On Public Influence on People’s Interactions with Ordinary Biodiversity
Besides direct impacts of urban biodiversity on local ecosystem services, the contact of city dwellers with urban nature in their everyday life could increase their awareness on conservation issues. In this paper, we focused on a particularly common animal urban species, the feral pigeon Columba livia. Through an observational approach, we examined behavioral interactions between city dwellers and this species in the Paris metropolis, France. We found that most people (mean: 81%) do not interact with pigeons. Further, interactions (either positive or negative) are context and age-dependent: children interact more than adults and the elderly, while people in tourist spots interact more than people in urban parks or in railway stations, a result that suggests that people interacting with pigeons are mostly tourists. We discuss these results in terms of public normative pressures on city dwellers’ access to and reconnection with urban nature. We call for caution in how urban species are publically portrayed and managed, given the importance of interactions with ordinary biodiversity for the fate of nature conservation.