British Divers Marine Life Rescue
British Divers Marine Life Rescue (photo: Steve Marsh)
British Divers Marine Rescue


2008-09-20 10:18:14

Medics try and help trapped pigeon

On a visit to a local Somerfield store, my attention was drawn to a young pigeon (squab / squeaker) that was trapped behind grilling which had been put in place to stop the birds from nesting. After discussions with the store manager Christopher Swan it was agreed that we should try and release the young pigeon which had no escape route as there were fears from an animal welfare point of view that it may die from starvation and or dehydration. After a few calls to numerous that evening,all proving negative by 10pm it was decided to leave things til morning when we had more time and light, although my fears were growing for the survival of the bird.

Following discussions from SSPCA, RSPB and Pest Control, it was advised that whoever put the grilling in place, was legally responsible for taking it down to free the birds from their entrapment. Again as this was proving difficult to ascertain who had put the grilling up, Medic Elaine Roft and Store Manager Christopher Swan agreed that any help from whoever meantime would be beneficial to the welfare of the bird. Rescue operations proceeded at 13.56hrs after help was sought by myself from Tayside Fire Brigade Unit (Montrose Department). The pigeon that I had observed, was retrieved from the location in which I had spotted it yesterday, sadly dead. Its entrapment area prevented it from being able to fly, spread its wings, or turn around. All it could do was shuffle backwards causing wing damage and hop up and down on the spot. Another batch of pigeons, also trapped were well out of reach (Estimated to be at least 3 of them by the attending fireman), so a hole was cut in the grilling to allow an escape route. Car Park attendant Dean confirmed that the adult birds had been using a long narrow slit behind the floodlights to gain access to the interior of the shelving. (This is obviously where they had decided to nest), resulting in the young squabs being trapped once the grilling had been secured in place, and being young, unable to fly from the entry point used by the adult birds. The squabs from what we had observed briefly, on one of them, the one I first noticed when alive appeared to be fully feathered, but its condition had not been determined.I can now confirm that this particular pigeon died from starvation. Somerfield staff are cooperating with the BDMLR Medics, by observing movement and sound coming from the youngsters and that of the adult birds to see if they feed the young. Observations are continuing with the Medics working in shifts, but for now we are satisfied that an escape route has been provided, also allowing another entry point for the adult birds and escape route for the squabs, as the store manager is reluctant to have the entire of the grilling removed as he said he had a duty to protect the public. WCLO'S Blair Wilkie and Ken Linton were at the scene last night and asked if the SSPCA could confirm if they were happy with the position as it now stands. A message was left by myself for Penny Johnston to call me on her arrival at work on Thursday morning as it was now gone 10.30pm.Her views will then be passed on to Officers Wilkie and Linton on their return to work after their holidays on Monday when they will advise the store manager of future barracading.

Sincere thanks to the following for all their help, first and foremost Tayside Fire Brigade Central Control Dundee & The Montrose Unit, in particular Garry.

Somerfiled Store Manager (Christopher Swan), Somerfield Car Park Attendant (Dean), BDMLR Montrose Medics Elaine Roft, Willie Taylor, Rab Quinn, Thom McNeil. BDMLR Galashiels Medic Karen Kirk (secretarial duties). Professional advice from SSPCA (Mhari), RSPB (England & Scotland), Blairgowrie Pest Control, BDMLR Head Office (Trevor Weeks), International Animal Rescue (Alan Knight), Shanwell Wildlife Rescue Trust, Tayside Police Central Control & WCLO'S Wilkie & Linton.

Both Penny Johnstone (SSPCA) & Trevor Weeks (BDMLR & IAR), both confirmed that now the birds had an exit point in addition to their original entry point, Under the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981, no crime has now been committed. HOWEVER, in future, if grilling is to be put in place to stop the birds from nesting, Then ALL entry points must be blocked off and inspection carried out thoroughly beforehand to ensure that there are no birds nesting at the time of boarding up. If boarding is placed whilst birds are nesting, thus allowing them no escape, then that justifies an offence. Officers Wilkie & Linton will be updated accordingly and this passed on to The Somerfield Store Manager Christopher Swan. Our thanks today to Penny Johnstone (SSPCA) and Trevor Weeks ( BDMLR & IAR) )

please see the following link for Wild Birds & The Law:

Medic Willie Taylor reported back today that there was no noise or squeaking coming from the area where the remaing squabs were. We can only assume, that the birds have either died or have found freedom through the grilling.