Someone Is Gluing Tiny Cowboy Hats On Pigeons in Las Vegas

Exactly how the hats will affect the birds isn’t entirely clear.

Exactly how the hats will affect the birds isn’t entirely clear. Shutterstock

 

Connecting state and local government leaders

Cute as it may be, a pigeon advocacy group is asking them to stop.

Pigeons around Las Vegas are getting a fashion upgrade, thanks to an anonymous person or persons who have taken it upon themselves to don the birds with tiny red cowboy hats.

The birds first showed up a week ago, when people on Twitter reported sightings of at least two birds with the hats. 

Mariah Hillman, the cofounder of Lofty Hopes, which labels itself “a pigeon positive movement” said that people have been calling her organization now whenever they spot them. Hillman, along with her daughter, have been driving around the part of the city where people have trapped the birds with the hopes of removing the hats. So far, they haven’t been able to take one off. 

“They all seem to be in the same area,” Hillman said, referencing a report they recently received of two birds spotted by the Westgate Casino in central Las Vegas. “So someone probably did it to a flock.”

Hillman said that the hats were likely glued on since they haven’t yet fallen off. That means removing them will be tricky. “Pigeons naturally molt their feathers, and we can wait for them to fall off, or we could use oil, but then you have to wash them off,” she said. “Either way, they’ll need rehab and will stay with us until they can be safely released.”

Exactly how the hats will affect the birds isn’t entirely clear. “There’s no research on this,” Hillman joked, but she surmised that the hats could get in the way of flight, attract predators because of their flashy colors, or force the pigeon out of the flock, as the birds are social animals that pick on the weakest links (and likely don’t have much fashion sense).

Mike Gardner, who runs Pigeons Be Gone, a humane pest removal service in Las Vegas, said that touching pigeons isn’t safe. “Not all pigeons, but some pigeons, have been known to carry 60 different diseases,” he said. “It’s not safe for the people putting the hats on or for the people taking them off.”

Hillman said that they received one report of a dead pigeon wearing a hat, which Gardner said is dangerous because “a kid could pick it up and it could have fleas, ticks, or a disease like  histoplasmosis.”

Jace Radke, a spokesperson for the City of Las Vegas, said that the city’s animal control department hasn’t been involved in the pigeon chapeau response, as it doesn’t handle complaints about pigeons. The city encourages residents to call private pest control companies like the one run by Gardner. 

David Thain, Nevada’s interim state veterinarian, said that cases of pigeons infecting humans with illnesses are rare. “Pigeons can carry a number of zoonotic diseases—those are ones that can be passed from animal to man and man to animal,” he explained. “But as long as you avoid fecal contamination, you’re probably fairly safe being around them.”

A representative from the Southern Nevada Health District said that while it’s not recommended for people to touch pigeons, the health department is more concerned with diseases that grow out of the fecal buildup that pigeons leave behind. 

Pigeons produce around 25 pounds of feces each year, and they nest in it to insulate their eggs from extreme heat and cold. In 2018, Las Vegas passed a law to ban feeding pigeons, which now comes with a hefty $1,000 fine and up to six months in jail. Former city councilmember Lois Tarkanian said that she proposed the ordinance for health reasons. “Their droppings contain germs which carry diseases and can be very toxic. We are doing this for health purposes,” she said. 

But while feeding pigeons may be illegal, the practice of adorning birds with tiny cowboy hats doesn’t seem to be. The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department told the New York Times that it “does not appear to be a police matter at this time.”

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.