SeeClickFix: Feeding urban wildlife is a big 'no-no' - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

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SeeClickFix: Feeding urban wildlife is a big 'no-no'

People have been feeding the birds like pets - leading to an overpopulation problem, according to animal officials. (Source: WAFF) People have been feeding the birds like pets - leading to an overpopulation problem, according to animal officials. (Source: WAFF)
HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) -

Free food draws the masses, as far as wildlife goes, including pigeons - but Huntsville Animal Services says feeding them is a big "no-no," for both you and them. 

You can see several hundred pigeons lofting about at any given time on South Memorial Parkway and Drake Avenue. 

"Actually, they are more like pets because people are feeding them. They're not creating their niche in our environment," said Dr. Karen Sheppard with Huntsville Animal Services.   

Dr. Sheppard says not to provide food to urban wildlife. It's doing more harm than good.

"But, instead of there being 1,000 pigeons, there might only be 40 right there... People bonded with them over the years and we have tried many times to discourage them from feeding the pigeons," she said.

South Memorial and Drake isn't the only location dealing with an overpopulation of pigeons, and anyone could tell you it's gone on at this particular location for 30 years.

Pictures posted on our SeeClickFix page highlight the mess left behind at just one of their nesting sites underneath the overpass. 

"They build nests out of feces and twig. They don't tear down nests to build a new one. They just keep adding to it," said wildlife removal specialist Jeff Ponzini.  

Ponzini says they are chipping away at the infrastructure - but there is a way wildlife professionals like himself can help nip the problem in the bud.

"Initiate a trapping program where these animals are removed and the population is reduced to help mitigate the problem," explained Ponzini. 

It's not going to be a one time fix, he admits, but there is something everyone else can do to help.

"You are not supposed to provide food to urban wildlife, period. None," Sheppard said. 

For now, pigeons' natural predator, the Cooper's hawk, keeps a watchful eye over the abundance of birds.

Copyright 2016 WAFF. All rights reserved.

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