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Will pigeon “birth control” drug affect other wild birds?

By Gary Bogue
Friday, November 2nd, 2007 at 9:26 am in Birds.

There’s a way to reduce the populations of troublesome pigeons that are pooping on city streets and buildings. OvoControl-P is a drug that makes avian eggs unhatchable. It is registered for “hatch control in pest birds such as Canada geese and feral pigeons.”

I Googled “OvoControl-P” and found a LOT of info on the subject. The drug is produced by a company called Innolytics LLC. OvoControl-P is advertised on the Web site “For the Safe and Humane Control of Pigeon Reproduction. You can check it out for yourself at:

As promoted on the Web site, the drug appears to be non-lethal and humane. But I’m a well-known cynic when it comes to using drugs to control wildlife. (I still remember 1080.)

Reading through the company’s on-line information, they appear to have done everything possible to make sure only the target species (pigeons) are affected by this drug, and not other wild birds. The bait they use is in large pieces suitable for big-mouthed pigeons, but not your average songbird. But large pieces of bird food can crumble into smaller pieces, can’t they?

The information also says the bait is fed sparingly and near the pigeons so it will be quickly consumed, “leaving little opportunity or time for non-target feeding.”

So why am I bothered by this line: “In summary, when used according to label directions, the risk to non-target birds and other animals is minimal”? How many people here ALWAYS follow the directions on a label … any label? How many people even read the labels?

Our native songbirds already have a lot of problems surviving in the urban and suburban wilderness. Loss of habitat … destruction of the rain forests where they winter … secondary affects of pesticide overuse … and more. Will OvoControl-P be yet another potential problem for songbirds?

There have been problems with another pigeon-control drug that is used to sicken the birds to try and make them leave an area. Death is sometimes an unfortunate side-effect of this drug.

Am I being too picky and just overreacting on this? Please go read about this stuff on their Web site:

I’m curious what you think about this. You can let me know under “Comments” below. Thanks. /Gary

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No Responses to “Will pigeon “birth control” drug affect other wild birds?”

  1. Daniel Scuiry Says:

    Dear Gary,

    Unless I misunderstand something, I do not see how the products can work unless they are given continuously throughout the breeding season and that the bait is part of their principal food source. Since pigeons graze over a wide area daily, any method of feeding would be haphazard. Maybe they could help limit or slow down population growth at best. The question is whether any other birds can consume the leftovers during the 49 weeks of its half-life.

    For thousands of years pigeons were one of the most beloved birds on earth. It’s only in the last fifty years they have become a “nuisance”. I could get very “soap box” about this subject. Suffice it to say, our hearts are hardend.

    Daniel Scuiry
    Berkeley, CA

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