Wildlife advocate questions decision to kill pigeons pooping on Saskatoon bridge

350 tonnes of pigeon poop on Saskatoon bridge

Crews are trying to clean the bridge of the feces of what is roughly equal to 230 cars

Crews tasked with cleaning a Saskatchewan bridge are in for a dirty job.

The City of Saskatoon says that over the last 50 years one of its bridges has accumulated nearly 350 tonnes of pigeon poop — which is roughly equal to 230 cars parked on the bridge.

It says the feces adds unnecessary weight and the pigeon droppings contain uric acid which can damage concrete.

The facelift also means the extermination of about 1,500 members of the feathered flock that makes the Sid Buckwold Bridge home.

READ MORE: 3-year-old girl attacked by coyote in White Rock

The city says relocating or displacing the birds is not recommended because they are likely to fly back or move into other private properties or civic spaces.

A local wildlife advocate is disappointed and questions why alternatives can’t be found that would allow the birds to live.

“In Saskatchewan, a very, very, very common response is if it pisses you off, shoot it,” says Jan Shadick, volunteer director of Living Sky Wildlife Rehabilitation.

Shadick blames Saskatoon’s approach on a regional attitude towards so-called pesky wildlife.

“Everybody’s getting really mad at the pigeons, but if you didn’t clean your house for 50 years, I’m going to guess it would probably be condemned.”

In emails to The Canadian Press, a city spokesman says the bridge was designed with more than 30 cavities underneath, which make the structure rather cosy for pigeons to nest, but are difficult to reach.

“The challenge has always been access to these areas. They are essentially inaccessible over the river and the most efficient plan was to wait until the bridge rehab project,” Mark Rogstad wrote.

Clearing out the pigeons and their poop was set to begin this week. The city says once finished, it will take steps to deter the birds from renesting.

Canadian cities take different approaches to dealing with pigeons.

On other bridges in Saskatoon, the city uses mesh and barriers to prevent roosting and utilizes falcons around its waste-water treatment plant and landfill.

Regina and Vancouver rely on pigeon spikes, protective netting or cages to keep pigeons off their facilities.

Toronto and Calgary do not practise pigeon control.

READ MORE: Study on cancer prevention a message for governments, Canadians: researcher

A spokeswoman for the city of Ottawa says there’s no bylaw for regulating wild animals on private property, but the city recommends that people animal-proof their homes.

Shadick says she supports non-lethal ways to manage wildlife and believes if Saskatoon wants to be seen as an environmentally friendly, forward-thinking city it should rethink its plan.

“The pigeons are simply doing what they do,” she says.

“They’re living. They’re eating. They’re procreating. They’re being pigeons. They’re being birds.”

— By Stephanie Taylor in Regina

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Grey, damp, warm week ahead in Okanagan, Shuswap, Columbia

Environment Canada calling for clouds and showers, and warm temperatures, throughout the area

‘If we do nothing, the herd will certainly be extirpated’: Caribou maternity pen proposed in Nakusp

The Arrow Lakes Caribou Society is waiting for a response from the province

Revelstoke roads and weather: avalanche control planned today

Highway 1 west of Revelstoke will be closed intermittently for avalanche control

Advance voting in 2019 federal election begins

Voting at advance polling stations has become a popular choice in Canada over the years

B.C.’s rural paramedic program expands, with home support

Advanced care ambulance staff added for six communities

BC Ferries sees steady traffic of post-Thanksgiving weekend travellers

Ferries filling up fast, sailing waits at some terminals

‘Save the kids!’ Dorian survivor tells the harrowing story of his Canadian wife’s death

Family held a funeral and placed Alishia Liolli’s remains in a niche at a cemetery in Windsor, Ont.

Okanagan woman, 91, votes at advance polls despite broken hip, shoulder and wrist

Angela Maynard has voted in almost every election during her lifetime

Heiltsuk Nation open first Big House in 120 years in northern B.C.

Opening means the community now has an appropriate space for spiritual and ceremonial events

Singh says NDP would form coalition with the Liberals to stop Tories

Singh was in a Liberal-held riding Sunday afternoon in Surrey where he was pressed about his post-election intentions

‘My heart goes out to the mother’: B.C. dad reacts to stabbing death of Ontario boy

Carson Crimeni, who was also 14, was bullied relentlessly, his dad says

BC Ferries filling up fast with post-Thanksgiving weekend travellers

Monday anticipated to be busiest day of the weekend

‘Wham-bam out the door’: Surrey man’s front yard left ruined by scamming landscaper

Resident warns neighbours to be careful of door-to-door salesmen

Most Read