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Cockroaches, Rats and Pigeons Take Spotlight in 'Pesky Neighbors' Series

By Nikhita Venugopal | November 4, 2016 3:10pm | Updated on November 7, 2016 8:44am
 A new series at Brooklyn Historical Society will explore the lives of some of New York's
A new series at Brooklyn Historical Society will explore the lives of some of New York's "pesky neighbors," including pigeons.
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DNAinfo/Amy Zimmer

BROOKLYN HEIGHTS — They flutter around your parks. Scurry across subway tracks. Scuttle up your drain pipes.

New York City is home to more than eight million people but that doesn't include our furry, feathered and six-legged neighbors who have turned the concrete jungle into their own natural habitats, whether we like it or not.

A new three-part series at the Brooklyn Historical Society explores the lives of three of New York City's "pesky neighbors" — pigeons, rats and cockroaches — beginning next week and running through November. 

"Pigeons, rats and cockroaches are in this triad of animals considered a little bit problematic," said Margaret Mittelbach, co-founder of The Secret Science Club and moderator for the panel discussion on pigeons on Monday, Nov. 7. 

It's believed that pigeons arrived on the continent with Dutch and English settlers in the 1600s along with their livestock, Mittelbach said. 

While they originally nested in the crannies of rocky cliff sides, city pigeons now make their homes on bridges, building ledges and window sills. 

"They've managed to make a human habitat into their environment," she said.

The series was created as a way to explore "stories about Brooklyn or New York City that people don't think about often," said Meredith Duncan, BHS's senior programs and communications manager. Organized in partnership with Brooklyn Brainery, the panels will feature authors, artists, historians, biologists, and more.

"Pesky Neighbors" will take place Nov. 7, Nov. 14 and Nov. 21. The first discussion will focus on pigeons, followed by cockroaches, then rats. 

Tickets are priced at $10 for general admission.