Last year Fort Lee, NJ Health Officer Steven Wielkotz turned to the chemical Avitrol to rid the area around town hall of pigeons. Avitrol "kills the pigeons by first causing them to suffer seizures and then cardiac arrest." Not exactly the best way to go, especially for Wielkotz, who actually ended up killing a slew of grackles instead. The Humane Society of the United States is now touting an alternative to curbing the pigeon population: pigeon birth control.
The EPA just reclassified OvoControl P® as general-use, making it available without a prescription. The birth control comes in the form of "an edible pellet treated with nicarbazin, a chemical that effectively reduces egg hatching rates in birds when used in combination with exclusion and other humane measures" (just look at the pigeons eating it up!). It's available through the manufacturer as well as other distributors, and is also used for Canada geese and Muscovy ducks, but with more label restrictions.
John Hadidian, director of Urban Wildlife Programs for The HSUS, says the EPA's decision will make the pigeon pill "more readily available to communities and businesses that want to control pigeon populations humanely and effectively." How well does it work? A recent study showed an 88% decline in 28 months in San Diego. So, scientists, where's the rat birth control pill?