Poisoning problem pigeons in Hannibal

Story by The Hannibal Courier-Post's Danny Henley.

At the risk of ruffling the feathers of local bird lovers, the Hannibal City Council has decided that poison would be the best method to deal the city¹s growing pigeon population.

Mayor Pro Tem Kevin Knickerbocker recommended that the city work with local media outlets to alert the public when the poisoning process begins "so people are aware." Councilman Mike Dobson stressed that the action is being taken out of health concerns, noting that pigeon feces can be a carrier of potentially fatal illnesses such as E. coli.

To deal with the birds the Council chose the faster and less expensive option.

City officials interviewed representatives of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Wildlife Services about the job. The USDA acknowledged that its use of pellet guns would take longer to deal with the problem. Its cost would have been $6,750 for 20 eight-hour visits.

Hired instead will be Reliable Pest Control, which will charge $3,560 for eight weeks of initial service, plus an additional $720 for 28 days of follow-up maintenance.

Dobson recommended, and the Council approved, a six-month contract with Reliable which will start off by establishing feeding stations atop eight different buildings. On the fifth week instead of corn, a fast-acting poison - Avatrol - will be put out.

The poison is so potent that birds will literally be falling from the sky.

On Tuesday night, it was proposed that teams of city employees be used to help gather the dead and dying birds.

KHQA's Jim Whitfield will be in Hannibal Wednesday, so let us know if you have questions about dead pigeons ... we will get you answers! Post your comments below or on our Facebook page here.