Birds of prey return in bid to tackle pigeon problem
Birds of prey will return to Daventry town centre to help deal with the growing number of pigeons posing a health risk.
Daventry District Council (DDC) is taking action in response to concerns over the problem pigeons creating a mess in the town, particularly Bowen Square and Foundry Place.
As well as looking unsightly, bird droppings carry disease and can erode stonework on buildings and block gutters.
A successful deterrent programme involving birds of prey was carried out in Daventry town centre five years ago. However with pigeon numbers on the increase, DDC has decided to re-introduce it.
Experienced handlers from NBC Environment are set to carry out an intensive fortnight-long programme, flying falcons in a wide arc around the town centre in an effort to stop pigeons from nesting on rooftops. Hawks will also be walked along paths and walkways to move the pigeons on.
The birds of prey will then be brought back to the town regularly to deter the pigeons from returning.
Lee Rees, of NBC Environment, said: “Our falconry programme acts as a deterrent to pigeons and other unwanted birds by letting them know that the area is no longer safe.
“The presence of hawks and falcons will quickly encourage the pest pigeons to establish a new pattern of behaviour. Naturally pigeons will not roost in an area where there is a predator.”
Environmental Health Officers from DDC are urging people to support the programme by not feeding the pigeons. Those who do so are reminded that dropping food in public areas is a form of littering and carries a £150 fine.
There is an opportunity to meet the birds of prey and find out more about the falconry programme next Tuesday (17 March) in Bowen Square. The event will run from midday to 2pm, ahead of the falconry programme starting on Monday, 23 March.
Councillor Daniel Cribbin, Housing and Environmental Health Portfolio Holder, on Daventry District Council, said: “Pigeons create a mess and can carry diseases and, while the last falconry programme was incredibly successful, we have started to see a rise in the number of pigeons in the town centre again recently.
“Birds of prey are a natural and effective way of deterring pigeons but we need the support of residents in order for this to be successful, and I would urge people not to feed the pigeons or leave food waste on the floor.”