?

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: June 4th, 2012 9:28 PM

Former Official?????? Boy, we could use a lot more Former Officials!!

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: June 4th, 2012 9:13 PM

Kyle - Modifying ordinances without considering its entire impact has risk. I think all of the excellent comments and suggestions posted on the bird issue indicates that the village's research was short of the mark. Should they be looking at a comprehensive wildlife ordinance simultaneously with the gun law that coming? Absolutely!

Marie Perkins  

Posted: June 4th, 2012 9:12 PM

@Oak Park resident, your idiocy does not even deserve a reply, but I will anyway. What does one have to do with the other? It is possible, even in your own little world, to care for both, if one so inclines.

Marie Perkins  

Posted: June 4th, 2012 9:06 PM

@Speaking of humanity and Former Official, just to let you big mouths know, I did in fact apologize to Pat Zubak on the phone. And Speaking of humanity (an ironic misnomer, if I might add), killing innocent wildlife may seem trivial to you, but to all of us who possess hearts, it is not trivial to us. As for Former Official, I can only assume that you are a "former" official because you lack any intelligence to hold a job, let alone a public one. You must reside in one of the 1% areas.


Posted: June 4th, 2012 7:18 PM

@Oak Park resident, you're wasting your time posting on a local OP forum rather than feeding starving babies in <insert impoverished third world country here>, which means you value wasting your time more than you do helping starving babies. And please do not send comments that starving babies are not your problem.

Oak Park resident  

Posted: June 4th, 2012 7:06 PM

The possibility of killing pigeons in Oak Park is problematic, but having an abortion is a right. Which means that we value pigeons more than humans! And please do not send comments that an aborted fetus is not a human!

Former Official  

Posted: June 4th, 2012 5:53 PM

@Speaking of Humanity, no I bet she didn't. No one ever does. They rail on about you, having never met or spoken to you and if they ever have the guts to call you, which is hardly ever, they never go back and apologize. Even when she wrote that below she didn't apologize for her outburst, that's how people in Oak Park are.

Speaking of humanity... from Oak Park  

Posted: June 4th, 2012 4:58 PM

Marie Perkins, I hope you were calling to apologize to Pat Zubak for your unfounded and inappropriately personal public attack on her. Such outbursts from animal activists, particularly over so trivial an issue, are all too typical and undermine any claim to credibility or rationality.


Posted: June 4th, 2012 4:24 PM

John, perhaps this is a good opportunity for us all to get clear the Village's nuisance wildlife laws? For instance, even though the previous ordinance prohibits killing squirrels, I'm assuming nobody is out writing tickets for people who trap/kill a squirrel trying to nest in their attic. It's more meant to be an ordinance to allow law enforcement to, say, make arrests on teens throwing rocks at squirrels in the park, right?

MichaelO from Oak Park  

Posted: June 4th, 2012 4:20 PM

I read in the Tribune today that Oak Park intends to spend $15,000 to whack the pigeons. That's almost $1000 per bird. I wonder - does the cost include bereavement counseling for the surviving pigeons? And what kind of final services, if any, can we expect? How much does an empty shoe box cost? Are pigeons catholic? As you can see this whole thing raises a lot of questions. I hope we are paying someone big money to think this stuff through.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: June 4th, 2012 4:03 PM

I am not a lawyer -- for sure, but I do prefer that laws/ordinances are spelled out clearly. I also prefer laws that are necessary. There is no major outbreak of pigeons, much less starlings and sparrows that need severe enforcement. The village should have just handled the pigeon situation by cleaning up their garbage and be done with it -- like they do with rats. Instead it has become an issue that they created and it is therefore their responsibility to make certain that it the ordinance is clear to the pigeons, swallows,starlings, and residents.

Marie Perkins  

Posted: June 4th, 2012 3:48 PM

I just talked to Pat Zubak on the phone and from what she said, she is not advocating the killing of the pigeons. Therefore, it is the Village Board that will be held accountable if this ordinance passes. Maybe Don can be rehired to clean the sidewalks again. It would provide him with a job he loved and the pigeons and other birds can live in peace. And I am not seeing any spikes under or by the viaduct which is known deterrent fro keeping the pigeons away. Install them instead of killing birds.

Pat Zubak from Oak Park  

Posted: June 4th, 2012 3:43 PM

I understand that another newspaper implied that I am the reason euthanasia is being considered for these birds. It couldn't be further from the truth. I am an animal lover and would never advocate for killing birds. I reported to Public Works that there was more pigeon dung than usual under the viaduct in hopes that they would clean it and inspect their control devices. I also report overflowing trash cans, and other maintenance items that are the village's responsibility.


