Factors influencing the abundance and distribution of feral pigeons (Columba livia) in urban environments in Malta
Cassandra Borg Muscat, Fiona Sammut, Patrick J. Schembri
Cassandra Borg Muscat (email@example.com)
Columba livia, Feral pigeons, Distance sampling, Generalized linear models, Urban environmental variables, Density, Synanthropic species
Issue: Xjenza Online Vol. 10 Iss. 2
This study aimed at identifying factors that influence the abundance and distribution of feral pigeons (Columba livia) in urban environments in Malta, making it the first study of its kind locally. Feral pigeons were censused using transect surveys in different types of urban environments, which were categorised as in proximity of an agricultural area, main road, park, side street and suburb. The cluster density and the cluster abundance were then estimated using distance sampling analysis. The number of pigeons in clusters was two or three. The cluster density of feral pigeons was estimated to be 6.51x10-5±1.57x10-5 (1.44x10-5 Km-2) in a total area of 4.52km2, with the highest estimate corresponding to the 'Park' , followed by the 'Mainroad', 'Agricultural area', 'Sidestreet' and 'Suburb' , in this order. The cluster abundance in the same area was estimated to be 293.89±70.87, with the highest estimate corresponding to the 'Mainroad' , followed by 'Park', 'Sidestreet', 'Agricultural area' and 'Suburb' in this order. Negative binomial regression was used to study the possible influence of environmental factors on feral pigeon abundance. The results of statistical analysis showed that the abundance of feral pigeons is mostly affected by architecture: abundance was low where there was a preponderance of modern buildings. This study may contribute to a tailor-made and economical scientific management plan for controlling feral pigeons in urban settings.