Discussion Topic: Are Pigeons Wildlife or Vermin?

When you spy a pigeon perched on a city park bench, do you see a beautiful wild bird remarkably adapted … Continued

When you spy a pigeon perched on a city park bench, do you see a beautiful wild bird remarkably adapted to an urban landscape, or do you see a rat with wings that should be exterminated?

That question lies at the heart of New York City’s pigeon problem. Earlier this month, City Councilman Simcha Felder, Democrat of Brooklyn, proposed legislation to curb the city’s pigeon population, including a ban on feeding the birds, enforced by fines.

Now, from The New York Times:

_About two dozen pigeon proponents . . . staged a noontime protest in front of City Hall today criticizing . . . [the] proposed legislation.

They carried signs with slogans like “Give pigeons their peace and “Have you known anybody killed by a pigeon?”

The pigeon proponents passionately defended the feral bird’s right to co-exist with humans in the city, holding it up as a symbol of nature in the urban wilderness._

What’s your take?

(By the way, when I lived in New York City [a necessary evil for joining the editorial staff of this magazine], it occurred to me that it’s not the pigeons that pose the problem. In Madison Park, for example, where I occasionally took my lunch break, you could have had Argentina-like wingshooting if you could just get rid of all the damn people.)