Oak Park village board drops pigeon killing proposal, refers issue back to the health department

Pigeon euthanasia plan poops out

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Show/Hide Gallery

By Anna Lothson

Staff Reporter

Pigeons in Oak Park will live to see another day.

The recommendation from the public health department to adopt an ordinance that would have allowed for trapping and euthanizing of pigeons, sparrows and starlings was stopped Monday night.

The case, specifically related to the Marion Street train viaduct, came home to roost after the initial report was released, and pigeon proponents flocked to the village board meeting Monday. Due to the attention the issue received in the media, Village President David Pope started the meeting by informing the audience that the issue was being removed from the agenda to be referred back to staff.

The announcement caused a small round of applause in the audience. Pope reminded people the issue was not up for vote anymore, but some still made their opinions heard.

"The preference of the board is not to spend money to kill pigeons," Pope said.

The initial report from the public health department pointed out that the village had already spent $11,000 for trapping, netting and power washing to combat the issue. The ordinance, proposed two weeks ago, indicated that a maximum of $15,000 would be needed for the pest control management program, which included a combination of bird spike and traps to be used before euthanizing pigeons.

Marie Perkins was one resident who homed in on the pigeon issue, saying she didn't understand why the village would consider such drastic measures.

"Pigeon poop is not as much of a nuisance as what humans cause," she said, sporting a "Mercy for Animals" T-shirt. "I don't understand where this is coming from. This is not what Oak Park is about. … This is not a green solution."

A handful of other residents spoke about the value of pigeons, including one woman who showed up holding bird spikes as she expressed her disagreement. Another told compared the statistical improbability of getting sick from pigeons to being struck by lightning, saying lightning was a more likely option.

"Go with your heart and vote against killing pigeons," Perkins said.

Oak Park resident Jenny Tiner was concerned about the current measures being used to deter pigeons, which includes netting that the pigeons have managed to sneak through. She said pigeons are being trapped behind the netting and asked the board when the netting would come down.

Pope responded by saying if the pigeons found a way in, they could find a way out. Tiner disagreed, however, and insisted the village take down the nets immediately. No further discussion on the netting issue took place.

When the euthanasia measure was initially proposed, Mike Charley, environmental health supervisor in the village, said killing pigeons was not the preferred option but a last resort recommended by animal specialists at the United States Department of Agriculture's Division of Wildlife Services.

At the May 21 meeting when it originally came up, only four members of the board were present so a vote was not taken. Pope said he spoke with trustees individually during the past two weeks, and there was consensus that the issue should not move forward. He said there's no indication that the matter will come before the board anytime soon as it's being referred back to staff.

Email: anna@oakpark.com Twitter: @AnnaLothson

Reader Comments

33 Comments - Add Your Comment

Note: This page requires you to login with Facebook to comment.

Comment Policy

Paddy Boy  

Posted: June 7th, 2012 1:37 PM

Thanks to "mike from op" for bringing the point home in fine fashion - another thought of mine is that why can my neighbor Lenny's cat chase all the rabbits out of my yard in 5 minutes yet the village board can go on and on and never really resolve anything regarding a few birds?

Plop plop fizz fizz  

Posted: June 6th, 2012 10:05 PM

Where can we get our hands on a ton of Alka Seltzer?

Daisy Mae from Rogers Park  

Posted: June 6th, 2012 9:06 PM

Why doesn't Oak Park just do like Evanston Public Library and install falcons? This represents a natural progression of things. It should not offend bird lovers or persons of certain religious persuasion. It is proven effective. One rarely sees pidgeons near EPL. Also, people were feeding pidgeons on the parking lot of a mosque in Rogers Park near Loyola. One summer night when my window was open, I heard that squeaky hinge sound. I knew it was falcons...The problems was solved.


Posted: June 6th, 2012 8:20 AM

Let's just get rid of the homeless instead, and the kids selling the candy outside walgreens for their "highschool basketball team". All they do is hurass you and make you feel guilty coming out of stores. There's only one swell homeless dude anyway :] Birds are hardly a nusiance.

BuffaloPigeonWings from Oak Park  

Posted: June 5th, 2012 11:06 PM

Wow, Marie. Your envy is showing. No, blissful ignorance & superiority are in plentiful supply right here in OP. Having family in Winnetka, I can state categorically that those who earned the ability to live there aren't ignorant about anything, least of all work ethic. It's your own inferiority complex (emphasized in your constant use of the work "ilk") that leaves you thinking they're superior. Those in Winnetka & us other 53%ers are too busy being productive to worry if we're superior to you.

