Cityscape: Pigeons - Love 'em or Hate 'em?

by George Bodarky, Morlene Chin
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pigeons

Albert Sweigart, flickr

We're soaring into the world of the NYC pigeon.

You mostly hear New Yorkers complaining about pigeons, but there are many people whose love for the birds runs deep.

Even former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson called pigeons his first love, having grown up surrounded by them in his Brooklyn neighborhood.  Today, Tyson races pigeons.  His passion for the sport even spawned a reality show on Animal Planet called Taking on Tyson.  But as you’ll hear on this edition of Cityscape, pigeons have a polarizing influence on New Yorkers. They either love 'em or hate 'em…

Some interesting pigeon facts:
•    Although pigeons are considered by many to be dirty and disease-ridden, there’s little evidence linking pigeons directly to infections in humans. The New York City Department of Health states only contact in high exposure with pigeon droppings can pose a small health risk.
•    Despite common perception, there is no law that prohibits pigeon feeding everywhere in New York City. That said, the Parks Department posts notices in many areas prohibiting feeding. So it’s OK to feed the pigeons as long as there are no signs saying you can’t.
•    Paul Julius Reuter founded the Reuters news agency, which got its start using pigeons bearing news and stock prices between Berlin and Paris. Carrier pigeons were much faster than the post train.

 

This episode includes a segment contributed by radio producer Zach Hirsch.

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