Thousands of pigeons have invaded a small town in Scotland – coating roofs, streets and pavements in droppings and feathers.
Frustrated residents in Alva, Clackmannanshire, have hit out at council officials for failing to take action to remove the birds after they claim they have been hit be a ‘plague of pigeons’.
It is thought the birds are looking for a place to roost after the demolition of a former pub, the Alva Glen Hotel, which had lain empty for years and where they had taken residency.
A small town in Scotland has been invaded by a swarm of pigeons, which have coated roofs and pavements with droppings and feathers
But it was recently knocked down after it was discovered that drug barons had been using it as a cannabis farm in 2009.
Residents have complained that persistent problems include pigeons taking to balconies and that roofs of buildings are being covered in feathers and droppings.
Frank Cairns, 45, a local publican who lives and works in Main Street where most of the birds have settled, said: ‘It’s an absolute nightmare. It’s like we’ve gone back to the Middle Ages with street hygiene.
‘It will harm trade, no doubt about that. It gives us a harder job to keep the place clean.’
His sister Katrina Cairns added: ‘We have had to clean the gutters three times to clean out the pigeon mess. It is all getting dragged in here.
‘School kids are walking along the street, walking it into shops, the school, their houses.
‘I know the council said they are sending a cleaner along the street, but the mess is still there. The disease it brings – they are not exactly clean animals.
It is thought the birds are trying to find somewhere to roost after their previous home – the Alva Glen Hotel – was recently demolished
‘It’s not great, you have to try to avoid it in the street.’
Graham Johnston owns a watch shop and has many of the pigeons roosting on his roof: ‘It is annoying. Someone must be feeding them or they’d be away by now.
‘There is droppings all along the pavement. It’s horrible. The mess gets brought into the shop from the pavement outside. There is nothing being done about it.’
James McDonald, 64, who lives opposite where the hotel used to be, added: ‘It’s not very nice, the mess in the street is horrible.’
George Horsburgh, former secretary of Alva Community Council, who is also part of the Alva Community Action Group, said: ‘This has infuriated many residents of Alva who are worst affected, in particular residents of the flattened dwellings in The Wynd.
‘The residents there have to put up with many of the pigeons roosting on their balconies overnight and part of the day, making them unusable to the residents, some of them have resorted to fitting strawberry netting across the front of their balconies to prevent the pigeons from gaining access.
‘One older lady constantly complains that they roost on her window ledges and wonders why no action has been taken.’
Residents have complained that persistent problems include pigeons taking to balconies and that roofs of buildings are being covered in feathers and droppings
The derelict former hotel was bought and flattened by construction firm Murdoch Smith last year after it was branded an eyesore, due to its state of disrepair and problems surrounding the maintenance of the building date as far back as 2006.
Local MP Gordon Banks agrees the pigeon issue is causing distress for many people, and believes the situation has been a long time coming.
He said: ‘There can be no doubt that there are hundreds of pigeons displaced from the old Alva Glen Hotel and such populations are an obvious result of buildings lying empty and falling into disrepair, so the problem has been a long time in the making.
‘Now that their roost has been destroyed these birds are in the open and can often be seen swarming in their hundreds in the area.
‘The council’s hope that they will naturally disperse does not seem to have much support and I hope there is some way that the council will rethink their position and investigate methods for dispersal.
‘This is a problem where buildings are allowed to fall into disrepair and impacts other areas of the county as well, so I look forward to the council being more proactive on empty buildings in the future.’
Another resident said: ‘As soon as they took the roof of the Alva Glen Hotel, the town was hit by a plague of pigeons flying around wondering where their home had gone. They had all been roosting in the attic.’
Clackmannanshire Council said it had been concerned about the potential for problems from pests from the site and, in advance of the demolition, had investigated options for culling the birds.
A spokeswoman for the council said: ‘Due to animal welfare legislation we were unable to net the buildings as it would have trapped the birds inside and due to the poor state of the building we were unable to gain access to poison the birds.
‘It was expected that the pigeon population of Alva would decrease as the air temperature dropped and the pigeons are forced to find new sheltered spots for roosting at night.
‘The persistence of birds during daytime is indicative of food being put out for the birds during the day.
‘The council has investigated a number of reports and spoken to those responsible.
‘To reduce the impact off the pigeon droppings on the pavements of Alva, the council has organised extra street cleansing and also arranged for high powered jet washing of the worst affected areas.
‘Council officers will continue to monitor the situation, and consider further action should the issue persist.’
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