Pigeons in Barcelona Are Going On The Pill

Published December 6, 2016
Updated December 7, 2016

Barcelona will be the first large city to put pigeons on the pill.


Frederic Brown/Getty Images

As political changes sweep the globe, many women are concerned that their birth control will no longer be on the house. There’s one group, however, that doesn’t have to worry.

Spanish pigeons.

Upset by the amount of bird droppings covering their beautiful monuments and sculptures, government officials in Barcelona will begin hiding contraceptives in pigeon food next year, according to El Mundo.

This solution was put forth as an alternative to culling — a method of catching and killing the birds which animal rights groups claim is not only unethical, but has also been found to be ineffective.

This way, the number of birds will decline at a more gradual rate — reportedly decreasing by 20% in the first year, and anywhere from 70% to 80% in the following five.

Before they can begin the process of spiking 40 pigeon-food dispensers, though, the veterinary department at Barcelona Autonomous University will undertake the daunting task of counting all of the pigeons, a population estimated to be around 85,000.

This is not the first time animals have been put on the pill. The US government has used the same drug — nicarbazin — to decrease goose and pigeon populations, though not on a city-wide scale as in Barcelona.

If it is successful, the program might be emulated in cities suffering similar pigeon problems in America, sparing thousands of teenage birds that awkward talk with mom.

Next, learn about the life of New York’s most famous pigeon lady. Then read about the Dutch city that proposed mandatory contraception for “incompetent” mothers.

Annie Garau
Annie is a NYC-based writer.
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