Silver Lake - What to do with the pigeons at Sunset Triangle Plaza?
It seems that much of the day that pigeons are not much of a problem on the pedestrian plaza at Sunset and Griffith Park boulevards.
But the birds are waiting for workers when Roo Coffee shop, which faces the plaza, opens at 7 a.m., said one of the owners, Elyse Goyen.
Up to 100 pigeons crowd the plaza, especially on days when trash hasn’t been collected, she said. The numbers peak between 6 a.m. and 8 a.m. Most of the birds move along before 10 a.m., but by then, they’ve already left behind feces and feathers and parasitic insects, she said.
“My understanding is that some of the (nearby) homeless have contracted avian fleas,” Goyen said.
The pigeons have been increasing over the last few months, Goyen said. But while the problem is not in dispute, it’s not being solved either.
The issue came up before the Silver Lake Neighborhood Council Governing Board in August, along with the suggestion of humanely trapping the birds and releasing them in Simi Valley. But the trap-and-release idea lost steam in the face of the $2,000 price tag, with some council members saying it was up to the Silver Lake Improvement Association, which helps manage the plaza, to deal with the problem.
"At the moment, there doesn't seem to be much of an appetite from [Silver Lake council] members to pay for the maintenance of the plaza when it's really the SLIA's responsibility," neighborhood council member Jeremy Black said.
Scott Plante, treasurer of the association, said his group and staff in the office of 13th District Councilman Mitch O'Farrell have held multiple meetings over several months to resolve issues at the plaza.
The group installed a “Do Not feed the Pigeon” sign that '"lasted about 3 days before it was stolen," Plante said. Installing fake owls to scare off the pigeons have been discussed. Even a falconer has been consulted.
"The SLIA has committed to us that if the owls and signs are not successful they would consider the trapping option," Black said.
Plante counters that placing plastic owls on nearby rooftops would require permission of numerous property owners, and it was "doubtful" that falconry would be permitted. A county health department official who visited the area noted that the birds roost on nearby buildings pursue food when available in the plaza, Plante said.
"Pigeons are an unfortunate circumstance of urban life," Plante said in an email. "If they are fed, as they are at the Plaza, they will persist. Until people stop feeding them, and people start cleaning leftover food from tables, they will continue to be attracted to the area."
In the meantime, however, Goyen said her business recently found itself marked down by the health department for the state of the nearby plaza, a notion that Plante disputes.
“Everyone seems to be passing the buck and not taking ownership of the issue,” Goyen said.