One of the Ward’s residents self management companies was recently in touch about how to control a localised Ring-necked Parakeet menace attempting to take over parts of their building.
Mr Tony Bull, the London Borough of Hounslow’s Principal Animal Control Officer was approached for this expert control advice; he said that similar problems occur on certain buildings and estates across the borough.
All bird control in England is governed by The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and by General Licences issued under it by DEFRA that allow for the control of certain bird species in certain circumstances. In this case we would be looking at General Licence GL35 allowing certain controls to protect public health and safety.
The Ring-necked Parakeet is not listed on that licence so any control of eggs, chicks or adults can only take place if a Special Licence has been applied for and granted. Such licence will only be granted by DEFRA if it can be demonstrated that any other methods of non-lethal control have been tried and failed or if they are inappropriate for any reason. Even then it is likely that a licence will only be granted in exceptional circumstances where it is not possible to await the end of the nesting season.
Property owners are therefore left with attempts at exclusion at times when the birds are not nesting. Methods need to be resilient because the beak of the parakeet is exceptionally strong and as members of the parrot family, they are also very intelligent birds and good at problem solving.
Screens to protect cavities from intrusion need to be of decent grade steel and screwed into place; repair of tile roof or block and cement wall needs to be with high grade materials to help prevent further problems.
Without Licence proofing of vulnerable areas with high grade materials during times when the birds are not nesting is the only available solution.
Foxes are not specifically protected like birds but they do enjoy the general protections of other animals in the UK. Tony Bull kindly gave advice on this matter too.
Foxes cannot be legally poisoned or gassed, they can, however, be trapped or shot. Once trapped they will need to be humanely despatched rather than released elsewhere otherwise there may be contraventions of Animal Welfare legislation. There are problems with both methods of control in that trapping could see cats and or other wildlife trapped instead of foxes and the problems of shooting are obvious in an urban environment.
Foxes are highly territorial and their numbers are high and if foxes are removed from a territory then it will quickly become reoccupied due to population pressure from adjacent areas. Attempts to reduce numbers is costly and must take place over a very wide area for a sustained period in order to be effective.
Hounslow Council’s position has been to advise on how to minimise nuisance and in the form of this leaflet. If a particular fox is causing a problem that cannot be tolerated then there is scope for action to be taken. This would generally be through a specialist company with trained and licensed shootists.