Store in quandary over pigeons

By Judith Scherr Daily Planet staff
Saturday June 09, 2001

When they see us coming, the birdies try an’ hide, 

But they still go for peanuts when coated with cyanide. 

The sun’s shining bright, 

Everything seems all right, 

When we’re poisoning pigeons in the park. 

— Tom Lehrer 



Poisoning them would not be PC. Not at all. 

But Bonnie Hughes and her crew over at the Berkeley Arts Festival storefront – the old Lee Frank Jewelry Store at Shattuck Avenue and Allston Way – would dearly love to find a solution for the pigeons, which seem to appear almost magically. Almost daily.  

“Poisoning them is out,” Arts Fest Director Hughes said. 

Assistant Festival Director Earl Bradbury thinks the birds come into the store through one or more of the nooks and crannies in the ceiling that leads to the space above, which is the Shattuck Hotel.  

Actually, the regular ceiling has been removed to permit installation of sprinklers.  

(The Arts Festival moves into unused storefronts for a month or so each year.) 

Someone from animal control came by with nets, Bradbury said, “but they couldn’t do anything.” 

The animal control officer advised that the winged creatures be enticed out of the store with bits of food. That’s good as far as it goes, Bradbury said, but new birds soon appear. 

“We spend an inordinate amount of our time cajoling pigeons. It is nerve wracking and frustrating and they are messy,” Hughes said in a note to the Daily Planet, further pointing out that the birds tend to perch directly above valuable paintings and a grand piano. 

Hughes is making an appeal to the public: “Despair threatens to darken our Festive Spirit and we need help,” she said.  

“If you know how to get rid of pigeons and stop them from sneaking in, please phone, e-mail or drop into our gallery headquarters.” 

You can reach Hughes and Bradbury at 486-0411, or by e-mail at fabarts@silcon.com or drop by the store at 2200 Shattuck Ave.