Local

Oak Park Village Board To Weigh In On Euthanizing Pigeons

A pigeon hangs out in Oak Park. The birds are leaving a lot of feces behind. (CBS)

A pigeon hangs out in Oak Park. The birds are leaving a lot of feces behind. (CBS)

Featured & Trending:

Latest News Headlines:

Get Breaking News First

Receive News, Politics, and Entertainment Headlines Each Morning.
Sign Up

OAK PARK, Ill. (CBS) — Oak Park is set to move ahead with discussion of euthanizing pigeons at a village board meeting Monday.

As WBBM Newsradio’s Dave Berner reports, the village is focusing its efforts on the roost under the Marion Street viaduct under the Oak Park Metra station.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Dave Berner reports

The village is considering bringing in the U.S. Department of Agriculture to euthanize the birds with carbon dioxide – a seldom-used tactic, but an effective one, the Chicago Tribune reported.

CBS 2’s Marissa Bailey reported last month on the pigeon invasion, and the resulting pigeon feces invasion, that has struck the area.

Resident Paul Beckwith told Bailey he personally has been defecated on by pigeons, and he doesn’t like the appearance.

Village leaders have put up screens to keep out the birds, but even that hasn’t worked. The village has spent more than $11,000 this year alone trying to keep the birds away.

If Oak Park decided to go ahead with the euthanasia plan, the USDA would set up cages with food and water, trap the pigeons, and transfer them into a chamber into which the carbon dioxide would be released, the Tribune reported.

The Illinois Ornithological Society says it isn’t against killing pigeons, since the birds – along with sparrows and starlings – are non-native species and are considered pests, the Tribune reported.

But People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals said euthanizing the pigeons could actually mean an increase in the pigeons population in the long run, since there were be more food for surviving pigeons, and newcomers could come and breed faster, the Tribune reported.

Other municipalities do take action against pigeons, though none to the point of euthanasia. Evanston, Winnetka and Naperville use spikes and netting on viaducts, and Evanston also has a family of peregrine falcons that eat the pigeons and keep their population under control, the newspaper reported. The Chicago Transit Authority also uses bird spikes and aluminum shields, the Tribune reported.

But the City of Chicago does not take action against pigeons other than power-washing bird feces from sidewalks and underpasses near ‘L’ stops, a Mayor’s office spokeswoman told the Tribune.

Pigeon infestations have drawn complaints within the city too, particularly near Broadway and Wilson Avenue in the Uptown neighborhood.

The influx of pigeons there was blamed in part on a woman repeatedly dumping breadcrumbs under the ‘L’ tracks near the Wilson Avenue Red Line stop. That woman, Young Kang – known locally as the “Pigeon Lady” – was arrested last month after allegedly shoving and throwing breadcrumbs at Ald. James Cappleman (46th) when he swept up the bread crumbs she had dropped.