Texas Tech to fight pigeon population with birth control

Updated: Mar. 29, 2017 at 6:33 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Texas Tech University has a growing problem, a pigeon problem, but they have a plan to fix it.

Researchers say their goal is to reduce the population in the most humane way possible.

Students on Texas Tech campus say the pigeons have become a problem with how loud they are during the day, making it difficult to hear anything.

So now, Texas Tech officials are turning to a group of four researchers who've come up with a unique idea, putting birth control in cracked corn to feed the pigeons.

"Our preliminary results indicate that there's probably about 2,000, or more pigeons on campus," says Erin Bohlender, a Ph.D. student with Natural Resources Management.

Bohlender says though male and female pigeons will eat the corn, the birth control will only affect the females.

"It's targeting the egg white and the egg yoke," Bohlender says.

David Ray, an Associate Professor in Biological Sciences, says there are plenty of reasons to cut back the pigeon population.

"The university is spending, I've heard estimates, between 200,000 and half-a-million dollars, to manage the pigeon mess."

However, this effort isn't limited to Lubbock.

Neal Plat, a post Doctoral researcher in Biology, says it's now become a cross-country collaboration with researchers at Fordham University in New York City, who face a similar problem.

"We plan on sharing some of that data and some of those results with them to see how applicable our findings are," Plat says.

Richard Stevens, an Associate Professor with Natural Resources Management, says hopefully the results can extend beyond Tech's campus.

"If we can develop a means of managing the pigeon problems here in Lubbock, then perhaps we can assist other cities, and metropolitan areas around the state and even across the country," Stevens says.

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