Credit: VB/BD

Brno’s First Dovecote Opens On Roof of City’s Planning Department Building

Yesterday a dovecote was opened on the roof of the City of Brno’s Department of Urban Planning and Development on Kounicova.

The facility is the first of its kind in Brno, and was approved by the City of Brno to reduce the risks and problems associated with pigeons living in urban areas, such as the spread of diseases.

The proposal came from the Urban Pigeons (‘Městské holubníky’) association, whose goal is to promote the creation of a network of dovecotes all around the Czech Republic, and improve the relevant legal framework, recognising and defending pigeon lives.

Michaela Klimšová, founder of the association, welcomed the success of the initiative in Brno: “I started the Urban Pigeon Lofts project in order to change the approach to pigeons in the Czech Republic and to help cities and citizens with their humane regulation. I gradually approached all the larger cities in the Czech Republic, and in Brno I found great energy and interest,” she stated. “We have been cooperating with Brno since last year, and we are also cooperating with Plzeň, where this year they will build their first dovecote, and with Jevíček, Mlada Boleslav, Praha 6, Jihlava, and now also with Moravská Třebová.”

32 pairs of pigeons will find a home in the new dovecote, where they will have water and quality food (supplemented with probiotics if necessary). Thanks to this, they will spend most of the day there, reducing the pollution of streets and buildings. 

“Our main nurse and pigeon expert, Karolína Richterová, who also holds a trapping certificate, is in charge of the pigeon loft at Kounicová,” said Klimšová. “In the initial phase, during the acclimatisation of the pigeons, she will visit the loft once or twice a week, including checks on the pigeons’ behaviour, care for new pairs, cleaning and feeding.” 

Richterová explained that pigeons are intelligent and long-lived birds, but they often suffer when living in cities due to overpopulation and hunger, and their life expectancy drops to 1-3 years.

The pigeons will also be wormed in the spring to keep them in good health. If they lay eggs in the dovecote, half will be exchanged for dummies within five days to contain their reproduction. Care of the pigeons, including the removal of droppings, will be carried out by a volunteer from Urban Pigeons.

“In Brno, we have been facing problems with pigeons for a long time, so we considered several methods,” explained Filip Chvátal, deputy mayor for the environment. “Several buildings are equipped with protective elements such as spikes or nets, while in some parts of the city, we use the services of a falconer to scare the birds away from the city. When the Urban Pigeons initiative approached us, we thought that their idea sounded meaningful and worth trying. We were also convinced by the experience of the gymnasium in Bílovec in northern Moravia, where there is already a dovecote in operation.” 

Mendel University, which is currently monitoring the pigeon population in Brno, is also cooperating with the city. on it. After the process is completed, the university will share the results, which will form a basis for future plans to keep the number of pigeons in the city at a tolerable level. At the same time, says Chvátal, work is already underway to install a second dovecote on the roof of the Bohunice prison, with a capacity of up to 150 birds.

The former brick shelter on the roof of the Kounicova building, used previously for the expansion tank, was deemed suitable for the dovecote, so it was not necessary to build a complex new structure. 

The Secondary School of Construction Crafts in Brno-Bosonohy helped with further implementation, as the students made the dovecote as part of their classes in bricklaying and carpentry. The wood was provided by the municipal company Lesy města Brno. The total cost of the project amounted to about CZK 140,000.

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