Frequently asked questions
Why are the pigeons such a problem?
The birds excrement causes paths and playgrounds to become smelly, unsanitary and slippery. The pigeons roost in the large Phoenix Palms around Hamilton Lake Domain, and their excrement “burns” the palm fronds. If their population goes unchecked they may become more of a problem and begin nesting on buildings or private property.
How many are there? How many pigeons are going to be culled? How will you know when enough is enough?
What sort of health risks are there?
Slippery paths and build-ups of pigeon excrement are a hazard to the health and safety of members of the public using the domain. The birds’ excrement also has the potential to transmit diseases.
How will the birds be killed?
A contracted firm’s staff will use silenced air rifles, after dusk, when the domain is closed to the public. Members of Council’s Parks and Open Spaces team will also be on hand at all times.
What will happen to the dead pigeons?
They will be collected immediately by our contractor and disposed of straight away.
Has this been done before?
Yes. Council undertook a similar cull at Lake Domain in 2012.
What gives Council the right to do this?
Section 53 of The Wildlife Act, 1953, lists feral pigeons as a pest species, and entitles local councils to remove them from public places.
Can’t you trap and relocate the pigeons to other areas, rather than kill them? Has Council considered all the other options?
Trapping the pigeons would be difficult and costly, and would likely move the problem somewhere else. This culling method has been used before and is the most effective, as well as the most humane option.
Why hasn’t Council consulted with the community about this?
Council isn’t required to go through a consultation process for this work, but we have advised lakeside residents, local pigeon clubs, The Verandah Cafe management, recreational lake users, and the SPCA. They are supportive of this programme.
There are pigeons living in other areas of the city, such as under some of our bridges – does this mean you are going to cull them in these areas too?
Not at this stage – we are only focussing on the Hamilton Lake Domain.
Will the other wildlife in and around Hamilton Lake also be at risk while the culling takes place?
No, other wildlife around the lake will not be harmed. The focus of this operation is only feral pigeons, and the work will be carried out by trained and experienced pest controllers.