Pigeons Break Up North Bend Council

Why are animals so funny? It never fails, that after

a long agenda on such engrossing topics as water

system improvements and block grants, a discussion about

some kind of animal will bring out the best in our city


Last week in North Bend, it was pigeons, a

"flighty subject," said the mayor. There is a problem in

town with the messy birds, and the merchants have

wanted something done for several years now. There are

solutions, but they're either difficult or illegal.

City Administrator Jim Neher reported receiving

a letter from a Paramount Pest Control and told the

council the proposal "looks expensive." It would

involve cleaning and sanitizing all the birds' roosting areas

on the city's buildings, then putting out some kind of

marginally effective repellent.

"It sounds like a bunch of pigeon bull to me,"

said Councilor Danny Bennett.

Neher, who usually has a fine command of the

language, was explaining that the birds would just

move around to different places in town if their roosts

were pigeon-proofed, and added that these were

"habit-forming birds, real habitual birds." (These aren't just

weekend or part-time birds North Bend has.)

Apparently, the only sure way to get the

sidewalk-painters to leave town is to locate their feeding

ground and attack them there, with a chemical that knocks

them out for an hour, allowing them to be picked up and

taken somewhere else, such as Seattle. Bennett pointed out

that the owner of a pig farm where they were believed

to feed did not want the birds tampered with, especially

on his property.

A surefire way, Neher said, would be to employ

the old .410 shotgun or the .22 loaded with short-range

bird shot. That brought an idea to Councilwoman Susan

Vieg, of a downtown sporting event, say on a "Saturday

morning, when the skiers are buying donuts at George's."

This provoked laughter in the staid council chambers.

Administrator Neher noted that this was basically

a pest problem for the building owners, who would

have to foot the cost of pigeon-proofing at the roosts.

Councilman Fritz Ribary said, "No pun intended,

but I'd hate to let this drop," and suggested that, whether

for health or tourism reasons, the city should share some

of the cost.

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