Alfred Hitchcock from The Birds  

Posted: June 5th, 2012 9:42 PM

@ Marie. Be careful what you wish for. Good Evening...

Pigeons are Yummy Food from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: June 5th, 2012 9:19 PM

I do love pigeons. Roasted pigeons.

mike from op  

Posted: June 5th, 2012 7:10 PM

All this over rats with wings? Just imagine if all this passion was directed at something important. They are pigeons, who cares. Kill them, relocate them, just keep their sh*t off my head. What a town.

Bill Sullivan  

Posted: June 5th, 2012 4:38 PM

WGN had an avian expert on the radio this morning to discuss the problem. He said the key is to prevent nesting and roosting. His ideas sure sounded sensible to me. Here is his website: http://www.avianflyawayinc.com/index.php

Marie Perkins  

Posted: June 5th, 2012 4:12 PM

@buffalopigeonblahblahblah. I will bet any money that this is really steakburger. It is only someone of his ilk that says nonsensical things like this. So like a scab that is trying to heal, it's best to ignore it. Thank you Debra for your eloquence and facts about the pigeons. When you put them in the context that you did, it changes everything. And as for Kathleen Wrobel, you can always move to Winnetka where people of your ilk live in blissful ignorance and superiority.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: June 5th, 2012 4:02 PM

Debra Winkelman, now that we know there are people who will show their opposition to the board, they all need to vote these people out.

Doug Kittredge from Oak Park  

Posted: June 5th, 2012 3:58 PM

It is unfortunate that this effort has been derailed. Pigeons and their feces are disease carriers. I am particularly surprised about the pigeon spike objection - they are all over downtown stations. I have put them up on a previous house - they don't hurt the pigeons, they just stop them from landing.

Debra Winkelman  

Posted: June 5th, 2012 3:48 PM

To all who spoke up at the meeting for our feathered friends--I wish to thank you for having the courage and moral integrity to speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, to speak up against injustice and cruelty. You have beautiful souls and you restore my faith in humanity!!!

BuffaloPigeonWings from Oak Park  

Posted: June 5th, 2012 3:08 PM

Jenny, again you wrong. This isn't over by a long sight. The silent majority will rise & see that these nuisance birds are harvested to provide food for the homeless/incarcerated, etc. Birds & viaducts don't mix.


Posted: June 5th, 2012 1:54 PM

Paddy Boy, you may be onto something there. The Mrs. & me kept the tv on after the pigeons became a non-issue & noted that it was after 8pm & no substantial village business had been conducted. The channel quickly got changed. lol

Jim Coughlin  

Posted: June 5th, 2012 1:46 PM

Episodes of Dog the Bounty Hunter might also do the the trick.

Paddy Boy  

Posted: June 5th, 2012 1:40 PM

Set up a wide screen TV with speakers in the viaduct and let the pigeons view the weekly village board meeting on cable. Trust me - they will be throwing themselves on the el tracks within 5 minutes.

Jenny Tiner  

Posted: June 5th, 2012 1:29 PM

Now, that I said it was my final say below and didn't keep to that, I'll avert the jokes and just look at the rest of this as icing on the ignorant cake, the yummy non-vegan cake, and let you all make a joke of yourselves. I'll again attempt to let my final words be THANK YOU for the change village. Really.


Posted: June 5th, 2012 1:25 PM

Jenny, I meant they took it off the actual, literal agenda of record...like minutes, etc.. Technically those who still chose to speak about the pigeons last night fell into the rules for "non-agenda public comment."

Jenny Tiner  

Posted: June 5th, 2012 1:22 PM

How to kill them, jokes on people being extremists, not caring about health, being vegan, talk about "getting" the board with some "we know how to get em" tactics, BORING. I can't speak for others who spoke against but I'm not some vegan, extremist hippie like you think. I'm just me!I swear you must have absolutely nothing better to do. Sorry,I know that's rude but just be normal people! THIS kind of dialogue only makes Oak Park look worse, you guys sound so dumb and don't even know it. Very sa

pigeons and all that jazz  

Posted: June 5th, 2012 1:17 PM

http://www.ehow.com/how_12162026_keeping-pigeons-away-fountains.html "Play loud music or install an ultrasonic bird repellent...According to Iowa State University Extension, set ultrasonic scaring unit for 10-15 second intervals every minute approximately one hour before dark. This schedule is enough to keep the unwanted birds away without them becoming accustomed to the noise, which renders it useless. Play loud music approximately one hour before dark and one hour in the morning."

