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1 June 2012 Local and Landscape-Level Factors Affecting the Density and Distribution of the Feral Pigeon Columba livia var. domestica in an Urban Environment
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Urbanization is the most dynamic phenomenon worldwide and many species colonize urban environment. Some of these species became so abundant in towns and cities that they are regarded pests, are human health hazard, causes damage to buildings and affect other urban species. Therefore, it is important to understand how such successful colonizers utilize urban environment and which factors affects their population densities. One of such species is the most common urban pest bird in the world, the Feral Pigeon Columba livia var. domestica. The aim of this study was to investigate how local food resources and the composition of the urban landscape affects densities of Feral Pigeon in the city of Poznań (Western Poland). Three counts were made in summer 2010 in 60 0.5 km × 0.5 km plots (25 ha) distributed randomly across residential areas in the city. The density of pigeons showed significant spatial autocorrelation, both positive and negative one. The density of pigeons was highest in plots with more tall buildings (over four floors), a large number of human-related food resources, schools, and a high proportion of green space. The density of pigeons was lower in plots with a higher density of streets and located further from the city centre. The solution to the pigeon problem appears to be to plan residential areas with low-rise buildings. To control the number of pigeons in urban areas, we suggest preventing access to local food resources by using litter-bins that are inaccessible to animals. The public should also be educated to behave appropriately towards pigeons and refrain from feeding them intentionally.

Received: 1 April 2012; Accepted: 1 June 2012; Published: 1 June 2012

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