Wildlife advocate questions decision to kill pigeons pooping on Saskatoon bridge

350 tonnes of pigeon poop on Saskatoon bridge

Crews are trying to clean the bridge of the feces of what is roughly equal to 230 cars

Crews tasked with cleaning a Saskatchewan bridge are in for a dirty job.

The City of Saskatoon says that over the last 50 years one of its bridges has accumulated nearly 350 tonnes of pigeon poop — which is roughly equal to 230 cars parked on the bridge.

It says the feces adds unnecessary weight and the pigeon droppings contain uric acid which can damage concrete.

The facelift also means the extermination of about 1,500 members of the feathered flock that makes the Sid Buckwold Bridge home.

READ MORE: 3-year-old girl attacked by coyote in White Rock

The city says relocating or displacing the birds is not recommended because they are likely to fly back or move into other private properties or civic spaces.

A local wildlife advocate is disappointed and questions why alternatives can’t be found that would allow the birds to live.

“In Saskatchewan, a very, very, very common response is if it pisses you off, shoot it,” says Jan Shadick, volunteer director of Living Sky Wildlife Rehabilitation.

Shadick blames Saskatoon’s approach on a regional attitude towards so-called pesky wildlife.

“Everybody’s getting really mad at the pigeons, but if you didn’t clean your house for 50 years, I’m going to guess it would probably be condemned.”

In emails to The Canadian Press, a city spokesman says the bridge was designed with more than 30 cavities underneath, which make the structure rather cosy for pigeons to nest, but are difficult to reach.

“The challenge has always been access to these areas. They are essentially inaccessible over the river and the most efficient plan was to wait until the bridge rehab project,” Mark Rogstad wrote.

Clearing out the pigeons and their poop was set to begin this week. The city says once finished, it will take steps to deter the birds from renesting.

Canadian cities take different approaches to dealing with pigeons.

On other bridges in Saskatoon, the city uses mesh and barriers to prevent roosting and utilizes falcons around its waste-water treatment plant and landfill.

Regina and Vancouver rely on pigeon spikes, protective netting or cages to keep pigeons off their facilities.

Toronto and Calgary do not practise pigeon control.

READ MORE: Study on cancer prevention a message for governments, Canadians: researcher

A spokeswoman for the city of Ottawa says there’s no bylaw for regulating wild animals on private property, but the city recommends that people animal-proof their homes.

Shadick says she supports non-lethal ways to manage wildlife and believes if Saskatoon wants to be seen as an environmentally friendly, forward-thinking city it should rethink its plan.

“The pigeons are simply doing what they do,” she says.

“They’re living. They’re eating. They’re procreating. They’re being pigeons. They’re being birds.”

— By Stephanie Taylor in Regina

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

LETTER: ICBC changes a ‘breath of fresh air’

A Maple Ridge resident welcomes the new changes and impact on rates

Maple Ridge Mounties hope someone recognizes this vandal

At least 25 vehicles were damaged overnight Saturday to Sunday in a north Maple Ridge neighbourhood

Pitt Meadows film premiere offers hope to people with learning disabilities

In Normal Isn’t Real four subjects who have learning disabilities and ADHD, share their success stories

Marching for those who’ve disappeared

Fifth annual event in Memorial Peace Park

Letter: Other cities have declared climate emergencies

Maple Ridge should do what’s right for our planet

VIDEO: Ottawa wants quick, peaceful resolution to pipeline protests, Trudeau says

The protests have manifested themselves as blockades on different rail lines across the country

Flight to evacuate Canadians from cruise ship ‘expected’ to depart Japan on Thursday

Canadians seeking to return to home by commercial means will be subject to the Quarantine Act

VIDEO: Giants win 10th straight on home ice in Langley

Family Day was about spending time with the fans and dazzling them with a 3-2 victory over Seattle

Canucks acquire forward Tyler Toffoli from Kings in push for playoffs

Vancouver sends Schaller, Madden, pick to L.A.

New highway proposed between Alberta and B.C.

The route would connect Red Deer to Kamloops

Wet’suwet’en and B.C. government have been talking Aboriginal title for a year

Coastal GasLink says it has agreements with all 20 elected First Nations councils along the 670-kilometre route

Trudeau tightlipped on plan to end protests ‘quickly and peacefully’

The prime minister, who cancelled a two-day trip to Barbados this week to deal with the crisis at home

B.C. budget expected to stay the course as economic growth moderates

Finance minister said ICBC costs have affected budget

Canadian standards for coronavirus protection to be reviewed, health agency says

The protocols set out how health workers should protect themselves and their patients

Most Read