Pigeons flee in terror from falcon as town fights poo problem
- Credit: Simon Parkin
A scheme to scare off pigeons whose unsightly droppings have been a persistent problem on a high street has got off the ground with the first flights of a falcon.
Fay the falcon took to the skies over Diss and her presence was enough to send dozens of pigeons flapping off in terror.
Businesses in Mere Street have signed up to pay a small weekly charge for the hawk to be regularly flown as part of the unique scheme that also has the backing of Diss Town Council and South Norfolk Council.
Pigeons are a long running problem in the town particularly at the Mere Mouth and on surrounding buildings in the main shopping thoroughfare Mere Street. As well as looking unsightly and being expensive to clean, droppings also harbour disease causing pathogens including E.coli.
Falconer Mark White, from Dealey Bird Control, the company behind the scheme, said: "We are doing an intensive programme to start with. You will see the pigeon numbers drop off significantly. For example there were 163 pigeons at Mere Mouth when we arrived this morning, but as you can see they have all left because of her presence.
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"Yes give it half and hour or an hour and they will be back but if you keep repeating this process, and do it at different times of day, and they quickly begin to realise that this isn't a safe environment."
The first flights of Fay, a gyr-saker hybrid falcon, were short but this will slowly be increased in the coming weeks as part of the humane method to scare off pigeon numbers.
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Mr White said: "She has only flown today on the line at close quarters but it is enough for them to get the message that she is a predator. By next week we will let her go and she will begin to fly wherever she wants to."
Some 25 national and local businesses have so far signed up to the scheme, while a significant sum has also been given by a local businesswoman. If successful the service that could be replicated in other towns with pigeon problems.
Mr White said: "This service is a first community group crossover contracts with the councils that we are aware of in the UK. It is a very unique contract that we drawn up. The shops have formed a group and are paying a small charge each week, the town and South Norfolk councils have both put a bit of money in.
"We are now here for 12 months but it has taken two and half years to get this off the ground, but I live in Diss myself and I'm fed up of seeing the pigeon mess."