Baby pigeons, anyway.
A group of city animal advocates is criticizing the Department of Transportation for carelessly snaring birds in a Sheepshead Bay construction site, preventing them from foraging for food or roosting with their mates.
“No matter what you think of pigeons, trapping them inside to slowly starve to death is cruel,” said a Gerritsen Beach resident who tipped us off to the issue.
On Tuesday morning, Jennifer Dudley arrived at Nostrand Avenue and Shore Parkway from her Manhattan home to scope out the situation for New York City Pigeon Rescuce Central, an animal-rights organization she volunteers with. At least half a dozen birds were trapped behind wooden planks put in place by the DOT to prevent debris from falling from the Belt Parkway bridge’s decaying seams.
According to Dudley, the birds had been stuck there at least since Friday, when a distraught resident alerted the organization to the situation. The resident told her that baby birds could be heard squeaking, but that ceased over the weekend as they likely starved to death.
Since then, Dudley and five others took up the cause to get wire meshing around the planking cut open so the pigeons could go free. But they’ve been met with apathy.
Dudley spent several hours on her cell phone making calls to the ASPCA, the DEC, the New York Animal Care & Control, the NYPD, and the FDNY, but found little help. Of them, only the ASPCA has a history of helping pigeons, but they require photos and specific reports. Dudley had a difficult time snapping clear photos in the dark underpass of the Belt Parkway.
Pigeons caught behind meshing is a pretty common occurrence, Dudley said. But while many may think of pigeons as pests, their separation from their mates and eventual starvation is a cruel punishment.
“This kind of thing happens a lot and nobody notices,” she said. “It’s not like there’s a huge community of pigeon advocates that can rally together” to pressure those with the equipment and authority to save them.