This is in response to Roberta Arnold’s letter [Pigeons really are a health issue, Viewpoints, Sept. 13].

Pigeons are also called Rock Doves; these birds in the wild live in a setting of cliffs where there are flat rock shelves. Here the Rock Doves lay their eggs. This nesting habit is the reason pigeons can live in our cities with our skyscraper cliff’s flat surfaces making a habitat like the setting where doves naturally nest. These wonderful birds ae able to live in our cities where few other wild bird species have been able to survive. Pigeons are a gift.

Humans wage war against pigeons for reasons such as Ms. Arnold’s view “that pigeons spread disease.” I am sorry for all of Arnold’s friends who are suffering from histoplasmosis and cryptococcosis. Luckily, I have never known of a case. Infection from these illnesses can occur through pigeon exposure, but let’s not be hysterical about it. It is very rare. Clearing away pigeon waste does work to mitigate exposure to this risk. 

Killing pigeons by the usual way — poisoning them — has the side effect of also killing the natural predator of pigeons, the urban dwelling Peregrine Falcon. A pigeon painfully dying of poison is an easy catch for a falcon, which then ingests the poison and dies. 

When a predator is removed, the population of their prey then grows.

Susan Bjornson

Oak Park

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