Predators and scavengers
Young rooks could be targeted with a cull to bring down the number of ‘nuisance’ birds nesting in the centre of Rothbury.
That’s one of the options now being explored by Rothbury Parish Council.
It follows more complaints about early morning noise and the potential health risks caused by bird droppings on seats, pavements and cars.
At last Wednesday’s meeting, it was agreed to form a working group to explore methods to reduce the resident population of rooks.
Only one councillor - Alan Fendley - abstained from a vote to take action on the birds.
Coun Mark Gilson said 29 residents had come forward to ask for something to be done about the rooks, opposed to just six against, the majority of which were more concerned about potential damage to the trees.
“There are far more residents in Rothbury who want something done than those who don’t,” he said.
“I personally don’t think that the middle of a high street in a small market town is the place for a rookery.”
Coun Gilson said he had checked the legality of controlling rooks and that it was permitted under a General Licence issued by the Government.
“The parish council, as the local authority, has the right to employ somebody to act as an agent,” he said.
“There are two types of cull which are effective, which is to shoot the fledglings or, alternatively, the male birds when they are building nests.”
Under a General Licence, rooks and other ‘pest’ species can be legally killed providing the authorised person is satisfied that appropriate legal methods of resolving the problem - such as scaring and proofing - are either ineffective or impracticable.
Any birds must be killed in a quick and humane manner.
Coun Steven Bridgett said: “I don’t have a problem with rooks, just with the number of rooks.
“The population in the village has got bigger and bigger.”
It was agreed to establish a working group to look at possible methods of control, with Coun Gilson acting as chairman.
Suggestions of nest removal and oiling of eggs were discounted by the council as being too expensive.
The committee will report back to the next parish council meeting.
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Weather for Northumberland
Saturday 18 May 2013
Temperature: 8 C to 11 C
Wind Speed: 16 mph
Wind direction: North
Temperature: 8 C to 12 C
Wind Speed: 12 mph
Wind direction: North east