Posted: June 4th, 2012 3:11 PM

John, not to get legal geeky, but I don't think the ordinance needs to spell out nuisance or humane euthanasia. Residents can already deal with say, mice, rats, the like...some residents have mentioned pigeons on their personal property. There are companies that will come get rid of pigeons for you. I think this ordinance is to just be clear that handling the pigeon problem like other wildlife control is not violating any code. (Back to the regularly scheduled bird lovers.)

Marie Perkins  

Posted: June 4th, 2012 2:58 PM

I urge all animal and bird lovers to come to the meeting and express your outrage at this slaughter. Do not let one dictator (Pat Zubak) determine if these birds live or die. I say put her in a cage and see how she likes it. Don't let the Village Board do this. Remember, it's election time in 2013 for the Village President and the trustees. Let them know the consequences of their inhumane vote tonight. Those birds deserve to live. Let Pat Zubak move to Winnetka and LEAVE THE BIRDS ALONE!


Posted: June 4th, 2012 2:35 PM

This is awful. They (caged birds) will be "checked twice a week and given food and water while they wait"????. Let's put you in a cage while you wait to die and see how you like it. Their lives are not ours to take. Not fair, and certainly not humane.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: June 4th, 2012 2:06 PM

Below is the text of tonight's ordinance. I think it needs work. "It does not define "humane euthanization" and does not indicate who can make a determination that the pigeons, starlings, and sparrows are nuisances. That raises the question, "Are they all nuisances? For example, could a resident determine that sparrows are nuisances, and kill them? Could you kill them on another resident's property? How do we determine that the sparrow is a Passer Domesticus? There are 70 species of sparrows. I think the board still has some homework to do on the subject of bird euthanasia! 5-5-7: BIRDS AND SQUIRRELS; HARMING AND TAKING YOUNG OR EGGS: It shall be unlawful for any person to kill or wound or wound or attempt to kill or wound any squirrel or bird or for any person to take the eggs or young of any bird within the limits of the village, (addition to ordinance follows) provided, however, that this section shall not apply to the humane euthanization of the following species: house sparrow (Passer Domesticus), European starling (Sturnus Vulgaris) or domestic pigeon (Columba Livia).

Eileen from Oak Park  

Posted: June 4th, 2012 1:40 PM

Killing the birds is both wrong and probably won't work. Cleaning probably will work. There are more pigeons in the world then people and if we kill these, others will come. Rethink this. As solutions go this is expensive overkill.

Jim Coughlin  

Posted: June 4th, 2012 12:50 PM

Pat Zubak strikes again! According to the report in today's Trib, "Zubak complained to the village and that got the ball rolling...". Marie, Zubak was responsible for the firing of Downtown Don. She runs the DTOP business association and is very secretive about budget and spending practices. Zubak recently announced a $50K expenditure for plantings. I've never understood why the Village board does not require any oversight of the executive director and her DTOP group. Zubak must be clout heavy.

Birdophile from Oak Park  

Posted: June 4th, 2012 12:43 PM

@Eileen, the poop tastes better than it smells.

Marie Perkins  

Posted: June 4th, 2012 12:39 PM

@Eilene, from what I understand, there was an elderly gentleman that DID do that. But the powers that be at Village Hall let him go and that's why the new stone sidewalks are so filthy looking now. From Lake Street to past Pleasant street, the sidewalks are filled with nasty things like food, drinks, spit, and gum. But I guess it's better to slaughter innocent birds for what they leave under a viaduct than what people and dogs do all along Marion. Hope you make it to the meeting tonight.

Hum de Hum  

Posted: June 4th, 2012 12:36 PM

Could we use their feathers to write poems in the school districts of Oak Park?

Eilene McCullagh Heckman from Chicago, Illinois  

Posted: June 4th, 2012 12:24 PM

OK. The poop is stinky and nasty. Killing wild animals that aren't really hurting anyone is distasteful. (Cause it's more likely I'll die from a disease I catch from a coworker... than a bird.) Almost everyone can agree on that. So rather than spend a ton of money on preventative measures that may or may not work... or killing birds... why not EMPLOY someone with that money to powerwash the viaducts. Frequent washing removes nesting materials and discourages roosting... and can be done with greywater.

