Saturday, December 08, 2007

Henpecked pigeon foe - Wildlife advocates criticize Felder’s feeding ban

A local pol is using the beleaguered wings of pigeons to give flight to his political career, urban wildlife advocates chirped at a rally last week.

On the steps of City Hall, activists wielding pro-pigeon placards decried the controversial series of proposals by City Councilmember Simcha Felder to curb the city’s pigeon population.

Felder’s legislation, which has not yet been drafted, includes a ban on feeding pigeons—a galling measure that hit bird-lovers right in the gizzard.

“He is able to use this to bolster his very tenuous political career,” said Johanna Clearfield of the Urban Wildlife Coalition, an event co-sponsor. “He sees this issue as a way to get mass attention and to garner what is already the existing hostility [against pigeons].”

“The city is not an indoor lobby. We need to ask ourselves how we can relate to our urban environment,” she said.

Felder spokesperson Eric Kuo insisted his boss is has no beef with squab.

“He doesn’t hate pigeons or want to harm pigeons,” Kuo said. “He just thinks there are too many pigeons, and I think a lot of New Yorkers [agree].”

Felder, who plans to introduce the legislation in the next few weeks, has suggested a $1,000 fine on those who feed pigeons. At press time, he was not made available for comment.

In his report, “Curbing the Pigeon Conundrum,” Felder details the hazards created by pigeon droppings, including the degradation of steel structures. His report concedes that health threats posed by the birds are often “exaggerated.”

Possible pigeon control tactics could be the trial use of avian birth control; fostering hawk and falcon populations (they eat pigeons); and the creation of a Pigeon Czar, to “categorically address the pigeon population issue as a whole.”


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