'Birth Control' For Wakiki Pigeons?

New Technology Reduces Pigeon Populations Without Killing Them

 UPDATED 9:06 PM HST Apr 04, 2011
WAIKIKI, Hawaii -

Controlling Hawaii's pigeon population has traditionally involved shooting, trapping or poisoning them. But a company from California is selling a new way to greatly reduce pigeon populations without killing the birds.

Pigeons are all over Ala Moana Beach Park and throughout Waikiki. They walk the beach. They hang out on statues. They hover above and inside open-air restaurants and bars, hoping to steal some food.

"They're here because people are here and people are feeding them and they don't have any natural predators," said Inga Gibson, Hawaii state director of The Humane Society of the United States.

A representative of Innolytics, a company based in Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., is in Honolulu promoting the product that he calls ?birth control for birds.? Innolytics sells an automatic feeder that drops bait laced with OvoControl, which prevents pigeons from producing viable eggs.

"You effectively have an egg that's unfertilized," said Erick Wolf, CEO of Innolytics. "Instead of taking a birth control pill, it's mixed into a little kibble. It looks like little cat food kibbles."

Right now, if people want to exterminate pigeons in Hawaii, they need to get a wildlife control permit from the state Department of Land and Natural Resources. But the company said no such permit is needed with their method since they don't kill any birds.

"You get roughly a 50 percent decline in population in a year. So that compounds, of course. The following year you get another 50 percent, so on and so forth," Wolf said.

He said he already has a few clients in Hawaii, and the Humane Society of the United States hopes more follow.

"We are here to encourage the community, policy makers, council members, to embrace humane, effective, non-lethal technology to control some of these bird populations," said Gibson.

Wolf said pigeons must eat the product daily for it to work. It costs about $6 a day for enough kibbles to feed 100 pigeons, adding up to about $2,200 a year, which the company claimed is comparable to other more lethal methods of controlling pigeons.

Since the bait would only be used in urban locations, the company said it would not affect populations of threatened or endangered birds, since they live in more remote areas, away from Waikiki and urban Honolulu.

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