It’s difficult to say exactly why London Mayor Ken Livingstone hates pigeons with such a virulent passion. Perhaps he was bitten by a pigeon as a young child, or harassed by gangs of pigeon bullies as a schoolboy, but whatever the reason for it, his “war on pigeons” is well known in London, and his various attempts to poison and starve them out of his city have earned him the nickname of “Ken ‘The Killer’ Livingstone.” OK, whatever, I made that nickname up, but you get the point. One last little tidbit about Ken Livingstone before I get to the actual point of this post (which is robotic peregrine falcons): In 2001, when Ken the Killer was at a news conference in Washington, an animal activist made international headlines by dousing him with a pitcher of water and shouting
“Your plan to poison pigeons is all wet. Mayor Livingstone starves pigeons to death.”
You can read that story here. But despite the current anti-pigeon government in London, there’s some good news on the way for the gentle rock dove. According to Reuters, the city of Liverpool has instituted a much more humane way of dealing with its pigeon population: A flock of mechanical birds has been dispatched to frighten the pigeons away from the city center and into the parks and gardens of outlying Liverpool. The so-called “Robofalcons,” which resemble natural predators to the pigeon, have been placed on rooftops around Liverpool to scare the birds out of the city. Maybe when they’re finished with their work in Liverpool, they can go and frighten Mr. Livingstone out of London. Good luck, Robofalcons!
P.S. There’s some more information on humane pigeon control here.