Feral pigeons roosting on the old Alexandra bridge piers are in the New Zealand Transport Agency's sights. Photo by Sarah Marquet.
First it was sex, now it is the moonlight being blamed for
keeping Alexandra's feral pigeon population alive.
After a failed poison-laced bait attack on the estimated
400-strong population living on the Alexandra bridge in July,
the birds' keenness to concentrate on breeding instead was
About a fortnight ago, the New Zealand Transport Agency
announced it would be back for another go, this time armed
with air rifles, silencers and night vision goggles.
However, agency area manager John Jarvis said yesterday that
second offensive had also so far failed to kill any birds,
this time due to the moonlight.
It was just too light at night meaning the would-be snipers
were visible to their prey.
When the birds failed to take the bait in July, Mr Jarvis
said the agency was at a loss as to explain why as it was a
''tried and true'' method used around the world.
He thought it could have been because the birds were ''too
busy trying to breed''.
The agency then changed tactics and brought in the hired
guns, following approval from relevant authorities including
the police and SPCA.
The birds roost on the Alexandra bridge, which crosses the
Clutha River, and on the nearby historic bridge piers.
Mr Jarvis said their poo and roosting activities were
corroding the structural steel of the bridge and so a cull
was needed so agency staff could clean up the bridge and
assess it for repairs or maintenance.
He said he expected ''more favourable'' conditions in the
coming few weeks, although any bad weather could delay the
If that happened, ''it will just be deferred until things are