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‘Pigeon Ninja’ hits his mark

A PEST controller eradicated a large population of pigeons living in Warracknabeal on the weekend. 

Yarriambiack Shire received a number of complaints earlier this year of high populations of pigeons causing issues around Warracknabeal. 

Yarriambiack Shire Council Public Health and Regulatory Services Coordinator Tim Rose organised with Kilmore pest controller Mick Smith to cull the numbers living around the town. 

“If you look around town now, there’s not many pigeons getting around,” Mr Smith said. 

Mr Smith uses a thermal monocular and a suppressed rifle with a night vision scope to locate the birds at night. 

Operating mainly from late afternoon through to the early hours of the morning, he said it is important for him to remain as discreet as possible in the town, so as not to disturb the public. 

He said he terminated about 430 birds. 

“We tagged 230 pigeons this weekend and 200 the weekend before,” he said. 

“There are some pigeon left in the town, but we can’t actually get them because they’re in the silos. That’s where they’re breeding; there’s a lot of pigeons in there.” 

Mr Smith with his partner Lyndsey trapped the birds under the Jarmoneau Street bridge near the Warracknabeal Lions Flora and Fauna Park, where the majority of the population were located. 

He said although they managed to kill off the majority, numbers are likely to increase over time. 

“The problem will always be there because it’s a grain growing area,” Mr Smith said. 

He said he would have preferred to trap the birds, however in the past it has proven to be unsuccessful. 

“We wanted to try to trap the pigeons; we tried that at Sea Lake where there were over 2,000 pigeons before they painted the latest silos. We put traps down, but not one pigeon goes near the traps. 

“The only way to get rid of them was to terminate them.” 

Mr Smith said it’s not easy killing living creatures, however he understands they tend to cause many issues. 

“Taking the life of any creature is a hard gig, but unfortunately they are vermin. The disease they carry is very bad.” 

According to South Australia Health, pigeons can accumulate wherever there is food and shelter, and can take up residence almost anywhere, including around houses, tall city buildings or schools. As well as being a nuisance and causing extensive damage to property, feral pigeons can also pose a risk to human health.

The presence of pigeons can result in a range of problems including attracting ticks, cockroaches, damaging buildings and monuments due to the highly corrosive nature of acid in pigeon droppings and damaging properties by pigeons roosting/breeding in roof spaces, rolled steel joists and inside factory units. 

Pigeons can also introduce weeds and disease through their droppings and there is also a greater risk of disease and parasite transmission between feral, domestic and seabird populations. 

Mr Smith will continue to work with the council if the issue persists.