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June 19, 2011


Pigeons Beware!

by soundlandscapes

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.

Pigeons Beware:

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.

6 Comments Post a comment
  1. Jun 21 2011

    Are you sure it goes through the PA like regular service annoucements? It would certainly frighten the passer-by like it does in a quiet square of my village where i recorded the same kind of device -there used against sterlings:

    • Jun 21 2011

      Thanks for your comment Etienne. The sounds are played through a PA system but whether it’s the main one I’m not sure.

  2. Jun 21 2011

    A really interesting use of sound – it must be the avian version of using high-pitched frequencies to deter teenagers from hanging out in some commercial areas.
    Being city dwellers it’s surprising that pigeons can recognise the call of birds of prey.

  3. Jun 22 2011

    As for the pigeons’ case i dont’ know what that sound is. But the device against sterlings i could record seems to play a sterling alarm call. If you want to test and compare bird calls, i can recommend the website


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