Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Birds harass residents of estate daily

 Birds harass residents of estate daily
STOMPer Anti-crow is unhappy with the large population of birds in his estate. According to him, the birds would harass the residents with their loud screeching and stain cars with their droppings.

The STOMPer said in an email to us today (May 3):

"These pictures were taken at the carpark beside Block 101, Ang Mo Kio Avenue 3.

"Each morning when I go to my car I notice that the whole car would be splattered with bird droppings. There are dropping on the windscreen, roof, windows and bonnet.

"Every evening a swarm of birds would gather in the branches of the tall trees in the carpark. They scream for almost two hours and after their nocturnal visit, the aftermath was obvious the next morning.

"They are a bane to the residents in this estate.

"I hope the NEA will send its team of sharpshooters to ensure the reduction of the bird population. We need some peace and solace from the daily harassment of the birds which have no respect for rich and poor alike."

 Birds harass residents of estate daily
 Birds harass residents of estate daily
 Birds harass residents of estate daily
 Birds harass residents of estate daily

Those certainly are some very strong words, just because of noise and bird droppings. I empathise with the residents, but I somehow feel that there is always this knee-jerk reaction to call for removal or culling whenever birds or other animals are perceived to be causing any form of disturbance or inconvenience.

As far as I know, shooting is carried out only to control house crows (Corvus splendens), whereas for feral pigeons (Columba livia), Javan myna (Acridotheres javanicus) and common myna (Acridotheres tristis), poisoning is the preferred method. The submitter did not specify which of the species is responsible for the majority of the disturbances in his neighbourhood; the problems might be caused by only a single species, or by any combination of the 4.


(Photo by xtemujin)

I can understand that there is a need to control urban bird numbers from time to time, but I would rather that people take a more holistic approach towards pest control, rather than always calling for the authorities to shoot or poison the birds. There is no easy fix to this issue, and while culling is a highly visible strategy that does show results in the short term, it is only a temporary solution. Other strategies such as better management of disposal of food waste, curbing littering, and eliminating potential roosting and nesting sites by pruning trees are other possible measures which would need to be carried out in conjunction with culling in order to have any long-lasting impact. Winged Invaders: Pest Birds of the Asia Pacific by Navjot S. Sodhi & Ilsa Sharp is an excellent resource that examines the relationship with various bird species we consider to be pests.


(Photo by xtemujin)

It's a similar issue with other animals, from domestic animals such as stray dogs and cats, to wildlife such as monkeys and palm civets.

Besides, it also really depends a lot on one's sense of proportion. What a person may perceive as a plague of birds may simply be a normal-sized population in reality. For such individuals who might find it unpalatable to contemplate living alongside another species, buying ear plugs or a plastic cover for one's car are not very expensive options.


(Photo by Fangqi)

Once again, I'd like to highlight the dedicated Fangqi, who runs the Save The Pigeons blog.

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