"Venice's Pigeons Almost Totally Gone"??

(A sixties' ad that was done with pigeons by spreading corn just right in Saint Mark's Square)

"After several months of battling thousands of pigeons hovering over Piazza San Marco, Venice has declared victory. From 20,000 the canal city's pigeon population has dwindled to less than 1,000."

That's what the "All Headline News" site reported on Thursday. Can it even possibly be true??


Turns out the AHN did what a lot of tourists do all the time, and that's confuse Saint Mark's Square with Venice itself.

As any longtime fan of Venice and/or this blog can tell you, San Marco's pigeons aren't quaint; they're gross. And their numbers in the square had swelled to 20,0000 because of the corn vendors there, making that pigeon population a veritable petri dish for salmonella and respiratory disease. So, the fact that EACH pigeon produces an estimated 26 pounds of guano annually (MORE THAN A QUARTER OF A TON COLLECTIVELY?!) which was burying and eating away at the peerless historical monuments there, was really only a (powerful) side concern.

(The video doesn't seem quite so delightful NOW, does it? Yuk!)

Hence, the Venetian city government's decision this past year to ban selling corn in the square and thankfully for once they had the stones to stick to it!

As a result, the population of pigeons IN PIAZZA SAN MARCO ALONE is now estimated to be 1000 instead of 20,000. (Although, as one reader on Venessia.com put it, "would you be happy if somebody said that now there are only 1000 rats in the piazza?")

But, let me tell you, it's not that 19,000 pigeons have starved to death since May. They clearly just went elsewhere. Which means that the city as a whole may still be laboring under what was the highest pigeon-population density in the world: more than 3 per resident (or nearly 200,000) in LITTLE MORE THAN THREE SQUARE MILES!

So, don't lament the untimely passing of those poor darling Venetian flying rats just yet. But, for God's sake and Venice's, please don't feed them either!

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