First round goes to the pigeons.
It's payback for the Invasive Animals CRC. Feral pigeons nesting in the roof cavity above the offices of our HQ has resulted in faecal matter and feathered fluff floating down into the air we breathe and the desks we work at. Prof Peacock has developed an allergy to suspected Aspergillus fungus carried in the pesty nesters' poo (this allergy is also known as pigeon fancier's disease, though I don't think much fancying was going on). The offices have been evacuated as the feathered ferals are dealt with by ACT Health and the university.
Feral birds such as pigeons, sparrows, starlings and Indian mynas are commonplace in our eastern cities. They carry the threat of disease to us, our livestock and our native fauna, including Salmonella (which causes gastroenteritis), Aspergillus (which can cause eye and lung allergies ) and various viruses and parasites. Human health problems arise when the birds live in close proximity to people, such as 'our' pigeons above our offices.
Some of these non-native birds are accepted by the community (you often see people feeding pigeons and sparrows in parks). Others are not so welcome: the Canberra Indian Myna Action Group is one example of dedicated community members trying to reduce the impacts of these species in our urban areas. They actively trap hundreds of mynas from month to month, allowing native parrots, finches, wrens and others to return to our backyards.
[posted by Dr Wendy Henderson, IA CRC]