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Hereford Starlings


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I never knew the Council had a starling distress caller to lend out! ... I'm not sure if this is a joke or whether Marc Willimont (head of environmental health at Herefordshire Council) is sub letting this bird control device out as he said previously that the Council would not get involved ... 'Marc Willimont, head of environmental health at Herefordshire Council, said: "Starlings are protected wild birds so Herefordshire Council will not take any action to harm or control them."' ~ is the quote from the bbc website ... http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-hereford-worcester-26340928

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I love to watch the starlings!

They were amazing yesterday evening over Whitecross.

Its called "murmuration" isn't it, when they all get together and fly as one?

It's one of natures incredible feats, and it's the time of year for it. They are surely no more of a problem than the seagulls,and I certainly wouldn't want any harm or distress to be caused to them either!

Leave the starlings be!

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Just so we're all clear on this one, elderly residents in MacMillan Close have been suffering for about 5 weeks now from the Starlings roosting in the 30' hedge at the back of their gardens on Bulmer's boundary. Before they roost at dusk they circle in an ever increasing flock, called a 'murmuration' because of the murmur sound their wings make as they fly overhead. It is a wonderful spectacle to watch, but not so nice if you live under their flight path, so to speak.

 

The residents therefore asked Herefordshire Council to help them. Several years ago when we had a similar case at Judges Close and then Mortimer Road, the Council acquired a megaphone bird scarer with several types of bird calls, one being a starling. We knew they were a protected species, but we contacted the RSPB to see how we could help the MacMillan residents. The RSPB confirmed that the hedge could be cut down by the owners (Heineken) or a bird scarer could also be used.

 

The Council therefore agreed to lend the caller to Bulmers to help the residents, but only on the basis that they would not harm the birds in anyway.

 

I personally viewed it being used for the first time on Thursday night when the BBC were also filming. I was concerned that all that the scarer achieved was moving the flock up and down the hedge until they were becoming stressed. Also, the birds did not relocate.

I spoke to Heineken's head office on Friday and a joint decision was made not to repeat this and instead 'sit it out' as the birds should depart in about 2 weeks. Also, Heineken will not cut the hedge now as we are in March when hedges are protected by law to safeguard nesting birds.

 

I suggest we therefore all enjoy this amazing spectacle whilst they remain with us, although I also sympathise whole heartedly with the residents of MacMillan Close.

 

Marc Willimont

Head of Environmental Health & Development Management (Planning)

Herefordshire Council

 

Twitter: Marc_Willimont

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A brilliant comment Marc!

Thanks for taking the time to post this update!

I for one am really pleased this decision has been made. Whilst I sympathise with the elderley residents concerned, it IS only a temporary thing.....and a truly beautiful one at that!

 

Great profile pic by the way!

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I ain't sure Im following the logic of this. Im being told that because of past murmurings created by Starlings within and above our once fair City, the Council sanctioned the purchase of a piece of kit to 'distress' Starlings. This piece of equipment is, I understand, reasonably described as a piece of kit called a 'Bird Distress Caller' and its purpose is to distress the Starling, or, if you choose, distress some other bird that features on the dial of this equipment. A Wren or a troublesome Sparrow perhaps!

Now, if I have got it right and Im reading all this correctly, it now seems that the Council have concluded that its not good to use this equipment because it'll distress the birds and bring these creatures torment. Given the bloody equipment has the word 'distress' incorporated into it and its fairly reasonable to conclude that 'it ain't good for birds', why buy the bloody thing in the first place.

Basically, we are now the proud owners of a piece of expensive kit that because of issues of cruelty, we'll never use. Good grief! The same rationale can adequately describe a bloody nuclear missile. 'We've got one but we'll never use it. It's a bloody deterrent'.

Of course the real problem here is, not the acquisition of this pointless purchase but the thinking, the planning and the consultation that would have gone into the decision that was, 'lets buy a bloody Distress Caller.'

I'll bet my neighbours left ******** that before the Council committed themselves to this purchase, they'd have done a number of things. They'd have held meetings. Lots of them. A great deal of paper traffic and electronic traffic would have been generated and there would most certainly have been a couple of trips away to see how the equipment worked, would it provide good value for money and, more importantly, would it scare the life out of the troublesome birds.