Birdophile from Oak Park  

Posted: June 4th, 2012 10:52 AM

One time I walked under the viaduct, looked up, and a pigeon pooped right in my mouth. And I liked it.

Marie Perkins  

Posted: June 4th, 2012 7:22 AM

I went to the Uncork Illinois event on Saturday. I saw no pigeons or droppings leading me to believe that the Village has already captured the pigeons and is waiting to euthanize them after tonight. We cannot let this happen. I thought the same thing about dog droppings and human urine. Actually saw a guy urinate on the dumpster in my parking lot.Pigeons are being scapegoated and we need to speak up for them.The Village has no right to do this.It was on WBBM radio this morning.Not a good image.

Jim Coughlin  

Posted: June 3rd, 2012 11:22 PM

Better if Cara Pavlicek is asked the question. She's the acting Village Manager.

Jim Coughlin  

Posted: June 3rd, 2012 11:15 PM

Good question for Cara Pavalok. The Village Manager's office should be able to detail spending $11K and explain why this plan didn't work? Did someone tip off the birds or are Oak Park pigeons wise to the game.

Barbara Branston from Northlake  

Posted: June 3rd, 2012 9:40 PM

The ch 2 news story said the village spent $11,000 trying to keep the pigeons away. If I was an OP taxpayer, I would certainly look into what it was spent on. Hopefully it was more than the soldered or caulked on hardware cloth blocking ledges where pigeons roost. What I find much more offensive than the droppings are the smell of human urine coming from the parking lot across the street and the stalactites and stalagmites that are forming from some unknown mineral under the Forest Ave bridge.

Debra Winkelman  

Posted: June 3rd, 2012 4:51 PM

Should dogs be euthanized for pooping in the wrong place too? What about bums who urinate in public places, should they be euthanized also? If I had to choose, think I would rather step in pigeon poop than human urine or dog poop!!! Yes pigeons are not a native species, however they are here to stay through no fault of their own. Humans are to blame, and they should be responsible for a humane solution that does not involve euthanization. The main cause for the loss of natural species is DESTRUCTION OF HABITAT. Most of is are not native to this country, should we be euthanized??? We certainly have caused more damage to the environment than pigeons!!!

Pigeon Patrol  

Posted: June 3rd, 2012 9:47 AM

Thank you for your service Cher Ami

Marie Perkins  

Posted: June 2nd, 2012 8:29 PM

@Debra. I sure hope that you can make it to the village board meeting on Monday, June 4th. Very inspiring posts about the pigeon. There is one Village Board Trustee who is in our corner. Not very hopeful regarding Johnson or Pope. But it's an election year, and animal lovers never forget...Got that Pope and Johnson? When I worked at Daley Plaza, we had tons of pigeons. No one cared. People loved feeding them. But I guess if you are an ELECTED official who emulates Winnetka (1% er's)that explains

Jim Coughlin  

Posted: June 1st, 2012 10:42 PM

Great posts, Debra. I think enough Oak Park residents have voiced their concerns that it may encourage the Village board to take a look at more civilized solutions.

Debra Winkelman from Chicago, Illinois  

Posted: June 1st, 2012 9:48 PM

Excerpt from time.com an article about a "Hero Pigeon", "Cher Ami": "During World War I and World War II, the U.S. military enlisted more than 200,000 pigeons to conduct surveillance and relay messages. One such pigeon, Cher Ami ("Dear Friend" in French), flew for the U.S. Army Signal Corps in France during WWI. He flew 12 important messages before being struck by enemy fire. Despite being shot in the breast and leg, he managed to deliver the message, which was found dangling from his shattered leg. His brave dedication to the mission led to the rescue of 194 soldiers in Major Charles Whittlesey's "Lost Battalion." Cher Ami, who died in 1919, likely as a result of his battle wounds, was awarded the French Croix de Guerre award for his heroic service and was inducted into the Racing Pigeon Hall of Fame. His one-legged body is on display at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History's "Price of Freedom: Americans at War" exhibit in Washington, D.C."

