These are really just row upon row of 6 inch nails placed on the ledges and pipes above laneways and concourses. Often seen downtown.

They give a pigeon a poke in the ass if they attempt to rest there. The spikes are intended to prevent the pigeons from shitting all over the pedestrians and motorists.

Do we really have a right to be there, to the exclusion of these poor creatures?
yes, we have the brain and tech to get those spikes up there.

There is also a more "humane" form of getting rid of these and other birds is something called Sticky toes. It's a liquid you spread on the area to be kept free of these animals. It does no harm to them whatever, they just don't like the feel of stickytoes, so they choose to land elsewhere.

see: Conditioning

Putting six-inch nails on rooftops is bad enough, but some pest control companies are advising business associations to use Avitrol for pigeon control. They claim that it's only a disorienting agent, not a poison, but there is documentation of swarms of pigeons going into convulsions after ingesting it and of Avitrol killing pigeons by first inducing seizures and then cardiac arrest. There does not appear to be much being done to prevent its use.

Also recommended are changing the angle of sills, installing mesh guards and nylon netting to prevent birds from landing, or removing their nests in the hope of relocating them. But surviving pigeons often fall victim to other wildlife such as hawks.

Not so long ago, people would look up at the sky and laugh over birds shitting on their heads. I think we should go back to that.

I once visited a little and very old church in Strasbourg, France, which had the usual stone statuary on the front, especially around the door. They had pointy pigeon-control things on the heads of all the statues; the two on Jesus' head (or maybe it was the BVM? It's been a couple of years) looked like antennae! It was fantastic! (Yep, it was Jesus -- I took a picture!)

I don't know about pigeons, but out here in the sticks to keep swallows out of the barn we kill one and hang it from the ceiling. You won't see another swallow until something eats that one from the rafters.

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