My last pigeon post

Susan Richardson leaves me little choice but to respond yet again, (albeit reluctantly), to her comments on pigeons.

Tuesday, 21st November 2017, 6:05 am
Updated Tuesday, 12th December 2017, 7:28 am
Pigeons at The Moor are becoming a problem

Clearly my reasoned arguments have so far failed to convince her of the verminous and pestiferous credentials of our old friend the feral pigeon, aka sky rat, flying ashtray, etc. Most of the points she now raises about their classification as vermin, disease transmission, etc., I have already addressed in recent posts so I will avoid going over old ground.

Ms Richardson insists on re-quoting the bird friendly RSPB as the ultimate arbiter on whether pigeons should be classed as vermin or not. All I will say is “other opinions are available”. Incidentally she may be surprised to learn that my will current will contains a bequest to the RSPB, (although this is now under review).

Ms Richardson says the Oxford Dictionary definition of vermin that I quoted in an earlier post refers only to wild animals and not specifically to birds. The last time I looked birds WERE wild animals.

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Ms Richardson also insists pigeons deserve more respect. I am not clear what measure of respect she expects me to accord them when they show me none whatsoever. I know not where on the horticultural spectrum Ms Richardson’s proclivities lie, (if at all), but as a lifelong gardener myself I can assure her that pigeons are no friend of the fruit and vegetable grower. When you’ve had a fine row of cabbages pecked to pieces, a newly sown lawn denuded of seed and an apple crop rendered inedible due to foul cement-like encrustations embellished with downy fluff you would understand what I mean.

(TIP: For fellow gardeners similarly besieged I have discovered a non-lethal deterrent that does actually seem to work, namely holographic bird tape. Stringing it around your crops on canes seems to deter them by somehow confusing their landing gear. The tape can be supplemented with old CDs hanging loosely on string, as they swing in the breeze the reflected sunlight moves around the garden making them nervous)

In The Star, November 13, Mr M Thompson describes in graphic detail what happened when a pigeon used his wife’s hair for target practice. So much for respect.

Ms Richardson describes how messenger pigeons did their bit for us when pressed into service in WW2. Good on them, but she should have noticed that I have been careful throughout this discourse to criticise only feral pigeons, not their more worthy cousins such as messenger, racing or show birds.

I do sympathise with The Royal Pigeon Racing Association (RPRA) which estimates that tens of thousands of its members’ birds are lost each year to peregrine falcons. It’s a pity we cannot encourage the predators to focus their attention on feral pigeons instead.

Feral pigeons are one of the few birds recognised by the government as a nuisance and a pest and can be controlled under licence. Their acidic droppings cause expensive damage to buildings and street furniture, (ask any council). One of the main problems is that they follow us around in great numbers because, in the same way as rats, they enjoy gorging on the food we carelessly discard, (our bad maybe).

And finally, I would suggest that if Ms Richardson is still on the lookout for a species worthy of culling she could do far worse than look at these blighters.

Hopefully this will be my last “pigeon post”.

Gary Crosby

by email

Can Tarmac assist?

Looks like it’s Life With The Lions, (gives me age away), back at the City Hall.

According to Simon Hughes, (they have repainted the Webbs Lamp on Oakland Road, well done City Council), courtesy of Tarmac.

Can Tarmac assist in putting back our Crimean War Memorial?

Ron Clayton

S6

Value for money?

Which was the best value?

Leonardo went for £303m this week... Naymar went for £200m last August.

Jeremy Biggin

Upperthorpe

I love you Sheffield

Right,let’s see: we’ve covered trees... well,not covered as such, but you get the gist.

The condition of road surfaces gets a mention now and again.

Oh, did I mention road surfaces? 20 mph/speed bumps to keep roads safe?

Unruly dogs and their mess, (well I suppose that’s their business).

The condition of the old Town Hall and what, if anything, can be done to save it.

Please save our heritage, throughout many wonderful sites in this great city.

Jane Wilford

Woodseats, Sheffield 8

I won’t hold my breath

To all councillors of all parties, why not be the first person to listen to the residents of Firth Park.

I have sent many letters and met several Labour councillors, even local MP Gill Furness with regards to the parking situation in the Firth Park area with cars disregarding the law and parking on double yellow lines and on pavements cutting off pedestrians’ right of way.

I am a long-time resident of Firth Park Crescent which is being used as a rat run between Firth Park Road and Bellhouse Road.

The Crescent is nose to tail with parked cars with very little room to manoeuvre if a vehicle is caught while moving either way up or down the Crescent.

The recently signposted 20mph limit is completely ignored and I believe it is only a matter of time before an accident happens. I will not hold my breath waiting for someone to do something because they never do until local election time.

Neville Levick

by email

Where’s the figure from?

Every so often we have a letter in the Star or an article on air pollution and the figure of 500 premature deaths in the city each year is quoted.

It is used by mainly by Sheffield City Council, the Green Party, and Climate Change Alliance to heighten fear, but is often found in the letters of concerned residents who take the figure at face value. Now, can someone please tell me where this figure comes from? I note that it has steadfastly remained the same for several years? Not 480 or perhaps 550 last year?

I am not expecting a reply, as my guess is that the figure 500 appeared in a report many years ago as an estimate, but is now wheeled out and preached as gospel. I may be wrong and if anyone can find evidence to substantiate the figure please let us know so I can remove my Victor Meldrew hat.

If the source cannot be made clear, then stop using the number.

Bear in mind that I am a concerned resident as I live in the city and we should do everything possible to clean the air we breathe, but can we please swap the diesel buses for electric and extend the tram system before taxing my diesel car off the road.

Terry Tiller

Kelham Island