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Pigeon problems in Kensington

Feral pigeons have always been a nuisance in many towns and cities. The borough of Kensington and Chelsea in London is no exception. But in the last couple of years it seems that feral pigeons are on the rise. There are a number of reasons of why this may be, the recession being one of them. During times of a recession, Kensington has seen a number of businesses close down, therefore leaving properties vacant. With all these premises being left empty, they have become ideal nesting sites if they are not boarded up correctly and supervised regularly. Unlike the Wood Pigeon, that nests in trees and is no relation, the feral pigeon will almost exclusively nest on and inside buildings and at height.

With the rise of the feral pigeon population also come the rise in associated problems. The build up of excrement that can be found around nesting sites, can become infested with mites and insects. These are pests that can infect stored products like flours, and also houses. They include: Varied Carpet Beetle, Fur Beetle, Larder Beetle, Biscuit Beetle, Clothes Moth, Brown House Moth, Cheese Mite, Flour Mite, Common Bird Mite and Pigeon Tick. These mites and insects can carry many diseases and can give rise to the following: Chlamydosis, Salmonellas and can cause extreme breathing difficulties for asthma sufferers.

Then there are the problems to properties. Blocked gutters and down pipes can cause water damage by seepage coming into the property. Chimneys can become blocked by nests, causing smoke problems. Gasses such as carbon monoxide may be forced back into the house causing carbon monoxide poisoning. All of These problems can lead to increased costs of maintenance and the risk of being a nuisance to neighbouring properties. Large numbers of roosting pigeons also give rise to odour and noise complaints. Then there is the risk of general health and safety in terms of slipping hazards on pavements and fire escapes, from the accumulations of droppings.

There are ways to alleviate the problem. The most effective way of reducing feral pigeon populations can be achieved by simply restricting the supply of food available to them. Quite simply, don’t put out any rubbish until the day of collection, stop throwing bread or bird seed out for the birds (this will attract rats as well) and discard your lunchtime snack packaging in to a bin. Some cities have deliberately established favourable nesting places for pigeons. These are nesting places that can easily be accessed by council workers, who regularly remove eggs, thereby limiting the reproductive success of pigeons. Pigeon populations may also be reduced by bird control systems that successfully reduce nesting sites. Peregrine falcons are a popular choice of bird for pest control companies. Some cities are actively introducing breeding programmes of peregrine falcons as they are a natural deterrent of pigeons.

Rats increase in Kensington

The number of rats in Kensington is on the rise, with the borough of Kensington and Chelsea experiencing a rise in reports from the public in recent years. Pest control companies in Kensington have reported an average increase of around 17 per cent in the number of call outs to properties to deal with the pests. In the last three years there have been 6458 reports of infestations or sightings of rats in Kensington, which is an increase from 42 per cent to 60 per cent of all pest-related calls. The council’s environmental health department fears that the increase in infestations could result in increased health risks for residents.

The local authority is saying that residents and local businesses are playing a large part for the increase in rats by not recycling and disposing of their rubbish properly. But the council are not in the clear themselves! With all the government cuts to councils in the last few years, there has been a noticeable decrease in the number of street cleaners and refuse collections in some areas.

A spokesperson for Kensington council said: “Rubbish bags that are left at the side of bins or on top of open wheelie bins, instead of inside them, is just encouraging the rats. The more glass, plastics and cardboard we recycle in the containers provided, there will be more space available in our bins for any food waste, allowing lids to close fully and less waste on our streets.”

In today’s modern lifestyle it is all to easy to grab a quick snack at lunch from a coffee shop or small supermarket, then just discard the waste in a nearby bin. Unfortunately more and more of us are doing this, creating more rubbish, but there are fewer cleaners to help clean up the mess that we leave behind. So please think twice about your lunch, because the rats will eat anything you leave behind.