Derby hospital pigeons scared away by hawks and falcons

Harris hawk on the roof of the Royal Derby Hospital
Image caption Two harris hawks and a falcon are being used to stop pigeons roosting

Hawks and a falcon have been brought in to reduce the number of pigeons at Royal Derby Hospital.

The hospital said between 500 and 1,000 pigeons had settled at the site, making a mess on the outside of the buildings.

Staff said they had seen a big decline in the number of pigeons since the introduction of the birds of prey.

Pest controller Ray Fretwell said the birds did not kill the pigeons but their presence was enough to deter them from nesting at the hospital.

A male and female harris hawk and a pere saker falcon are being released at Royal Derby twice a week for six months.

They are being flown at dusk to scare the pigeons which return from the city centre at this time of day looking for roosts.

A hospital spokesperson said: "The pigeon population has grown since the completion of the new hospital.

"The pigeon droppings make a mess to the outside of our buildings and are difficult and expensive to remove.

"We hope that by using the hawks as a deterrent it will keep the birds away from the hospital site."

Mr Fretwell, from NBC Bird and Pest Solutions, said: "Hawks and falcons are used successfully to clear birds from sites such as airfields, football stadiums and even at Wimbledon."

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