Chance discovery raises curtain on problem of avian addiction

Prison officials captured a pigeon Tuesday near the Centro Penitenciario La Reforma, and the bird was carrying a pouch with a small amount of marijuana and cocaine.

Immediately officials concluded that someone in Alajuela prison was pigeon081215using homing pigeons to import drugs into the supposedly secure installation.

The story is deeper than that. Pigeons, it seems, have developed a taste for marijuana and cocaine. This was bound to happen because of the increased use in society, a stool pigeon told reporters.

The pigeon arrested Tuesday most likely obtained the drugs from vendor pigeons at the Plaza de la Cultura where humans have been known to make similar purchases. Frequently the deals are made in the heights of the Teatro Nacional where law enforcement would need eagle eyes to spot them.

Penitentiary officials at the Ministerio de Justicia y Paz said that the 14 grams of marijuana was just enough for three or four cigarettes. However, cigarettes for pigeons are considerably smaller, and the birds would be puffing on a gram. That depends on the size of the bird.

Seagulls would need larger cigarettes.

The cocaine does present a problem, and this drug is not usually confiscated from pigeons. The main problem is the beaks that make snorting the drug difficult.

Bird experts said that the expanded use of marijuana by avians results from the introduction of seeds from Colorado.

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