Portugal: Coimbra council using falcons to scare off pigeons, seagulls in city

The Council of Coimbra announced Monday that it has extended falconry services provided at the D. Pedro Municipal Market to three other areas of the city to combat the proliferation of birds such as pigeons and gulls.

The pilot actions being developed in the D. Pedro V Market have had “a very favourable reception from traders and users”, so the council has decided to extend it to three other areas of the city: to the 8 de Maio Square and the Largo da Portagem, also in the downtown area, and the São Francisco Convent, on the left bank of the Mondego River.

The method consists of “releasing birds of prey, in this case falcons, which keep other birds away, such as pigeons and seagulls, and which are trained not to attack”, explains the council.

“One of the problems facing urban centres today is the proliferation of some species, such as pigeons, which pose risks to the hygiene and cleanliness of public places and damage to buildings”.

For this reason the City Hall has contracted “a falconry service, which has been widely used near airports, hotel chains, esplanades and public spaces of tourist interest to help mitigate these situations”.

However, “the success of the initiative” developed, since December 2019, at the Pedro V Market, on Fridays and Saturdays, for a period of four hours a day, for six months, led the company responsible for the falconry service (TFalcon Madeira) to propose “the establishment of pilot trials, at no extra cost”, at Praça 8 de Maio, Largo da Portagem and Convento São Francisco.

The falcons, besides being seen on Fridays and Saturdays, at the Pedro V Market, can also be seen, at least until the end of March, at the 8 de Maio Square, on Tuesdays, at the Largo da Portagem, on Wednesdays, and at the São Francisco Convent on Thursdays.