Number of feral pigeons halved with a contraceptive treatmentA new procedure was introduced in 2017 to ethically control the city’s pigeon population by using nicarbazin as a contraceptive treatment. The number of pigeons in the areas where the system was introduced have halved since then, while checks in places where the drug is not being used show the population of feral pigeons has risen by 11%. Barcelona is the first European capital to use this type of birth control to avoid the overpopulation of pigeons.
The system consists of administering corn covered in the veterinary contraceptive drug nicarbazin via 51 automatic feeders in 47 areas in the city. First thing in the morning, the dispensers administer the necessary dose of the drug to the pigeons at the feeder, causing them to become infertile. They can become fertile again when they stop eating the corn.
When the system was introduced in March 2017, the pigeon population in the areas where the feeders were installed stood at 3,801. The last count from November 2019 put that figure at 1,814 pigeons. The five-year forecast for the evolution of the feral pigeon population is that it will be reduced by 71.5%.
The figures demonstrate the efficiency of the system as an ethical means of managing the city’s pigeon population. Controlling the birth rate has enabled the population to be halved in the areas where the treatment is being used, without the need to capture birds.