Killer birds to save Moscow

Harris hawk
Ornithologists in Moscow are breeding deadly birds of prey to tackle the capital’s growing number of “flying rats” – pigeons and hooded crows. Both of the species are blamed for spreading dirt and disease.

‘Air fights’ are likely to become a feature of Moscow’s skyline in the future as pigeons and crows come under attack from natural predators. Hunting birds such as kestrels, northern goshawks and different kinds of owls are being bred in special farms for the purpose.

An successful trial has already been carried out in Moscow’s Vorobyovy Gory area, where specially trained hunting birds were let loose last year.

Specialists say the measure will help to get rid of the huge number of birds which spread dirt and infections.

According to experts, the problem of ‘parasite’ birds exists in nearly every metropolis in the world.

Each city finds its own way of dealing with the problem. New York authorities, for example, once introduced US$ 1000 fines for people who fed the birds.

In Venice’s St. Mark’s Square tourists are fined 50 euros for bird feeding.

City officials say they spoil the architecture, which costs hundreds of thousands of euros to clean and restore.