Pigeon cull set to take place in Biggleswade

The pigeons will be captured and 'humanely shot' according to the town council

By Euan Duncan, Local Democracy Reporter
Monday, 21st February 2022, 11:00 am
Updated Monday, 21st February 2022, 11:02 am
Biggleswade town centre
Biggleswade town centre

Pigeons are set to be culled in Biggleswade, as the feathered flocks are causing a nuisance in the town centre.

A plot has been hatched by the town council to remove the birds sensitively using bait containers.

The pigeons will then be humanely shot, a meeting of the council's town centre management committee heard.

The council's head of governance and strategic partnerships Karim Hosseini said: "We went to the Market Square with the pest control expert to progress the option of a pilot scheme for live capture, with bait boxes to be deployed over a five-week period.

"Unfortunately, the pest controller informed us it wouldn't be possible to place their live capture boxes on the pitched roofs, as it requires a flat surface.

"The area in question with the pigeon issue is all completely pitched. So we visited at least six different premises in the vicinity and requested access, only to be turned down at five of those locations.

"However, one said they're doing some corrective work to their flat roof which will take another couple of weeks. And they will grant us access in March to deploy the live capture bait boxes."

Deputy mayor Grant Fage asked: "We wouldn't have to use the flat roof of a shop, would we?

"As we have a flat roof ourselves on the storage unit near the town centre. Could that be used? It's our asset."

Town councillor Mark Knight, who chairs the committee, replied: "So I think you're referring to the container at Century House."

Councillor Fage inquired: "Would that be an option? The reason I say that is because I presume we're getting near the season where eggs get laid and more pigeons arrive."

Councillor Knight said: "We looked at our shipping container and indeed tried to gain access to the roof to consider the problem for the pitched roofs areas.

"The pest controller told us he was unable to use that roof on the shipping container."

Mayor Madeline Russell wondered what happens to the pigeons when collected alive.

"I know already in the fields around the town there are flocks of a couple of dozen pigeons at a time, in various locations," she said.

"Where are we putting these pigeons when we collect them?"

Councillor Knight explained: "My understanding is the proposal is to capture them in a humane way and then shoot them.

"I did take a few photos of the pigeons the other day just after they'd landed on one of the roofs and taken off.

"There are too many to count unless you get them in a picture. I counted more than 50 pigeons, and I think there are at least two flocks.

"So there's been considerable growth in the size of the flocks during the year we've been reviewing this.

"There's some urgency, and it's certainly true pigeons breed all year. We're approaching peak breeding season.

"It does sound like there's a plan to hopefully start the activities in March."

Town councillor Michael North referred to a suggestion from a member of the public for "a pigeon roast", with a barbecue set up in Market Square because "they're edible, aren't they?"

Councillor Knight quipped: "Would anyone like to second that proposal? You can eat wood pigeon.

"But my understanding is these are a different type of pigeon and they're less appetising."

"Oh, right," replied councillor North. "So that's a non-starter then."

Councillor Knight added: "Hopefully by the next meeting we'll have started proceedings."