Pigeon cull begins

MARYANNE TWENTYMAN
Last updated 13:36 10/12/2012
GRIM TASK: A council contractor scours trees around Hamilton Lake for any sign of dead pigeons.
PETER DRURY
GRIM TASK: A council contractor scours trees around Hamilton Lake for any sign of dead pigeons.
FERAL FIND: A council contractor picks up dead birds after the first night of Hamilton City Council’s culling operation.
PETER DRURY
FERAL FIND: A council contractor picks up dead birds after the first night of Hamilton City Council’s culling operation.

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The first night of a planned pigeon cull at Hamilton Lake proved successful on Sunday night with the demise of more than 200 birds.

The cull was aimed at feral pigeons that presented a risk to public health and safety and was carried out in night operations by trained pest control marksmen using spotlights and silenced air rifles. 

Hamilton City Council parks and open spaces manager Sally Sheedy said the first night went well, with no issues reported by the team of seven staff from Council and pest control company Rentokil.

"The first night of the operation was successful, with no hiccups. We’re very happy with how it went,’’ she said.

But not everyone was pleased with the results of the two and half hour cull. Nearby resident Leanne Jacobs contacted the Times to say how distressed she was yesterday morning as she walked the path near the café and childrens' playground.

"‘There was a mass of feathers under several trees, then soon after blood on the footpath, some of it still thick and pooling, and then two pigeon carcasses on the footpath,’’ Ms Jacobs said.

However council staff could be seen picking up the remnants from around the walkway about 8am yesterday.

Ms Sheedy said other residents had turned up to check out their operation simply out of interest.

"We had one gentleman turn up and ask a few questions about our operation – he had professional experience in pest control and was quite interested in what we were undertaking.’’

She said the pigeons had been a particular problem around the mature trees at the domain.

"The pigeons roost in the mature Phoenix Palms at the domain, and it's their excrement which creates a health and safety issue,’’ she said.

Pigeon culling was expected to continue last night  and tonight, while a second round of operations is planned for December 16 -19.

‘‘But like many Council operations, it does rely on fine weather,’’ Ms Sheedy said.

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- Waikato Times

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