Thousands of people have signed a petition hoping to stop a Paris mayor from deploying falcons to scare of pigeons from the French capital's 10th arrondissement, home to busy mainline train stations Gare du Nord and Gare de l'Est. The petition, said to have been initiated by the 'Pigeon Embassy', has garnered almost 20,000 online signatures in a bid to protect the birds some see as urban pests.
Remi Féraud, mayor the arrondissement, was reported to be planning to bring in five birds of prey, three falcons and two hawks, over 10 days in October as part of council efforts to deal with hordes of the birds.
Speaking to thelocal.fr, a city council spokesperson said that traditional methods had been tried but now they were trialling "something more radical".
"The intervention of a falconer will not solve anything in terms of managing the numbers of pigeons," the petition states, arguing that the birds would be "frightened for a time" and simply stay in neighbouring districts until the hunting birds left.
The petition also says the scheme, expected to cost €12,800 would be expensive for taxpayers, thelocal.fr reported. The intervention of birds of prey in the area would also cause undue stress to other small bird species in the area, according to the petition, particularly sparrows.
The movement against the pigeon cull has other opposition too, with the Ligue pour la Protection des Oiseaux (League for the Protections of Birds) voicing their support and urging people to sign the petition.
Using trained birds of prey as a deterrent for pigeons and other small birds is used most famously in the UK during the annual Wimbledon tennis tournament. Each summer, 'Rufus the Hawk' patrols the skies over the courts to keep them clear as the sport's top players compete.