Debra Winkelman from Chicago, Illinois  

Posted: June 1st, 2012 9:46 PM

Pigeons are noble, loyal, intelligent and gentle creatures. Pigeons DO NOT carry any anymore diseases than any other animals. You have more chance of being struck by lightning than catching a disease from Pigeons, as a matter of fact you have more chance of catching a disease from other humans. Pigeons typically DO NOT catch the Bird Flu virus, nor do they carry or shed the virus. Human beings are dirty, not Pigeons. Pigeons are beneficial -- they clean up the garbage human beings create. If it were not for Pigeons, there would be a lot more bugs and rats running around. Pigeons have saved many human lives in wars, and have been given medals of honor for their service, even more than military dogs. 95% of Pigeons completed their missions successfully. If any of our ancestors were saved by these Pigeons, just think, without the Pigeon's heroic efforts, we might not even be here today!!! Pigeons have saved many lives of shipwreck victims by locating them for rescue crews with their keen sense of sight. In the case of natural disasters, when communication lines are down, and roads are blocked%u2014who do they turn to? The Pigeon!!! Pigeons have saved lives in medical emergencies. Pigeons are very intelligent, can count, can distinguish between paintings of different artists, and can even be taught to play ping pong! Pigeons mate for life, (unlike most humans today), and they will even raise and nurse baby orphaned Pigeons. Pigeons have been given a bad rap for many years. Much of the misinformation about Pigeons has been generated by Pest Control Companies in order to generate business. Pigeons are not "Flying Rats", they are noble, loyal, beautiful, intelligent creatures who have served mankind in many ways throughout history. I believe in the World of Birds, Pigeons are indeed "Man's Best Friend"!!! Please oppose euthanization. There are many humane options. Let Oak Park be known as a town with a heart having compa


Posted: June 1st, 2012 4:24 PM

@Greener. As long as they are cloth diapers.

Greener Than Thou from Oak Park  

Posted: June 1st, 2012 4:08 PM

Let's skip the barbaric pigeon spikes and artificial hormones. True bird lovers can only endorse the one truly humane and sustainable solution: www.diapersforbirds.com

Just Sayin'  

Posted: June 1st, 2012 3:03 PM

Underutilized good quality habitat = something comes to fill the void, assuming no barrier to their arrival. Thus, decrease flock size by 50%, in comes another flock to fill the space if the habitat remains attractive and accessible. Population dynamics 101. Applies to coyotes. Applies to pigeons. Applies to wildlife, generally. Vacant and under-capacity habitat finds equilibrium. OvoControl? I don't think so. This isn't a closed system with just one flock to slowly (or quickly) eradicate.


Posted: June 1st, 2012 2:16 PM

Here's the OvoControl website for anybody interested...they have an FAQ. http://ovocontrol.com Worth noting, however, is that it costs $8.50 per day to treat roughly 100 pigeons w/50% reduction in flock size the 1st yr. I'd be curious to hear how much the capture/euthanize would be.

Just Sayin'  

Posted: June 1st, 2012 1:47 PM

OvoControl the best solution? I wonder what happens when a raptor eats a treated pigeon. Also, What would the goal be? To treat every free-flying pigeon either now present or coming in the future? Good plan for OvoControl, not likely to be effective in addressing the underlying problem.


Posted: May 31st, 2012 5:17 PM

How about discussing something important, like how much it is going to cost every taxpayer in the Village when the state shifts pension costs to local schools. The obsession with flying rats is insane.


Posted: May 31st, 2012 4:01 PM

@Answer to Title. Black on White crime. WJ will delete any and all comments relating to such. They don't want to ruffle the feathers of their biggest revenue souce: Real Estate Advertising. Peace Out.

Answer to Title  

Posted: May 31st, 2012 3:21 PM

What DOESNT spark a discussion in OP?????

Steve Wasek from Oak Park  

Posted: May 30th, 2012 8:36 PM

Oak Park Pigeons. SOLVED! Turn on the heated sidewalks. Finally, something good coming out of all those tax dollars! http://alacartoon.com/home/sidewalk-bbq

Michael Jehlik  

Posted: May 30th, 2012 7:25 PM

Pigeons are flat footed, a simple triangular block on the ledge above the poop spot will prevent the pigeons from roosting and pooping at that location. Below is an expert quote from the Chicago Department of Public Health, Source: Pigeon Man of Lincoln Square By Barbara Mahany Tribune staff reporter September 19, 2004 "Pigeons are not a public health hazard," proclaims Dr. Joel McCullough, medical director of environmental health for the Chicago Department of Public Health. There is a fungus, he says, that can be carried in pigeon droppings, but it has not been detected in Chicago as far back as anyone at the department can remember. "Nobody in public health is losing any sleep over pigeons." And, in fact, Zeman is breaking no law. The city, according to the corporation counsel's office, has no ordinance prohibiting the feeding of pigeons.

