Big business seeks new method to tackle pigeon problem

Pigeons are harmless, but when they roost in large numbers, residents say they can be a nuisance – even a nightmare.

“Well, it’s really bad during the day,” Hoohulu Street resident Scott Miyamoto said. “I have about 50 to 60 birds lining my roof and they defecate everywhere.”

The Tanakas who live next door to the home where the birds allegedly live provided video of the pigeons to KHON2.

The bird feces and the abundance that occurs, as well as the numbers they are feeding, it’s hazardous to one’s health,” said Florence Tanaka.

Complaints from those living in the Pearl City neighborhood prompted the State to investigateat the urging of the area lawmakerState Representative Gregg Takayama.

“We investigated the complaints to make sure there’s not a health problem,” said Peter Oshiro of the Department’s Sanitation Branch. “There was activity where birds were being fed but it did not rise to the level of a public health nuisance.”

The State Health Department says just because there are feral birds like pigeons around people does not necessarily constitute a health problem.

KHON2 wanted to know how a popular place where people shop and eat controls birds in an outdoor dining area.

At the Iwilei Costo, there is a unique method to keep pigeons away. Machines placed strategically outdoors spray a sweet-smelling mist, containing a USDA approved repellant of concentrated grape juice.

The mist is sprayed every two to three minutes for about 10 seconds. That should not harm humansbut it is keeping the pigeons away who are irritated by the vapor.

 

But Costco did say that it is not effective on smaller birds like sparrows because they don’t fly through the mist enough.

A favorite place for pigeons to flock is Waikiki. The hotels and the high rise condos tackle the problem in their own way.

“So if you’re Hilton bird today, you’re a Sheraton bird tomorrow,” said Tim Lyons, the Executive Director of the Hawaii Pest Control Association. “There really needs to be a coordinated effort in order to do anything.

KHON2 asked Lyons if there anything new the members of the Association are doing to control the feral bird population. “No, the control methods are there.,” said Lyons. “It’s just a matter if people are going to do anything about it, you have to do it in a joint matter.”

The present methods include spikes on ledges to prevent pigeons from roosting, electronic shocks, and even birth control.

Costco has turned to a company called Bird Buffer to control pigeons. The company is based in Everett, Washington. The company web site says it is only for commercial use, and that it has been applied at hotels, restaurants, and even airplane hangars.

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