by BECKY  CHURCHER

County Times 

www.wscountytimes.co.uk

BIRD CONTROL

FAKE FIRE TO SCARE OFF TOWN PIGEIONS

Horsham’s pigeons have been spared a cull, thanks to a new repellent developed in Korea, seen here being applied in Blackhorse Way car park.

Korean technology will avoid need for controversial mass shooting of birds.

CONTROVERSIAL pigeon cullsin Horsham could be a thing ofthe past as a new ‘humane’ deterrentflies into town.Horsham District Council(HDC) is the first local authorityin the UK to use Bird Free,a non-toxic repellent developedin Korea.

Jeonjinbio, which developedthe product, claims the repellentlooks like ‘fire’ to pigeonsand stops them landing onbuildings.HDC has completed its firsttrial at the Blackhorse Way carpark and says the results havebeen ‘astonishing’.Martin Rosier, senior pestcontrol officer at HDC, said:“We have been aware of theproblem of pigeons roosting insidethe entrance to Horsham’sBlackhorse Way car park for awhile and have been looking ata number of possible solutionswithout much luck.“Traditional bird proofingmethods were not viable at thesite, so when we heard about ahi-techbird repellent that had recentlybeen introduced into theUK we decided to give it a try.“There was a fair bit ofpreparation needed before wecould start. The area had to becleaned of accumulated pigeondroppings before the new treatmentgel could be applied to theroosting surfaces.

“In order to minimise thedisruption to car park users we had to arrange for the task tobe completed during the night.Since then, there has been nosign of the pigeons returningto the car park entrance whatsoever.“It is unusual for pigeonsto completely desert a habitatthey had been frequenting foryears. I haven’t seen any thinglike it in over 27 years in pestcontrol.“Even where physical barrierssuch as spikes and nets areinstalled, pigeons will typically still attempt to return to theirroosts. It is not overstating thecase to say that I amastonishedat the results.

“Based on these results, weare looking at how we coulduse this new treatment gel todeter pigeons at another publiccar park in Horsham.“We would however stillwant to remind people thatthey can help too by denyingpigeons easy access to food andplaces to roost, by not droppingfood litter and ensuring buildingare pigeon proofed.’’In April 2010, concerns wereraised by members of the publicafter pigeons were shot ina cull of the creatures in thetown centre.The council said at the timethat it had been ‘forced’ tobring in skilled marksmen toshoot pigeons because theirnumbers had become too large.But numerous members ofthe public, who wrote to theCounty Times, said the actionwas disproportionate.A council spokesperson toldthe County Times that it wasimportant that pigeon numberswere controlled so they donot become a nuisance.The council added: “Apartfrom the obvious unsightliness,the main problem is acidsreleased from their excrement.“These can cause irreversibledamage to building surfacesresulting in the scarring ofbuilding fabric, damaging appearanceand potentially causingthousands of pounds worthof damage.”

However, with the introductionof Bird Free, pigeon cullsmay no longer be necessary.The council is now planningto apply the repellent gel at anotherpublic car park in Horsham.Under the ‘To Nature’ brand,Bird Free is described as aneco-friendly bird repellent,which is harmless to the humanbody.It is a product that repelsbirds by stimulating theirsenses, which is sight andsmell, and if brave birds decideto come closer to the product, itaffects touch and taste too.Ian Smith, UK agent ofJeonjinbio, said: “Bird Free isa patented preparation usingfood-grade materials and isengineered so that birds simplywon’t go near it. Birds seeultraviolet light and Bird Freeappears to them as fire.“I know that pigeon controlhas been a contentious issue inHorsham, and as UK agents forJeonjinbio, we are delighted tobe able to offer a non-toxic humanesolution to this difficultproblem.

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