Saturday, October 15, 2016

Woman say she feels under siege after former neighbour's confused homing pigeons returned

A woman says she feels like she's under siege by homing pigeons left confused after her bird fancier neighbour moved house. Janine White said she has been trying to get rid of the flock of birds for more than a week at her home in Blackburn, Lancashire. The 34-year-old said the birds left the street with her neighbour on October 2, but returned a couple of days later taking over her garden, her daughter’s playhouse and her home. Miss White said she has reached the end of her tether with the ‘out of control’ birds after unsuccessfully calling on a number of organisations for help. She said: “It’s an absolutely horrible situation. The birds just defecate everywhere and it’s really disgusting. The smell is abominable, you cannot escape it.

“The birds fly into my house whenever they can so I’m frightened to open the windows, one even managed to get into my bed. I’m going to have to throw the playhouse away because it’s too dirty for my daughter to play in.” Miss White, who shares her property with her mother Josephine, 54, and her one-year-old daughter Myah, said she managed to reduce the problem by capturing several of the birds in the playhouse where she has been feeding them. She said: “I don’t know the couple who owned the birds but they suddenly left. I don’t know if they want the birds back or if they have abandoned them. I have tried everything to trace them but I have had no luck.” Miss White said she had tried to make contact with the couple’s landlord but had still been able to track them down. She said: “I have now been left to pick up the pieces.”

Miss White said she has contacted many organisations to track her neighbour and catch the birds including Blackburn with Darwen Council’s environmental health and pest control departments, Oswaldtwistle Homing Society and the Royal Pigeon Association but none have been able to offer a solution without knowing more about the owner. She said: “I’m scared now that if the birds die or they are deemed to have been poorly treated then I will be made accountable. That would be unfair as they’re not my animals.” David Higgins, secretary of the North West region for The Royal Pigeon Racing Association, said finding an identification number would be the first port of call to getting them back to their owner. He said: “The pigeons will be traceable if there’s an identification number, it will be linked to a club. It is common for racing pigeons to settle somewhere if they find a nice safe area they like, they are birds after all.

“If they find a quiet, warm, dry loft for example they could settle. If the birds are moving with an owner then they would have to be settled in.” Miss White said she had been unable to hold any of the pigeons for long enough to check the tags and decipher any potential clues about the owner. Lee Dawson, secretary of Oswaldtwistle Homing Society, said he would be willing to help the family. He said: “Pigeons that go missing are still the responsibility of the owner. The owner needs to be making an effort to try and get them back otherwise they could be disqualified or banned from racing in the future. If Miss White needs help with the pigeons, I am more than willing to help gather them up.” Racing pigeons have a life span of around 20 years, compared to three or four years for an average town centre pigeon. A council spokesperson said: “We have received an enquiry from Miss White and have been trying to contact her to advise her.”

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