HJ-ED-DHJHerald Journal Columns
September 24, 2007, Herald Journal

Of pigeons and paparazzi . . .


Times sure are changing! Last week I read that birdseed in Hollywood is being laced with birth control in an effort to control the pigeon population.

Apparently, this is old news – an article was written about six weeks ago about the decision, but I hadn’t got wind of it until recently.

So, the argument is that the pigeon population is out of control in Hollywood, and the streets, property, and cars are being bombarded with their inevitable waste by-products.

Wait a minute, aren’t celebrities doing just about the same thing in Hollywood? The party scene is surely leaving by-products around town as well, but it’s OK because they are rich.

Some may argue that certain celebrities shouldn’t be producing offspring, but no one is shaking contraceptive powder onto their salads!

You can actually murder someone in Hollywood and get away with it if you’re rich enough, but I digress.

Pigeons, on the other hand, do not have paparazzi following them around and do not make a lot of money, thus they are subject to control measures.

Just a couple days ago I was watching one of my family’s favorite TV shows “Dirty Jobs” and the episode was about all the garbage that’s thrown into the storm sewers in Los Angeles only to run right into the ocean.

The show was following a company that vacuums out the garbage, but there’s only 26 crews to clean more than 40,000 storm sewers throughout the city.

Everything from medical needles and televisions, to dirty diapers, and just about anything in between is found in healthy amounts in the sewers.

As cameras panned out to show the streets, garbage could be seen along the sidewalks and roads.

What is wrong with people? How can they be so arrogant, brain-dead, and lazy as to not toss their trash into a proper receptacle. I don’t get it.

Back to the sneaky birdseed. The birth control substance that will be mixed into bird feed is called OvoControl P.

I was shocked to hear that supporters of the plan include the US Humane Society, and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

However, it made more sense after it was explained that past pigeon population control measures included electric shock gates, spiked rooftops, and fatal poisons.

OvoControl P. interferes with the egg’s ability to develop or hatch. The cost of the laced feed and its distribution is estimated at $60,000.

The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce is willing to fork over a whopping $1,000 towards the plan – that’s big of them.

The estimated population goal is to have half the current population by 2012.

I guess the whole situation is sad. I think it sets a precedence for some scary and bizarre wildlife management procedures in the future.

Where will it stop? I think it’s possible that any nuisance animal could be targeted for such “management,” and that’s not a good thing.

As I’ve said before, yes we are humans with opposable thumbs, but oftentimes we let the wrong people lead us into some stupid decisions.

Animals are too often victim to our dumb decisions, our “superiority” over them, and our waste/by-products.

How many oil tankers have spilled their contents into the oceans and killed or biologically altered an innumerable amount of animals?

We need to figure out how to control our own population, in a variety of ways (drug abuse, child abuse, murderers, etc.) before widely introducing control measures on animals.


As I was taking pictures, at a very safe distance, of the blasting last weekend in Howard Lake, my boys sat in the car for parts of it because the wind was a little chilly.

Taking the pictures was tricky because I had no idea when the blast might happen and had to have my camera pointed in the right direction for many minutes and be ready to snap the picture at any moment.

As I was standing with the camera attached to my face, the boys started yelling something from the car, and all I could hear was my name.

I kept yelling back. “What?” but couldn’t make out their reply so I reluctantly took my face off the camera and ran over to the car only to hear them chanting, “Mom, you’re going to miss it!” over and over.