Yeah, I know! It's just a Distress Caller, probably purchased for less than a grand, unless they've purchased a bunch of them, but its yet another tiny example of the areas of business the Council have slid into. Pointless issues that are highly interesting to their staff, very expensive to fund and of no consequence to you and I who fund this madness.

This Council should rid themselves of the gimmicks, the foolhardy slide toward areas they've no business getting involved in and get back to bloody basics. Provide us with our dull and uninteresting highly valued public services and get shot of the rubbish.

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For the record, the piece of equipment purchased only cost a couple of hundred pounds I recall. I also do not recall any meetings took place or site visits to buy or test it. Just a simple purchase. That is how we work in environmental health, where resources are slim and getting even slimmer.

 

The equipment paid itself back when used several years back and I am told it helped resolve a problem.

 

The distress call moves birds on, hopefully to a hedge out of the city and people. It is approved for use on protected species by the RSPB. However, the Bulmers hedge is an entirely different situation to those encountered before, as the hedge is so long the birds merely fly up and down it when disturbed rather than away. That is why we have stopped using it, although it was worth trying. That said, it is likely to be used in the future, for starlings or gulls of various species.

 

I must say that I am disappointed with such a barrage of negative comments. Our environmental health department is receiving an astonishingly high number of compliments for Herefordshire from bird lovers and environmentalist countrywide for taking such a balanced and pragmatic approach on this matter. My environmental health officers have recently taken severe cuts in staffing, but despite this have held their heads high and are continuing to work their socks off across the county to keep our restaurants safe, trace outbreaks, keep us safe at work, resolve noise nuisance and maintain the public health of our county in so many unseen ways. They need support, not criticism.

 

By posting this comment I hope to put this to bed... and before anyone asks, as with officer attendance out-of-hours last week, my time posting these comments is for free and hopefully for the benefit of a Hereford residents who rightly want to know what is happening in their neighbourhood.

 

I do not mind challenge as that is healthy, but I shall think twice before posting comments of explanation in the future if the responses are so negative.

 

Marc Willimont

Head of Environmental Health & Development Management

 

Twitter @Marc_Willimont

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What negative comments Marc??

I think if you read through the thread, you'll see that we all love the starlings!

 

Many of us post on here in support of front line public services - some of us work on that front line!

We understand about cuts.

Its needless spending that usually catches our eye - though not in this case it would seem!

Have a catch up on a few of the other threads - particularly at the moment "Hoople". I would be really interested to hear your thoughts and opinions.

 

Take care!

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Mr Willimont, My very warmest regards to you. When you claim that the equipment paid for itself because it was used successfully several years ago, its you using desperate old, tired and worn out public service mantra. It is Marc! It's complete rubbish! Outside of the public service bubble it's rubbish. Undiluted liquid excrement. That's all it is and nobody outside of the bubble you occupy would ever claim that the Bird Scarer paid for itself years ago when it was switched on by some fool and a host of distressed birds flew South to Gloucester. It is complete rubbish. Within the public service sector, facts, figures are spun around, twisted, tickled and turned upside down to produce a 'factoid'. A load of rubbish that, once committed to paper it then becomes the 'truth' and all those within the bubble march behind this truth that just happens to be a load of rubbish and codswallop.

Finally, in response to your quote that from hereon you'll think twice before engaging in dialogue within these pages. I'd respectfully suggest that its unwise to place limits upon yourself. Take as much time as you need.

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Finally, in response to your quote that from hereon you'll think twice before engaging in dialogue within these pages. I'd respectfully suggest that its unwise to place limits upon yourself. Take as much time as you need.

 

I thought that his comment was a bit daft to be honest. Not playing ball to his satisfaction on here so he'll possibly take his ball elsewhere to play. I thought the responses were reasonable, and credit to Mr. Willimont for dipping into the debate with his hands on knowledge of the situation, but to threaten to leave the forum after the grand total of two posts must be some sort of record .... :tongue_32:  

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Mr Willimont, I've just revisited this thread and read my response to you. It reads terse, its probably rude and, with hindsight I should have thought a little before I pressed the button. For my rudeness, I offer you my sincere apology. I am genuinely sorry for my aggressive writing style. Im wrong.

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No Dippy. I'm far to aggressive. You and others make your points with a light touch and I should do the same. Mind, I ain't apologising to bloody Jarvis. Never! I'd sooner engage in acts of illicit love with one of his grazing bovines than ever do that. Never!

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