The European city with the biggest pigeon population on the continent | Travel News | Travel

Sometimes known as ‘gutter birds’, ‘flying rats’ or ‘rats with wings’, pigeons aren’t the most popular birds in the world. Often regarded as pests, the birds are a common sight in cities around Europe.

But which European city has the continent’s largest pigeon population?

Although it’s a difficult metric to measure, by most estimates Venice has the largest pigeon population in Europe.

One of Italy’s leading tourist destinations, the canal city is thought to have as many as 100,000 pigeon residents.

Much like tourists, the birds love to hang out in St Mark’s Square and the central hotspot is often carpeted with pigeons.

While many tourists enjoy seeing the birds, the mess the pigeons leave behind is less popular with residents.

During peak season, a special machine is used to clear the square of pigeon poop at the end of the day.

Venice has even banned tourists from feeding the birds to try to quell their spread. Visitors who break the rule face a heavy fine if caught.

Feeding pigeons is also banned in Singapore where an offender was recently hit with a £2,854 fine.

While Venice might have Europe’s largest pigeon population, Brussels started giving the birds contraceptives after numbers exploded during the pandemic.

But pigeons weren’t always so unpopular. Pigeons were frequently used for messages in the past and the British Intelligence Service used the birds to maintain contact with resistance movements in enemy territory during World War I.

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