31 Mar, 2024 @ 11:00
1 min read

Major tourist city in Spain hires eagles and falcons to drive out pesky pigeon colonies

AUTHORITIES in Barcelona have turned to an unlikely ally in the fight against urban pigeons causing a nuisance in the city – eagles and falcons.

There are so many pigeons in Barcelona that the birds have even become a tourist attraction in some areas. Photo by Mingrui He on Unsplash

A trial project is underway in a quest to drive out colonies annoying residents next to FC Barcelona’s football ground, the Camp Nou, which is in the midst of renovations.

A group of three or four birds of prey have begun flying around an area near to the stadium between 8am and 4pm, attempting to divert pesky pigeons previously nesting in the ground which have now relocated to nearby flats whilst building works are ongoing.

Frustrated residents have demanded urgent action, with authorities trying to push the pigeons into the city’s urban parks where they will prove less of an annoyance.

The scheme follows a failed effort to control the city’s estimated 85,000 pigeons by spiking their food with a contraceptive. 

Thankfully, the latest project has a precedent – in 2017, the city’s council successfully used birds of prey to disperse large swathes of pigeons that were damaging the roof of the iconic Palau Sant Jordi concert hall. 

Likewise, most Spanish airports use trained teams of falcons to deter hazardous and costly bird strikes.

Barcelona El-Prat Airport itself has a team of around 80 falcons who patrol the runway and its surrounding areas. 

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Ben Pawlowski

Ben joined the Olive Press in January 2024 after a four-month stint teaching English in Paraguay. He loves the adrenaline rush of a breaking news story and the tireless work required to uncover an eye-opening exclusive. He is currently based in Barcelona from where he covers the city, the wider Catalunya region, and the north of Spain. Send tips to [email protected]

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