Pet shop brings in owls to fend off pigeons
OWLS have been drafted in to keep town pests at bay.Three hand-reared owls are taking it in shifts to stop pesky pigeons swooping on a pet shop and stealing all the feed.
And, now on their sixth day, the owls' mere presence has been a huge success as the pigeons are staying away '” but they are still watching.
Fur and Feathers owner, Lyn Neal, said: "We had half a dozen at a time coming right into the shop and eating the food.
"When I managed to shoo them away another half a dozen took their place.
"There seemed to be about 20 in total who hovered around the shop all the time.
"They are still around, when I arrived this morning there were a handful waiting outside to get in.
"But as soon as the owls appear the pigeons take off."
Ms Neal, who has been at the St Andrew's Market shop for 15 years, noticed the pigeon problem early on but discovered there is not a lot you can do to get rid of them apart from shouting loudly.
But over the years the startle factor has been reduced and Ms Neal was out of ideas until a loyal customer suggested her owls.
Ms Neal said: "Jackie has been coming into the shop since we have been here with one of her hand-reared owls on her shoulder.
"She goes everywhere with her owls.
"When Jackie realised how bad the problem was she suggested her owls might act as a deterrent to the pigeons and luckily, so far, she has been right."
Jackie now brings one or maybe two of her owls to the shop when she can.
"And true enough, when the owls are there the pigeons are not.
The owls are secured by a lead to perches and are quite content with their guard duties.
Ms Neal said: "The pigeons are not silly, they stay away till the owls go and then they swoop in again, but at least we are getting some peace.
"The owls are a huge hit in the shop, sitting on customers' shoulders guarding the shop.
"They wouldn't hurt the pigeons but the pigeons don't seem to fancy an encounter.
"And the owls don't eat the feed."