Leeds & West Yorkshire

Morley Town Council agrees pigeon cull

'Do not feed the pigeons' sign
Image caption Signs in Morley warn people not to feed the pigeons

A cull of pigeons has been approved at a meeting of a West Yorkshire town council.

Bird droppings have caused £50,000 of damage to Morley Town Hall by blocking drains which have caused flooding.

People have been told not to feed the problem birds and now council officials say that they have to decide on the most effective method.

The Pigeon Control Advisory Service told the BBC that culling "causes the birds to rebreed".

"We are not throwing away our rubbish properly and we're feeding them over and above what they need," said Emma Haskell, of the Pigeon Control Advisory Service.

"The key message is to stop feeding them."

'Ate alive'

Ms Haskell said that in the USA, contraceptives were fed to birds to control their population, but they were not used in the UK because contraceptives had not been proven to be an effective method of control.

Elsewhere in the UK, councils have used birds of prey to keep the pigeon population at bay, but Ms Haskell said this was not recommended either.

"The peregrine falcon is the pigeon's natural predator, not the Harris hawk which is commonly used," she said.

"Pigeons fly a lot faster than the Harris hawk and it will only ever catch young, injured or sick pigeons.

"There was outrage in Norwich when a Harris hawk flew down and ate alive a pigeon in the middle of the town centre. It was all very upsetting."

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