Tourists Are Paying People to Scare Pigeons to Get the Perfect Instagram Shot
We’ve all probably scrolled through our Instagram feeds and passed by a well-orchestrated travel photo with just the right colors, right angles, and perfectly “candid but not candid” poses. But have you ever wondered how that photo magic happens?
Well, in the case of people taking pictures of themselves being surrounded by majestic pigeons near Tha Pae Gate, in Chiang Mai, Thailand, there’s actually a person with a real "job" to help make those birds flutter around for your ‘Gram.
Travel influencers can be pretty notorious for doing strange or even dangerous things in order to get a good picture, like hanging out of a moving train or faking photos in order to curate their online presence.
According to Metro, Tha Pae Gate is well-known for its flocks of pigeon hanging out on the sidewalks nearby. Most of the time, however, they’re not terribly active and don’t fly around people’s heads like they seem to on social media.
We’re not sure who would love to get swarmed by scared pigeons in any circumstance, but it’s a popular pose for international travelers in Thailand.
Now, there are literally people who work for the sole purpose of frightening the pigeons for you so you can take a good picture. According to Metro, these so-called “pigeon spookers” charge you 20 baht (about $0.65 USD) to stomp around and wave flags in order to get those wings flapping.
Of course, since frightened birds are kind of a nuisance and could potentially be a health risk, the city of Chang Mai is trying to suppress any pigeon spooking that might be going on, according to Metro. “Pigeon spookers” are being arrested if caught trying to deliberately scare birds and anyone caught trying to sell bird feed nearby has to pay a 20,000 baht (just over $650 USD) fine, Metro reported.
According to The Thaiger, city officials sent out a release warning people not to feed the pigeons near Tha Pae Gate for public health and hygiene reasons back in 2018.