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It is unusual but encouraging to find someone speaking out on behalf of the much-maligned city pigeon (Letters, AJ 26.05.05).

Quite apart from Darwin's interest in the domestic pigeon, as your reader notes, the pigeon/dove has a long and ancient association with man. No other bird has had such close links with him nor been as useful to him in so many ways, whether as a symbol, sacrifice, source of food or messenger. Nevertheless, the city birds pose a problem all over the world. This is being addressed in the UK by the Pigeon Control Advisory Service, which has successfully advised local authorities on humane solutions to the problem.

Dr Jean Hansell, via email

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