Basel enlists falcons and buzzards to tackle pesky pigeons
A number of companies in Basel have begun to use large birds of prey, such as falcons and buzzards, to tackle a growing problem with pigeons. The "rats of the sky" have caused a mess on the facades of several companies, and there are concerns about the amount of noise made by the birds.
Pigeon numbers grew during COVID-19 lockdown
The number of pigeons roosting on Basel’s buildings has increased dramatically since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many pigeons and crows were able to settle on office buildings and city roofs, largely unnoticed while people worked from home.
Now, as many return to the office for work, companies are looking to get the avian pests under control, with many employees citing noise and hygiene concerns.
Several large firms using birds of prey to cut pigeon numbers
To combat the pigeon infestation, several companies have recruited falconers to bring trained falcons and buzzards to the roofs of the city. According to SRF, Novartis and Messe Basel are among some of the Basel-based firms currently trialling this approach.
The falconers are tasked with climbing onto the roof of the buildings they are contracted to protect and then sending their birds of prey across the roof to scare off the pigeons. One of the firms using the birds told SRF that they started with 300 pigeons, but now they have numbers under control with just 20 pigeons left on the roof.