SLO to put pigeons on birth control to combat poop problem

By JOSH FRIEDMAN

To combat the piling up of poop in and around a downtown creek, the city of San Luis Obispo has decided to lure pigeons into going on birth control. [KSBY]

Hundreds of pigeons have created a sanctuary in a tunnel beside Mission Plaza, causing multiple environmental problems in downtown SLO, including contamination of the creek and an increasing amounts of flies. The Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board has already cited the city for unhealthy levels of fecal bacteria in the creek. 

In turn, the city has been training birds to eat from downtown feeders that have birth control in the food. City officials expect the downtown pigeon population to quickly decrease, as the pigeons currently living in the tunnel are not in a conducive habitat and have a shortened life expectancy. 

City officials are working with Cal Poly to develop a spray for parts of downtown that will mitigate the fly problem. Many downtown shoppers have been frustrated with the amount of flies in the area.

The city consulted animal rights groups, including PETA, and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife about the bird birth control plan.

While discussing the extent of the poop problem, City Biologist Freddy Otte said in an interview with KSBY that about 500 birds are living in the tunnel. Otte then claimed individual birds can produce the equivalent of 40 pounds of poop a day. 

“If you think about a flock of 100 birds being able to produce about 4,000 pounds of poop every day, multiply that by five and you have a lot of pigeon poop going into the creek every day,” Otte said.

The interview segment that aired did not delve into how a single bird is able to produce 40 pounds of poop a day.

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