Hawks flying in to deal with pigeon problem

PUBLISHED: 12:37 30 July 2009 | UPDATED: 16:05 11 May 2010

BIRDS of prey will soon be flying into Royston to help rid the town of pesky pigeons. North Herts District Council s Royston area committee has agreed to fund a four-week programme of hawking in Royston at a cost of about £2,000. It is hoped this will red

BIRDS of prey will soon be flying into Royston to help rid the town of pesky pigeons.

North Herts District Council's Royston area committee has agreed to fund a four-week programme of hawking in Royston at a cost of about £2,000.

It is hoped this will reduce the number of pigeons roosting in the town centre.

At a meeting held last night (Wednesday July 28), Alan Fleck, the district council's Community Development Officer, said that the Royston First Business Improvement District (BID) company had received cost estimates for a number of measures to control the pigeon population in the town.

He said: "The most effective activities in the short term are deemed to be hawking, clearing existing nests and infestations, and pigeon-proofing some of the key buildings in the town centre."

The hawks will be brought in for two hours a day, with the duration of their patrols being reduced to one hour a day as the pigeon population is brought under control. There is also scope to continue hawking after the initial four weeks if necessary.

Cllr F John Smith, leader of the district council, said: "The pigeon muck is causing a danger to pedestrians, and quite apart from that it doesn't look nice."

Committee chairman Fiona Hill added: "This is a very serious health and safety problem."

And Cllr Robert Inwood said: "Pigeons are a major issue in the town and I fully support the use of hawks."

The area committee has previously discussed a number of measures to deal with the pigeons, including shooting the birds, putting dummy eggs in their nests, and using birth control.

It had been feared that hawking would harm the rest of the wild bird population, but Mr Fleck assured the committee that the birds of prey are trained to target pigeons only.

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