RECENTLY, I RECEIVED a mail from Adam, who writes the fascinating Invisible Paris blog. This is what he said:
“Each time I’m at the Gare d’Austerlitz I think about your blog, and keep meaning to tell you about the sound recording opportunity that is there.
As with most similar large spaces, I imagine that they have big problems with pigeons, and the solution that they seem to have found is to play a recording of some kind of bird of prey. You just need to stand in the main station concourse and you’ll hear the sound very regularly, and very clearly too!”
For some reason, the Gare d’Austerlitz is the only one of the main stations in Paris that I haven’t visited since I’ve been here so I went to check it out.
And Adam’s right, there are pigeons in the Gare d’Austerlitz and they do play the sounds of predatory birds over the public address system in the station.
Undoubtedly, this is a novel and humane way of scaring the pigeons, although I’m not sure how effective it is. The fact that they have to play these sounds repeatedly at regular intervals seems to suggest that the pigeons have got wise to it. Nevertheless, I applauded the station authorities for a good effort.