Steak Burger from Oak Park  

Posted: May 30th, 2012 3:21 PM

I said it before & I'll say it again. This isn't a problem, it's an opportunity. We don't have nuisance birds, we have a sustainable food supply. Don't euthanize the pigeons, harvest the squab for homeless shelters, group homes, food processors, & local folks who prefer to eat locally grown foodstuffs. It's all in the positioning, people. These squab can be sold, for a (gasp) PROFIT! It's not evil or inhumane. It's making the best of God's gifts to us. Deep down you know I'm right!!

The Real Poop On This Issue  

Posted: May 30th, 2012 1:30 PM

The easiest solution here is to turn this issue into an opportunity. Rather than euthanize or otherwise destroy these creatures of God, let's take a playbook out of the Asian Carp debate and find a restaurant operator who's willing to make Pigeon the main meat item on the menu. "The Free Rangin' Pigeon" would be a great replacement for the Bleeding Heart Bakery. Would probably taste better than the BHB too; as everyone knows, Pigeon taste just like Chicken.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: May 30th, 2012 1:27 PM

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois, talk is all this and everything else gets in Oak Park, and then they do the opposite. The 5 million brick club will need to now figure out how to get away with their killing.

Marlene from Oak park  

Posted: May 30th, 2012 12:24 PM

I walk over the pile of droppings at least twice a day. It's terrible. Glad the Village is working to resolve the issue. Do whatever it takes!

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: May 30th, 2012 12:04 PM

Q - It is not a political issue. It is an ethical issue that deserves discussion. As far as my being a politician or writing like one, I think that is OK. Politics is getting things done and it needs people to express their views, openly, to succeed.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: May 30th, 2012 10:31 AM

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois, you are writing like a politician. Sure it's good to get public opinion but when public opinions are not used then what good is it. The best suggestion was OvoControl. Mike Charley indicated he has already been through the choices available and now it's time to kill them. The 5 million dollar people want them killed. Let the killers say who they are.

pigeon hater  

Posted: May 30th, 2012 10:27 AM

Have you ever walked under a viaduct and had a pigeon poop on your head? Well I have. They need to be shot!


Posted: May 30th, 2012 10:17 AM

In my opinion, relieving oneself on the sidewalk should be a misdemeanor not a capital offence. Like marijuana use, this sort of thing should not ruin anyone's chances of getting into college, so perhaps an appropriate punishment would be a warning or a small fine that doesn't give one a "criminal record".

Carol from Oak Park  

Posted: May 30th, 2012 10:03 AM

Despite the very small risk of harm to people, disease risk has been used to justify killing pigeons where the nuisance of large roosts annoys people. - Humane Society of the U.S.


Posted: May 30th, 2012 8:01 AM

No matter what the village chooses to do, somebody is going to be upset. The only question is how much time/money are we willing to throw at this. Whatever we do, hopefully we get clean sidewalks & safe pedestrian passage under the tracks.

OPRF Achievement  

Posted: May 30th, 2012 5:48 AM

KILL the Pigeons. Look, Chicago has decided to take the same direction. No different than the County is taking on with Deer - and the State soon will decide on with the Geese. There are just TOO many in TOO little space. And they are dirty and messy. Costly as well to clean up - and We the Taxpayers have to pay for this clean up. All for making the village cleaner - and less free of these distracting birds.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: May 30th, 2012 12:51 AM

Q - No matter what the outcome, the fact that there were over 100 posts with most of value, some of great knowledge, and many substantial ideas show the importance of public opinions. That is good!

Q from Oak Park   

Posted: May 30th, 2012 12:01 AM

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois, public input counts because it is about killing by the Village of Oak Park. They thought how the article across country may appear. "Oak Park Kills Pigeons For Art", "Wrobel Wobbles - Pigeons Live". "Oak Park To Pooped To Care". This is just a hurry up for the people who brought you the 5 million dollar street. Now they will kill birds for their own pleasure. It's not the disease from the Pigeons, it the poop in the way people think about this.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: May 29th, 2012 10:22 PM

Pigeon Chat - Excellent article by WJ Staff Reporter Anna Lothson in tomorrow's WJ (Online tonight) and a WJ Editorial stating that the village needs to go back to the drawing board before using euthansia. Public Input counts!

Mike Tyson  

Posted: May 29th, 2012 10:09 PM

Leave my pigeons alone or I will punch you out.

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