The 36-year-old belongs to City Pigeon Initiative Dresden. Since 2019, the voluntary association has been committed to keeping the pigeon population under control in an animal-friendly way. “That’s why we collect up to 1,500 eggs a year in our pigeon lofts,” says Genz. When a pigeon has laid an egg, it is replaced by a plaster egg of the same weight. In summer this can be up to 50 collected eggs per week. In the end there are fewer pigeons because fewer are hatched. That is also necessary, because pigeons reproduce incredibly quickly: “A pigeon can give birth to eight young animals per year.”
Collected eggs serve as hedgehog food
But not all the eggs are collected in the three dovecotes and several bird aviaries in the Dresden city area: “Then the doves would say, ‘There are never young animals here. We can’t get here anymore,'” explains Genz. Bird eggs that are five days old are generally no longer exchanged. For example, the Igelhilfe Dresden receives the collected eggs as feed.
carrier pigeons fly hundreds of kilometers to Saxony
Fluttering and cooing can be heard while Sebastian Genz is spreading bird seed. The pigeons watch closely as Genz distributes the food. “Between 300 and 400 pigeons live and get their food in this dovecote,” says the volunteer. He estimates the number of pigeons living in Dresden to be between 3,000 and 4,000.
We have also had pigeons from Slovenia and Hungary that have flown 700 kilometers.
Sebastian Genz City Pigeon Initiative Dresden
It becomes particularly challenging for the volunteers when pigeon breeders make their selection. “Then all hell broke loose here,” explains Genz. Carrier pigeons that are sent out by their breeders but cannot find their way back sometimes come from hundreds of kilometers away to Dresden and join the city pigeons here. “Most come from Poland and the Czech Republic and fly up to 300 kilometers,” says Genz, adding: “We’ve also had pigeons from Slovenia and Hungary that have flown 700 kilometers.”