NYC Parks to Pigeon Abducters: Don’t Steal Our Animals! — “Pigeons are Core to Character of NYC”

Updated 3:29 p.m.

NYC Parks Department Speaks Out on Abducting; PA pigeon shoot occurring this weekend; Is a Brooklyn pet supply store involved in netting & selling of NYC street pigeons?

The Washington Square Park pigeons
The Washington Square Park pigeons

The New York City Parks Department is not taking kindly to the netting and abduction of nearly 300 pigeons at Washington Square Park last week as reported here Monday. The well-loved park wildlife are believed to have been hauled off to Pennsylvania, possibly via Brooklyn, to be used as targets in cruel live pigeon shoots – which may be set to occur this weekend, WSP Blog has learned.

A statement from the Parks Department on the abductions reminds people that this is “illegal” and notes that pigeons are “core to the character of the city.”

Statement from NYC Parks Spokesperson:

Don’t steal our animals! Pigeons are core to the character of New York City, and it is illegal and dangerous to remove animals from NYC Parks.

Three day Pennsylvania Pigeon Shoot Coming Up This Weekend

Yesterday, the organization SHARK (Showing Animals Respect and Kindness) which “fights pigeon shoots in PA” alerted us to the fact that there will be “a three-day long pigeon shoot being held this coming weekend (7/31-8/2) at the notorious Wing Pointe hunting club in Berks County, PA.” A SHARK representative said this shoot is being organized by Donald Bailey, “a notorious pigeon broker.” Of course, it is possible the WSP pigeons were not gathered for this shoot (one or more could have occurred already) but it is possible that they were.

Is a Bushwick store (still) involved in the selling of illegally netted NYC street (and park) pigeons?

In 2008, a New York Post article outed a Brooklyn pet and pigeon supply store as a source for Donald Bailey’s wild pigeons for the shoots. The Humane Society was the source linking Brooklyn Pigeon and Pet Supply in Bushwick to Bailey as a supplier of pigeons for the shoots stating they were “illegally netted by poachers from New York City parks and sidewalks.A lawyer for the store confirmed the connection but did not know where the birds came from.

Yesterday, a commenter Khamara wrote in response to the article here outlining the pigeon abduction:

Have you checked broadway pigeon and pet supply? I went there once to get seed and they had a few lofts and the back one they told me was all wild pigeons and on my way out they brought in stacked crates of newly caught ones. I’m not sure if they have license to trap, I’m disgusted with them now regardless.

Is this store connected to the Brooklyn location that has been mentioned as a way station between the netting/abducting in NYC and Pennsylvania? Is this store this many years later still involved in the netting and selling of the city’s wildlife?

In the last seven years since this Post article, 11 years since the New York Times reported on this, license plate numbers must have been written down, pictures taken, how are these ongoing bird nappings still taking place? There are people who are not fans of the pigeons but they have a lot of supporters – and they have played a remarkable role throughout history.

The bottom line is that NYC wildlife should not be illegally abducted and taken to another state while cruelly treated and then killed or injured only to die a slow death. NYC ought to step in with its own legislation.

Pennsylvania is the only state that allows live pigeon shoots to take place; attempts have been made to stop this practice for years. Last year, legislation was close to passing but defeated at the last minute (with a big push by the NRA at the last minute to ensure the bill not pass).

Meanwhile at Washington Square Park…

In good news, one of William MacLeod’s pigeons that he raised, one of the five thought to be abducted and missing, Pinot, returned to the park yesterday. He must have made a narrow escape!

MacLeod thinks that the pigeon flocks on both the east and west side of the 9.75 acre park were hit, comprising close to 300 missing pigeons. There are about 30 to 40 of the original pigeons remaining. If you witnessed anything, please contact the NYPD Animal Cruelty Division, 311 and/or this blog. If you witness a netting happening, call 911, take pictures (get license plate), make noise.

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More photos of the Washington Square Park pigeons:

Two boys last year with the pigeons and their friends. The one boy was not sure what to think and then he was converted to a friend of the pigeons:
boys with pigeons washington square park
Photos: Cathryn
(Hat tip to Stacy Walsh Rosenstock for the NY Post link!)

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6 thoughts on “NYC Parks to Pigeon Abducters: Don’t Steal Our Animals! — “Pigeons are Core to Character of NYC””

  1. I just saw one of these “Pigeon shoots” on Youtube which, apparently, is sponsored by the NRA. Even if people don’t care about pigeons, we should care about the way children and teens are involved in such a cruel activity that has absolutely no regard for animal life. We can only wonder what kind of adults these young people will become.

    • So true, Stacy. I am somewhat afraid to watch but it is important to know.

      I totally agree with your comment. Really well stated.

      Thanks —


  2. Hi Cathryn, Thank you so much for all that you do, and posting this.. and bringing more light to this horrible practice. Thank you!

  3. These pigeon nappers are heros. I’m sick of benches covered with feces you can’t use. The fecal dust when they fly around is disgusting. They are filthy vermin – the fecal load in the park is too great for so many birds and people. Its not like they are an endangered species. The only thing worse than the pigeons are the unending “musicians”.


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