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Feeding Feral Pigeons

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Paris 4th Arr
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Feeding Feral Pigeons

For the first time in our experience, we've seen people selling bags of seed (? - not sure what) to tourists to feed pigeons. Once near the river at the base of the Eiffel Tower and just a week or two ago in our own neighborhood in front of the Centre Pompidou.

This may seem like a very animal-friendly thing to do but it's not. The feral pigeons are a menace and they cost us millions of Euros in damage to precious statuary and buildings. They've become such a problem that the Parisian government has introduced measures to intervene to prevent what has happened to Venice, the almost complete destruction of a vast amount of outdoor art and architecture.

I'm all fired up about this at the moment because today we were on one of our bi-weekly urban hiking excursions and we ran across both the pigeon food sellers AND a couple attaching a lock to the Pont des Arts bridge.

Had to rant. Couldn't help it.

Boston...
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1. Re: Feeding Feral Pigeons

When you say the government will intervene, do you mean they'll outlaw the sale of the feed? Seems like a no-brainer. It's difficult to understand how any reasonably intelligent person could think feeding pigeons is a good thing anyway....most especially in urban areas. Most would give you their All-God's-children speech which just doesn't wash.

Toronto, Canada
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2. Re: Feeding Feral Pigeons

I cringed whenever I saw tourists feeding the pigeons in Venice. I'd hate to think that would happen to Paris too.

I don't blame you for being upset Metromole.

Toronto, Canada
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3. Re: Feeding Feral Pigeons

And for what it's worth, there seem to be lots of wildlife feeders no matter where you go.

People here feed the Canada Geese and we are overrun with them now. Many no longer migrate south as a result.

I don't think people realize the full extent of their actions long term.

Boston...
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4. Re: Feeding Feral Pigeons

We have a problem with the Canada geese here too, pmmc.

Paris 4th Arr
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5. Re: Feeding Feral Pigeons

I don't think the city government can deal with the seed-sellers any better than the E-tower keychain hawkers as far as enforcement goes. The hawkers are more portable than the police and I seriously doubt there's law on the books to stop the sellers of seeds.

The one measure we've observed so far are the "les pigeonniers", 2x2 meter pigeon houses where the pigeons lay their eggs and city workers de-fertilize them (by what means I have no idea). Apparently this takes those particular birds out of the mating pool for an entire hatching season. Seems pretty lame to me but I've read that there are more than 200 of these structures across Paris and they consider the effort a success at the moment.

the big blue marble
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6. Re: Feeding Feral Pigeons

There is a law on the books in Venice, and a fat lot of good that does.

I'm always shocked by the number of people who participate in this destructive little habit. There are also men selling bird seed in front of ND so that the small birds will rest on people's hands.

As far as the locks go, Metromole, last week I saw that Marc Jacobs was selling them in his boutique at the Marché St Honoré. Thought of you. Didn't used to bother me much, but when you think of all the waste. Well, it drives me mad, too.

Paris, France
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7. Re: Feeding Feral Pigeons

It is already against the law to feed the pigeons in Paris, but I have not seen many people being ticketed.

In some parks, you can see the giant municipal pigeon houses where the pigeons are treated to all-you-can-eat birth control feed. It seems like the best solution.

Edited: 18 April 2011, 18:09
Paris 4th Arr
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8. Re: Feeding Feral Pigeons

«In some parks, you can see the giant municipal pigeon houses where the pigeons are treated to all-you-can-eat birth control feed. It seems like the best solution.»

Where can I get this stuff? I'd personally invest a small fortune in it just for my own courette.

Naples
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9. Re: Feeding Feral Pigeons

I think the bird-feeding people have smaller brains than the birds themselves.

For what it's worth we have a similar problem at the beach in New Jersey ~ only this time it's with stupid people feeding the sea gulls. The birds have become so aggressive that they will actually swoop down and take a sandwich right out of your hand before you can even take a bite. I've seen small children traumatized by attacking birds ... but that doesn't seem to phase the bird-brained people who continue to feed them.

Paris 4th Arr
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10. Re: Feeding Feral Pigeons

It's really a shame that these birds have reached the stage of nuisance in our cities. Many of the worst human offenders in our neighborhood go to the boulangeries and get stale baguettes to break-up into small pieces and feed thousands of pigeons almost every morning. The birds have become a complete menace as a result.

With our weak grasp of the language we tried to translate the concept of "flying rats" to some French friends who, when the language barrier blocking the analogy sunk in, burst out in hysterical laughter. Apparently, Parisians already use that analogy.

When we lived in Seattle, our thrice weekly walks around Green Lake allowed us to get close-up and personal with the Canadian geese. They had staked a claim there and were no longer migrating. They had an abundance of food thanks to the well-meaning humans.

Edited: 18 April 2011, 18:45