TransLink has launched a new pilot project involving a bird feeder and birth control, aimed at reducing the number of pigeons at SkyTrain stations.

A feeder containing bait laced with contraception targeted for pigeons is being placed at the back of the VCC-Clark SkyTrain station, as part of a project with the BC SPCA.

The project will eventually expand to eight stations that researchers deem to have the worst pigeon problems.

"We know many places cull pigeons and that's not the approach we want them to take, we want a humane and ethical solution to this project," said Dr. Sara Dubois, chief scientific officer with the BC SPCA.

The aim is to reduce the number of shutdowns caused by the birds.

"We have shutdowns by pigeons all the time," said Jill Drews, spokesperson for TransLink.

Drews says the birds frequently trigger the station's alarm system, forcing crews to shut down the area and investigate. Often by the time workers arrive the birds are long gone.

"When you're on the train and experience that two minute stop, and you're wondering 'what's going on?' chances are it was a pigeon that triggered the alarm," she said.

TransLink already uses spike belts and netting as physical barriers, and has used falcons in the past to scare off pigeons, but it hopes the birth control provides more long-term relief.

Birds have been blamed before for causing commuter headaches.

In 2015, a bird's nest caught fire on a SkyTrain track halting service on the Millenium and Expo lines into downtown Vancouver on a Friday morning commute.

With a report from CTV Vancouver's Shannon Paterson