Hawk calls used to scare pigeons away from NYC subway station

Nov. 29, 2013 at 2:57 PM

NEW YORK, Nov. 29 (UPI) -- Human neighbors have been complaining about recorded hawk calls meant to scare pigeons away from a New York City subway station.

"Kept me awake last weekend," Terry O'Donovan, who lives near the station in Woodside, Queens, told WCBS-TV, New York. "You can hear it at home."

City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer said something had to be done about the pigeons at the 61st Street station, WCBS reported Thursday. The birds had become so plentiful they frosted the area with droppings and riders exiting the station sometimes ended up with soiled clothes.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority had already tried using spikes to deprive the pigeons of landing spots and erected "do not feed" signs to control human behavior, both to no avail. Animal advocates say the recorded hawk calls are a humane way to drive the birds away.

"We're not thinking of exterminating them. We try to figure out a way for all of us to live together well," Rita McMahon, director of the Wild Bird Fund, told the television station.

One problem is that the pigeons are expected to figure out at some point that there are no hawks around and to learn to ignore the calls. Experts say the best way to reduce the pigeon numbers is a total halt to feeding them .

In the meantime, there are plans to introduce hawk calls at two nearby subway stations.

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