It is hard to imagine Plaza de Zocodover or Plaza del Ayuntamiento, the main nerve centers of the city of Toledo, without the fluttering of hundreds of pigeons among tourists and Toledo residents. These birds are part of the biodiversity of cities, but when their density increases excessively they go from being an element that offers an idyllic landscape to becoming a health problem due to their invasive capacity, as well as a risk to architectural heritage.
This overpopulation of pigeons is a common problem in many cities with historic centers, since they use old and abandoned buildings to nest. A situation that, despite not being new, has been aggravated by the lack of mobility of the population during the pandemic.
Toledo City Council is one of the consistories that is no stranger to this problem. For this reason, in April 2021 they signed an agreement for a period of two years with the company ADDA OPS for the population control of these birds. "This company is responsible for identifying the most conflictive areas, with the greatest presence of these animals, and launching their action programs: transport, assembly and capture of these pigeons through methods such as trap cages," explains the councilor of Public Environmental Works and Services, Noelia de la Cruz.
Since then and until today, 2,110 specimens have been captured by the trap cage method in neighborhoods such as the Historic District, Antequeruela, Santa Bárbara or Santa María de Benquerencia.
De la Cruz explains that, apart from the identification of the areas carried out by the company, the City Council also works with specialized attention to the notices they receive from neighbors -45 today-. “The neighbors call the City Council identifying sources with these animals and we refer these notices to the company and, depending on the situation, measures are taken,” indicates the head of Environmental Public Services.
The company is also in charge of carrying out analyzes of the captured pigeons to establish a sanitary control of this population.
He explains that the model for the installation of 'passive elements' in uninhabited buildings launched in Hombre de Palo street to prevent nesting will be transferred, in collaboration with the Consortium, to the rest of the buildings with heritage value in the Casco. «The City Council has contacted the owners of the empty buildings so that they close windows, and cover holes. We have put spikes in wiring areas and on the balcony ledges to prevent pigeons from perching and nesting there, "explains the councilor.
Falcons also help control the pigeon population. In collaboration with the Ministry of Sustainable Development of the Junta de Comunidades de Castilla-La Mancha, the Consistory provides support "in material and economic means" for the introduction of these birds of prey. To this day, there are five falcons in the cathedral, two in the Alcázar, and one native fluttering around the city.
Likewise, within this program of actions, the wormholes in abandoned buildings will be closed and efforts will be made to improve the cleanliness of public spaces.