UBC Theses and Dissertations
Humane pigeon population management using avian contraceptive OvoControl® P at TransLink SkyTrain stations in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia, Canada Xenakis, Nadia
Pigeon abundance in urban environments can result in human-wildlife conflicts in the form of excrement, disease, and nuisance behaviour. Managing human-wildlife conflicts using humane, sustainable and safe methods can help mitigate conflicts and ethically address the humane treatment of animals and the environment. Traditional methods of pigeon control include netting open areas, applying spikes to prevent perching, delivering low electric shock to birds on resting surfaces, lethal control through capture and culling, and flying raptors at chosen sites. These methods rely on principles of exclusion and removal which are not effective long-term, as pigeons typically find alternative spaces to evade exclusion attempts and populations slowly increase to pre-treatment size when culled. A relatively new method of management, OvoControl® P is an avian contraceptive developed by Innolytics and is patented for pigeon control in Canada. The active compound in OvoControl® P is nicarbazin 0.5%, which disrupts the egg laying mechanisms in avian species, preventing the formation of a viable embryo. To test its efficacy as a pigeon management method for a major public transit network, eight TransLink SkyTrain stations in the Lower Mainland region of British Columbia, Canada were chosen as study sites between March 2020 and March 2021. Four control site stations dispensed cracked corn and four experimental site stations dispensed OvoControl® P. Trail cameras actively recorded video clips at each station to provide population estimates and confirm pigeons were ingesting OvoControl® P. Measures of success monitored were daily population estimates and track alarm trigger data. Results found that stations dispensing cracked corn increased pigeon populations before and after treatment, while pigeon populations at stations dispensing OvoControl® P did not change before and after treatment. Further, an unexpected result was that higher numbers of pigeons inversely correlated to track alarm triggers, perhaps due to nesting behaviour. The use of OvoControl® P within a public transportation network has shown that it can be scaled and used as a long-term, humane management approach to deal with pigeon control and testing OvoControl® P over longer time periods is recommended to see if subsequent population declines can be observed.
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