Most people in Glasgow avoid the city Centre pigeons like the plague – and some probably believe they are avoiding the plague. When I saw this guy my automatic reaction was that he was going to end up pretty ill from handling ‘wild’ (do you call them wild when they’re habitat is a city centre?) pigeons – especially given this is in Glasgow, not the cleanest of cities on its best day. However, despite my reaction, and similar reactions from puzzled onlookers, I was wrong.
Seeing this guy handle the pigeons without fear of the plague, or whatever, prompted me to do some Googling on the subject of urban birds and disease. I learned two things. The first is that there is actually an organisation called PiCAS – the Pigeon Control Advisory Service – who are the experts on controlling pigeons in a non-lethal manner (yay for the pigeons!), and the second, all the talk about pigeons being ‘rats with wings’ that spread disease is nonsense, even those greasy little city centre pigeons are probably fine. And, this is backed up by vets, various experts and agencies deal with birds, Public Health England, and even the Centre for Disease control in the US.
So as it turns out there’s no need to be afraid of our numerous winged neighbours. Except for seagulls, obviously. That lot are brutal.
At any rate the pigeons on Sauchiehall Street seemed to love this guy, given that they were happy to eat right out of his hand. I think he may actually have some experience with birds, or perhaps he’s a vet, because he was also checking the birds for injury and seemed to know what he was doing. There are certainly some of the city centre pigeons that could do with some R&R, that’s for sure.