Why pigeon plan simply won’t fly

First published in News

Naturalist and feral pigeon expert Adam Rogers has warned that Warminster deputy mayor Paul Batchelor’s proposed solutions to the pigeon problem in the town would be ineffective.

Cllr Batchelor recently suggested that using a Harris Hawk a couple of times a week or a contraceptive feed would be the most humane options to solve Warminster’s long-running pigeon problem.

However, Mr Rogers says that using a hawk would be ineffective for Warminster as the issue is more widespread, while contraceptive feed is not legal in the UK.

The 29-year-old, who is studying zoology at the University of Exeter’s Cornwall Campus, believes that a more long-term plan should be looked at to control the pigeon population.

Mr Rogers, from Elmdale Road, Trowbridge, said: “The use of public funds to implement ineffective methods should be questioned, particularly when the reason for the control is simply that the droppings are deemed unsightly.

“The use of a Harris hawk is especially ineffective due to their slow-flying nature and most adult pigeons soon become wise to the limited threat posed by a bird that is comparatively cumbersome in flight.

“Also, Mr Batchelor’s suggestion of ‘contraceptive feed’ indicates a total lack of under- standing of the issue, given that no contraceptive feed is licensed for use on pigeons in the UK.

“While non-lethal control methods are the way forward, it would be advisable for independent advice to be sought from experts, such as those at the Pigeon Control Advisory Service, into a more effective long-term plan.”

Mr Rogers, also author of The Big Guide to Small Pets, was recently featured on BBC’s Winterwatch show where he talked about a project he is undertaking to record the national pigeon population and investigate the plumage trends found in the birds.

Cllr Batchelor said: “I’m not an expert on the removal of pigeons, but I am qualified on what the people of Warminster want to see happen in the town. That is what I am fighting for, representing the wishes of the majority of the town.”

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