Doves inhabiting Southbourne homes and church ‘might be culled’

Lynda Craig with the doves on her roof.ks171130-1 SUS-171031-192537008
Lynda Craig with the doves on her roof.ks171130-1 SUS-171031-192537008

A woman whose house has become overrun with birds says she’s at her wits’ end.

The extension roof of Lynda Craig’s Southbourne property is home to more than 20 white fantail doves and around ten pigeons.

The Doves on the roof of Lynda's Southbourne home.ks171130-4 SUS-171031-192514008

The Doves on the roof of Lynda's Southbourne home.ks171130-4 SUS-171031-192514008

She says the birds moved in last year after neighbours began feeding them.

They are also causing problems for neighbours and the nearby St John’s Church.

Lynda said: “A few doves managed to get into the roof and then more moved in and had babies, now the situation is out of control.

“I’ve been told it’s illegal to move the babies and no one has been able to take them.

Some of the birds are also in the belfry of St John's Church in Southbourne

Some of the birds are also in the belfry of St John's Church in Southbourne

“They are beautiful birds, completely tame and trusting. They sit on your hand and come up to my windows but you can’t imagine the mess.”

Lynda says she has to hose her garden patio every day and clean the roof weekly.

Five racing pigeons have also taken up residence.

She says despite ringing every bird rescue centre for miles, none have so far been able to take them.

“There are mixed views amongst locals, some want to keep them but others want to cull them,” Lynda said.

“I could drive 50 miles away and release them but they wouldn’t survive.

“I’m just not geared up for looking after them, so my main concern is finding them a new home where they can flourish in a more suitable environment.

“Otherwise they will have to be caught and euthanised, it’s a horrendous situation.”

It is understood the birds were living in the belfry of St John’s Church before it was wired off and the doves flocked to find a new home.

Some have now made their way back into the church.

A spokesperson for the Diocese of Chichester said: “There is indeed an issue with birds both in the church and neighbouring properties.

“We are currently seeking advice to reach the best possible solution, both to protect the buildings on an ongoing basis and deal with the birds in an as environmentally friendly a way as possible.”