Pigeon house in the 14th arrondissement, published on the site Bree R on Flickr, 6 February 2008.

Ah, Paris, the city of love, lights, cafes, and… pigeons? That’s right — the French capital estimates that there are 80,000 of them, or one for every 25 inhabitants. A bit too much cooing and pooing for public officials, who are making an effort to limit the pigeon population.

To fight the invasion, the Paris City Council has been installing contraceptive pigeon houses since 2003.

Pigeon house in the 14th arrondissement, published on the site YouTube by lechristallin May 1, 2008.

A covered alley infested with pigeons. Video published on YouTube by amelysisintheplace August 22, 2008.

“The pigeon houses allow us to attract the birds to a specific location”

Cedric Gendry works for the Department of Pigeon House Regulation and Maintenance (SREP). He manages 11 contraceptive pigeon houses in Paris.

The pigeon houses allow us to attract the birds to a specific location, by giving them food. Our job is to sterilise a portion of the eggs by shaking them. This way the female broods them for a while, but then rejects them. A pigeon lays eggs several times a year, generally in the same pigeon house. We try to protect the first round of eggs, and the rest are sterilised. I also take care of the pigeons, keeping them sanitary, cleaning up their droppings.

“They track down people who feed the pigeons”

The first contraceptive pigeon house was built in 2003 at Porte de Vanves in the 14th arrondissement of Paris. At the same time, Pascal Cousin created his website: Pigeons and People. : Pigeons and People.

Concentrations of pigeons occur when attempts to control them backfire. Pigeons gather in places where they find food: parks and gardens. But these are also places where people who fancy pigeons come to feed them. To combat this, the municipality tracks down people who feed them, so well in fact that the pigeon feeders have to come at night. They have to act quickly so they are not seen, and they leave all the food in the same spot. That’s why the pigeons always come back to the same spots.

Feeding pigeons is against the law. Photo posted by Bree R on Flickr, May 25, 2008.

Pigeon house in the 11th arrondissement, published on the site Pigeons and People.

Pigeon house in the 11th arrondissement, published on the site Pigeons and People.

Pigeon house in the 14th arrondissement, published on the site Pigeons and People.