Pigeon-Kidnapping Spree Hits New York

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Pigeons behind bars!Photo: Stan Honda/AFP/Getty Images

You may have assumed that pigeons, much like the orcs of Middle Earth, spring forth from the mud of New York fully formed, with no mothers or homes or friends, set upon the city's humans with only the goal of inflicting terror (and maybe some disease on the side). But you're wrong: for example, did you know that pigeons build nests? And even though you never see them, they have babies? This is why, even though many New Yorkers view pigeons only as pests, it is illegal to inhumanely trap them, or take them across state lines, or kill them without a license. Which is exactly what an ongoing interstate syndicate has been doing.

Somehow, somebody noticed that pigeons have been going missing in New York City. (Think about that.) According to The Wall Street Journal, the New York City Bar recently wrote a letter to Pennsylvania lawmakers complaining that "many pigeons are captured and transported, without food or water, to middlemen in Pennsylvania." The paper reports: "From there they are sold to shooting ranges for use in live trap shooting competitions where participants fire shotguns at live pigeons vaulted into the air." Pennsylvania state legislators are considering instituting a ban on shooting pigeons statewide, which is why the NYC bar wrote the letter. The going rate for a bird is $2 from trapper to wholesaler, and then $4 retail. We might just be in the wrong business.

NYC Pigeons Trapped, Kidnapped and Shot for Sport, Group Says [Metropolis/WSJ]