Building owners and bird rescuers debate on using nets to catch birds on Upper East Side building

Birds nesting in the scaffolding of one Upper East Side building has created unsanitary conditions for residents, according to building management.  But animal lovers say their solution – a series of nets around the scaffolding – is creating a death trap for the birds. 

Ashley Mastronardi

Feb 22, 2024, 12:37 AM

Updated 51 days ago

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Birds nesting in the scaffolding of one Upper East Side building has created unsanitary conditions for residents, according to building management.  But animal lovers say their solution – a series of nets around the scaffolding – is creating a death trap for the birds. 
“I think it’s nasty, it’s definitely not something you want to see when you are walking in the street, especially if you have children,” Emonie Jackson told News 12. 
 That was the general feeling from people passing the second avenue side of Normandie Court – it’s an almost 1,500-unit residential building that spans an entire avenue.  On one afternoon, a flock of pigeons and their droppings held court in the courtyard. 
“I would not like that, so I guess I understand their perspective of putting up the netting,” neighbor Ryan Wallis said. 
 The pigeons were on the ground when News 12 New York was there, but recently they’ve been roosting up above on the scaffolding. The building says it put up netting in January after the Department of Health dinged them for unsanitary conditions.  But local animal rescue specialist, Sonia Izak, says the netting is deadly for birds. 
 “We’ve been coming by here and finding birds that were trapped in the netting, some unfortunately were wrapped in the netting and deceased.  Some were little nestlings that had fallen out from the rafters and were at risk of strangulation because they did not have the body strength to get them out of the netting,” Izak told News 12. 
 The building recently sent out a letter to residents addressing the issue.   
In part it said, “upon learning of the bird entrapment issue, we immediately acted, directing our retained bird control professionals to promptly return to the building to inspect and repair all of the netting...they successfully retrieved and released approximately 14 pigeons.” 
 Normandie Court told News 12 the pigeon problem has been exacerbated by well-intentioned people leaving bird seed and also by people cutting holes in the nets, encouraging more birds to enter.  Of the pigeons that Izak and her crew rescued, two of them – Mert and Marcus – are being nursed back to health across town at Wild Bird Fund. 
 “When one puts up netting, you have to plan.  You have to think about the animals that you’re in fact trying to keep out.  Don’t imprison them for an inhumane death,” Wild Bird Fund director Rita McMahon told News 12. 
 According to the building, that shouldn’t be a problem moving forward. It said the pigeons seem to be getting the message and are no longer nesting on the scaffolding – which is consistent with what News 12 observed at the building.   
 


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