Letter: How to deal with bird women and feral pigeons

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Sir: It is a sad fact that human "pigeon-friends" do contribute to the problem of overpopulation of feral pigeons in cities throughout Europe. However, to send a kindly elderly person to jail for feeding them appears as cruel and unacceptable as the usual means employed of reducing pigeon populations (ie shooting, poisoning and gassing).

Here in Leek we are trying an experiment, under the auspices of the Staffordshire Moorlands District Council, to control the local pigeon population without the horror of the annual cull (or the necessity of imprisoning pensioners). This involves providing lofts that can be cleaned and from which eggs can be removed. This is not only a humane alternative to killing pigeons, but a more effective one. We have provided "bird feeding areas" in the local park, and all but a very few people have now ceased to feed the birds in the town centre.

Our experiment is still in the very early stages, but we have birds breeding in the purpose-built cote, and it is hoped that after a few months they will return there to roost, thus alleviating the perceived problem in the town centre. We hope by limiting the food supply (and by removal of eggs) to control the numbers.

Yours sincerely,

Cynthia Lubacz

Leek, Staffordshire

26 July