Annette Tuzzolino from Chicago (formally of Oak Park)  

Posted: June 5th, 2012 1:16 PM

I'm thrilled that the campaign to euthanize the birds in Oak Park has ended. There are many ways to combat any issue--you just need to be more open minded. Remember, the animals have lost so much of their own habitat due to our growth and expansion.

Jenny Tiner  

Posted: June 5th, 2012 1:16 PM

Once this is OVER this gets so boring. My daughter came with me, it was 7:30. Anyway they didn't take it off the agenda, if you will watch it again, they specifically said voting was not on the agenda. Thank you John. I'm gonna add thanks here to those who don't want to be nasty, who don't find humour in being a waste of time, talking about eating pigeons, that happens already, it's probably yummy, the joke is dumb. Rats with wings is overused, how to kill em jokes is overused, it's OVER.

Kathleen Wrobel from Oak Park  

Posted: June 5th, 2012 1:15 PM

That's just great! Now those pigeons (flying rats) will have an opportunity to build their nests somewhere else ... like up where the passengers wait for the trains. That'll be a wonderful improvement.


Posted: June 5th, 2012 1:11 PM

Jenny, I have young kids who I put to bed around the same time as Board meetings. So I watched on tv while my son drank his bottle. lol For those who didn't see the meeting, it was pretty boring--the Board didn't vote & took the item off the agenda given that Marion under the tracks is being redone within the next 12 months. (That was what I was asking Anna Lothson about below.)

John Murtagh from Oak Park  

Posted: June 5th, 2012 1:08 PM

Jenny - excellent summary. I agree that the issue is over and it is time to move on.

Marsda Conner from Oak Park  

Posted: June 5th, 2012 1:07 PM

Hooray for those who saved our Oak Park pigeons, starlings, and sparrows! Killing these birds would have made me ashamed to be an Oak Parker! Also, in their treatment of animals, children very often follow the examples of the adults they see. Our killing pigeons would encourage children to throw stones at birds, squirrels, and other small animals to hurt them--a natural instinct, unfortunately, in some children, anyway.

Birdophiliac from Oak Park  

Posted: June 5th, 2012 12:49 PM

I'm literally pulsating with delight!

Jenny Tiner  

Posted: June 5th, 2012 12:48 PM

My final say - Thank you trustees! I don't think a lot of residents feel change will happen when they speak up & it did, I am grateful. Those of you still going off below, it's over, check your facts. Kyle, where were you? You lose credit when you only speak virtually. Thank you Anna, thank you public, & again thank you OP trustees. A little faith in OP restored, not because of pigeons, they were what brought me out, but people were heard & change happened. That is awesome.

BuffaloPigeon Wings from Oak Park  

Posted: June 5th, 2012 12:42 PM

This is not over. The silent majority, who hate bird droppings but love eating BBQ Squab, will bring our voices & vast resources to bear on the trustees. They will see it our way. Harvest the pigeons now!


Posted: June 5th, 2012 12:32 PM

Anna, can we maybe also get some followup on the Marion St. viaduct rehab? I was expecting that to get more play...though the other major news outlets haven't included it either. The pigeons aren't off the hook here, right? My impression of what was said last night was that it will be dealt with as part of the viaduct design. Or is it that we're waiting to see how the birds are after construction before we return to the pigeon subject?

Tom Scharre  

Posted: June 5th, 2012 12:15 PM

A modest proposal: let's indict them and give them due process. If found guilty - and following exhaustion of all appeals - then, and only then, do we execute them.

Mike Poirier from Oak Park  

Posted: June 5th, 2012 12:12 PM

A predictable outcome. Only in Oak Park would the interests of pigeons trump the well being of humans.

Facebook Connect

Answer Book 2017

To view the full print edition of the Wednesday Journal 2017 Answer Book, please click here.

Quick Links

Sign-up to get the latest news updates for Oak Park and River Forest.

MultimediaContact us
Submit Letter To The Editor
Place a Classified Ad