The Nossa Senhora da Consolação church, in downtown Sao Paolo, Brazil, used to have a serious pigeon problem. The pesky birds would fly through the place during sermons, poop on the benches and leave feathers everywhere, but ever since they had these colored circle panels installed in the windows and doorways, no pigeon gets close anymore.
Regular parishioners at Nossa Senhora da Consolação describe the pigeon situation as a “real hell”. Dozens of birds had made the place of worship their home, flying in and out whenever they pleased, making a lot noise during mass and dropping stones and bits of plaster on people. Every morning, the floor and wooden benches had to be cleaned of bird droppings, and at one point it all became too much to bear. The church wanted to find a humane way of driving the pigeons away, but they never imagined hypnosis would be the answer.
Photo: BBC Brazil
I’m not even sure “hypnosis” is the right word to describe the solution provided by Protec, the company that finally made the Brazilian church a pigeon-free area, about a month ago. What they did was install a series of plastic panels with colored bullseyes painted on them, in every doorway and window of the church. The concentric design apparently makes pigeons dizzy and nauseous, causing them to turn away. Over time, they just learn to avoid the place completely. Believe it or not, the colored panels did the trick.
“The pigeons were breeding and making a lot of noise during mass, but the technique was 100% successful and no pigeons ever enter the church now,” Father José Roberto Pereira told BBC Brazil.
Protec claims that the solution was developed by one of their researchers, based on a similar system imported from abroad. They did a lot of testing, adapting the solution to conditions in Brazil, and it ultimately proved very effective. the company’s equipment supervisor explained that whenever pigeons fly toward the panels, the concentric design scrambles their vision and they turn away.
However, ornithologists consulted by the BBC said that it would be a miracle if a colored design printed on a simple plastic panel would be enough to keep pigeons away.
Photo: BBC Brazil
“In order to create a feeling of nausea, one would need some mechanism that affects the labyrinth inside the ear of the bird. A rotating image could cause this feeling of nausea, but not a static image,” said Thiago Dantas, professor of ornithopathology at the Anhanguera University, in Niterói.
Protec swears by their simple solution, adding that some of the birds attempt to return once or twice, but the dizziness and nausea are so unpleasant that they eventually give up. Father Pereira, who had been dealing with pigeon trouble ever since he came to the parish, seven years ago, also claims that the birds have not returned ever since the panels were installed.
Believe it or not, this is not the strangest way of keeping birds at bay. Last month, we wrote about a Japanese professor who installed “Crows Do Not Enter” signs on a building to keep the birds away. That solution also proved incredibly successful.