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June 9, 2010

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Pigeons coming home to roost

IN scenes reminiscent of Alfred Hitchcok's "The Birds," a pigeon invasion is proving a nightmare for residents on Wusheng Road near People's Square.

The uninvited visitors have been trying to set up home on several balconies, defecating on clothing and bedsheets hung out to dry and even stealing food.

The residents have tried to scare them off by shouting, pouring water on them, setting traps, and poking them with long sticks. But the pigeons keep on coming back.

"Now I have to wash my balcony every week," complained one resident, surnamed Xu, who lives on the 17th floor of the Hongtai complex on Wusheng Road.

His balcony is stained by pigeon droppings and gets very smelly in hot weather. Xu said the problem was only going to get worse with the arrival of summer.

He said he hadn't been able to get a good night's sleep for days as the pigeons' constant cries keep him awake late at night and then wake him up too early in the morning.

Xu believed the pigeons were coming from People's Square because visitors would feed them there every day.

But Bo Wei, an official with the Qi'ai Villa Business Co who is in charge of the management of the pigeons at the square, said his birds were not to blame.

The square's pigeons wouldn't invade residents' homes as they all came back to the pigeon house every night, following a routine daily schedule, he said.

"The square pigeons don't have to seek food and look for shelter at residential buildings," he added.

He believed the invaders were probably wild pigeons or carrier pigeons raised by other residents.

"The improved ecological environment around People's Square has attracted them to come, and they invaded residents' houses because they had to find a place to rest at night," he said.

Bo advised residents to hang a piece of red cloth on their balconies to scare them off. Pigeons are afraid of bright colors, he said.


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