Watch CBS News

Nina In New York: Pigeon-Killer On The Loose On The Upper West Side

A lighthearted look at news, events, culture and everyday life in New York.

By Nina Pajak

The following is a rhetorical question: Why are people the worst? They are, you know.

Over the weekend, an Upper West Side animal hospital reported the deaths of five pigeons and a blue jay, and they suspect the cause is an illegal bird poison called Avitrol. Birds who ingest it become disoriented and experience hour-long seizures before dropping dead. Nice, huh? Avitrol is distributed as cracked corn kernels which can be scattered among regular feed in the hopes that birds will bear witness to the violent demise of their brethren and avoid the food source going forward.

They call it pest control. I have another word for it: Murder. Cold blooded.

PHOTO GALLERY: National Pigeon Association Grand Champions

I don't pretend to be a great defender of pigeons. I don't like them. They are icky and dirty and underfoot and they poop all over my air conditioner and make lots of noise in my window. Just this weekend I watched two of them pecking each other's faces off in some sort of territory battle on our neighbor's back deck. Gross.


Be that as it may, people can't just go around all willy-nilly vigilante-style distributing illegal poison on public streets committing mass birdocide. Not only is it cruel, but it's irresponsible. There are legions of dogs (and even some leash-trained cats) on the Upper West Side who have a Terminator-style digital tracking devices implanted in their brains which seek and zero in on discarded food on the ground. No one is certain where precisely the poison has been spread, but it's only a matter of time before we figure it out thanks to some vigilant, unsuspecting canine who hoovers it up before its owner even knows what happened.

Perhaps this pigeon poisoner doesn't care. Perhaps this person is an all-around animal hater and will be just as happy if his or her poisoning spree happens to kill a few squirrels, sparrows, blue jays or domesticated pets along with the intended target. Not only am I scared, but I'm furious (I frequently conflate the two emotions).

I hope they catch this dirty bird and subject the animal to a fitting form of punishment: a month spent with that dude in Central Park who walks around with pigeons all over his arms and head, perhaps. Or a year's worth of cleaning bird poop off Grant's Tomb. Also, jail time and a massive fine. My justice is swift and unforgiving.


Dear Readers: While I am rarely at a loss for words, I'm always grateful for column ideas. Please feel free to e-mail me your suggestions.

Nina Pajak is a writer and publishing professional living with her husband on the Upper West Side.

The Nina In New York Archives:

It's Not Easy Being Green, Red Or Any Other Artifically Created Color

Kim Kardashian For Mayor? No, Really

It's Not Just The Rent That's '2 Damn High'

Early Summer Wreaks Havoc On Last-Minute Diets Everywhere

Tax Time Resolutions

Meet Snackman, NYC's Newest Superhero

Mom And Pop, Don't Quit On Us Yet

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.