Leigh Holland — Terry Discusses the Pigeon Problem

Down at the paper mill, we’ve got pigeons.
They started coming around to eat cornstarch from the silos,
and there were more every day, until it got to be a plague.
They’d roost in the breezeway where we walk in,
take birdbaths in the drip from the unloading hoses,
lay eggs under the floodlights, use them like incubators.

Added to that, they have this buddy system–they call friends
until ten pigeons is fifty, is a hundred, is a thousand.
How do you get rid of something like that?
What worked best was when the guys on 35 machine
got pellet guns and had two pigeon hit-squads–
a driver, lookout and shooter–making the rounds in golf carts.

When the mill manager called an executive meeting
to talk strategy about “the pigeon situation,”
one of the supervisors, Rodney, said something was
being done about it, meaning the hunters on 35.
I don’t know how word got out, but people heard about
a bird shooting, made calls saying it was inhumane.

Company spent a few grand on a bird-relocation specialist,
who carted them all off safely. They were back in less than a week.
Now there’s more than ever, and since we don’t want to kill them–
pellet guns aren’t an option anymore–we just get out the water
hoses and flood their perches. They fly away if they see us coming,
so we wait until night, sneak up, and hose them down from behind.