Hawkers called in to sort Flintshire pigeon problem

Reporter:

Matt Jones

PROBLEM pigeons could soon be a thing of the past in one of Flintshire’s towns thanks to a bird-friendly pest control plan.

Community leaders in Holywell are looking to enlist the help of a specialist pest control firm to end the town’s problem and attract visitors to the High Street.

The Coastal Hawks Project has already proved successful in dealing with seagulls in Conwy and Rhyl and the firm could soon bring its services to Flintshire.

Mike Espley, a co-director of Coastal Hawks and a Rhyl town councillor, said the scheme had created five seasonal jobs and the firm was interested in working in Holywell.

He said: “We have been approached by the town council with a view to looking at their pigeon problem.

“At the moment we are working with seagulls rather than pigeons, but our birds of prey work with any pest birds. The pigeons and seagulls are very aware of the birds of prey and if they see a bird of prey they keep away.”

Handlers parade hawks through Rhyl High Street and Cllr Espley said there has been a 90 per cent reduction in seagull attacks on shoppers carrying food.

He said: “It is very successful. It does work. It is a non-aggressive deterrent, it is a more friendly approach and is far more useful than culling.”

Holywell town manager Medwyn Roberts has been leading the hunt to solve the problem.

He said: “As a result of the council’s decision to investigate ways of resolving the fouling and other problems caused by feral pigeons in the town centre, I met representatives of Rhyl-based Costal Hawks.

“They demonstrated how the presence of a bird of prey, albeit tethered rather than free-flying and hunting, could control the town centre’s feral pigeon problem.

“The effect was dramatic. As soon as the pigeons saw the birds of prey, they flew off en masse.

“They birds of prey also proved popular with shoppers and were an attraction in themselves being stroked and photographed by many.

“At the end of the demonstration I asked Costal Hawks to put a proposal together.”

See full story in the Leader

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