Like a growing spider web, long thin wires surround many of Goulburn’s public buildings to ward off pigeons. At Goulburn Station, his three strands of wire run the length of one of his and under the porch of the platform building, and at the Post Office and Goulburn Performing Arts Centre, similar wires run the birds to another. I’m letting the place roost.
But the problem is not resolved. The sidewalks of Auburn Street continue to pile up with unsightly poop. Birds continue to drop dirty calling cards from and inside awnings, air conditioning units, lighting, and signs.
The Departments of Defense and Councils in Sydney and Wollondilly, as well as Goulburn’s Cathedral of the Savior, have contracted professional bird control companies to keep the pigeon threat under control. About 25 years ago, the then Goulburn City Council contracted the same company, Australian Pest Bird Management, to run a successful eradication program.
Company director Jim Woods recalled tracking hundreds of pigeons on Auburn Street before setting a large trap in the shade.
“We trapped the bird, put it in a carrying case and euthanized it,” he said. “He has a very large trap that can hold 20 to 35 birds, unlike many pest control traps that can hold up to about 12 birds.”
But large-scale trapping needs to be done annually to be effective, he said.
“We’ve had meetings with the council since then, but it doesn’t seem to go anywhere,” Woods said.
Woods, who has been in the avian control industry for 40 years, said feeding also helped. He said pigeons are wild animals and the bait (which requires a license and permit) is specifically designed to kill pigeons.
Pamela Shaw, an Auburn Street (Shaw’s Antiques) businessman and warden of St. Savior’s Cathedral, remembers being one of many business owners who signed up to attend. She recalled that the pigeon threat was most prominent on Montague and Auburn streets.
Mrs. Shaw, who is now the treasurer of St. Savior’s Cathedral, said the parish is working with the Australian Pest Bird Management Company to manage the cathedral’s pigeons. It’s a threat because it blocks gutters, and it also carries salmonella and lice,” she said.
Tony Batten of Southern Tablelands Pest Control receives calls at least twice a week from businesses and residents wanting to get rid of pigeons in Goulburn, but he turns them down.
“If you fix the problem in one area, they’ll be back on the next shelf. You can’t stop them if you keep going, and the building owners want to know why you haven’t fixed the problem.” He said.
He said pigeons roost on all kinds of ledges on Main Street. “The problem is they breed and reproduce. They’re like winged rats,” he said.
He has been pest controling in Goulburn for 30 years and says the post office and fine line structure at the performing arts center is a stopgap solution.
He believes the Goulburn Marwarry Council should have a regular catch program to keep numbers down. said Batten.
The Goulburn Marwarry Council adopted a policy on pigeons, common myna and pest birds in 2019, but due to the lack of contributions from the building owners, little of the recommendations were implemented.
The policy calls for a cooperative approach to netting, bird spikes, nest destruction, traps, pigeon feeding warning signs and working with professional shooters.
A submission to the policy said it needed leadership from the council for it to work. One filing said the council was washing its hands on the issue.
The Goulburn Field Naturalists Association agreed and called for a professional lethality management program. Leaving it up to property owners wasn’t enough. “For any degree of success, it is imperative that the Council coordinate and coordinate the agreed actions,” the filing said.
A field naturalist recommended engaging Australian pest management to address this issue.
A council spokeswoman said the revised pigeon, common myna and pest bird policy is on public display and is on the council’s website.