WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — Advocates for animal rights are not too happy about how the city has been moving pigeons homing under the overpass from 5th Street to Kell Freeway; however, city officials said their methods are humane.
Director of Aviation, Traffic and Transportation John Burrus who said the way the pigeon fly to feed and return to the overpass causes flight risks and after trying multiple methods to relocate the birds this was the most logical option.
Burrus, who said they have sought advice from PETA said over the years they have tried coils, laser lights, metal shields, even spikes. He said while he completely understands residents’ concerns especially in regards to the pigeons struggling to get out the cage, the city would not be doing this if it was not absolutely necessary.
“The only reason we are doing this is for the safety of not only military aircraft but also general aviation and commercial aviation,” Burrus said. “It’s a flight safety issue not only for the pilots but also too for the people who fly commercial aircraft.”
For those wondering what happens when they are caught, Burrus said they are euthanized because the pigeons always return to nest.
Burrus said the local contractor has been checking the birds three to four times per week and they have feed and water.
Burrus said they will stop leaving cages out starting July 1.
Kristin Rickman from PETA’s Emergency Response Division told KFDX newsroom she believes the city is taking steps in the right direction and agreed officials reached out.
Rickman said they advised city officials to look into using metal slides as a permanent barrier from the pigeons in their plans.
We reached out to the Wichita Falls Wildlife Rescue Network for comment, but they did not immediately respond for comment.