Pigeons to be culled and baked in pies?

PIGEONS are set to be culled in Royston with one councillor claiming the dead birds could be used as a “food source”.

Royston Town Council unanimously voted in favour of asking business partnership Royston First to dispatch the birds and will also attempt to clampdown on people feeding them.

One councillor said a return to old-style cooking could help with the disposal of the bodies.

Cllr F John Smith said: “When you use the word ‘cull’ it has a very negative effect on people but there is an advantage to this method.

“I’m being perfectly serious that pigeon pie is not eaten as often as it used to be, in other words shot pigeons give us a food source.”

An estimated flock of 400-600 birds call the town home and members have hit out at the mess left by the birds which is deemed to cause a slip risk for some residents.

Town mayor Cllr Lindsay Davidson said some residents find the pavements “risky” because “they are covered in muck”.

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Throughout the years officials have put forward a number of ideas to deal with the birds, including avian contraceptives, that were deemed inhumane, and in 2009 the introduction of hawks was also considered.

Fire gel that would fool the birds into thinking potential roosting spots were ablaze was also considered.

Leader of the council Bob Smith said: “The problem with fire gel is that it would only repel them from wherever we put the gel and we can’t smother the entire town in gel.

“I’m sure a cull is the best option to get the flock down to a manageable size.”

A report prepared for Monday’s general purpose and highways committee spelled out Royston First’s position that “a constantly refreshed battery of deterrents” would be the only way to deal with the birds.

Geraint Burnell, town centre manager, said: “I wasn’t personally at last night’s meeting but I did submit a report regarding the anti-pigeon measures installed by Royston First over the past couple of years.

“Also included in my report was a reminder that we had approached the council in November 2010 for their views on reducing the size of the Royston flock.

“I gather I will be receiving a letter modifying the town council’s position in light of the increased number of complaints being received and the perceived escalation of the problem.

“I shall of course forward any such letter to the Advisory Council of Royston First for them to consider what actions can/will be taken.”

The committee had previously investigated building a dovecot where flock numbers can be restricted by removing eggs and replacing them with ceramic fakes.

It was found this was too expensive and required a dedicated volunteer in order to ensure its success.