Greedy London pigeons are a threat to our songbirds

High above the tallest spire of the Old Holborn Infirmary, an illusion of St Elmo s Fire lingers fleetingly but my eye is drawn to the spectre of numerous pigeons roosting diurnally on the trees nearby. Their omnipresence in our urban landscape is a grow

High above the tallest spire of the Old Holborn Infirmary, an illusion of St Elmo's Fire lingers fleetingly but my eye is drawn to the spectre of numerous pigeons roosting diurnally on the trees nearby.

Their omnipresence in our urban landscape is a growing threat to the survival of songbirds, whose numbers have dwindled owing to the ravages of denuded shrubbery and the loss of fruit trees in our cities.

The sparse foliage is an invitation to rapacious pigeons, endowed with superb vision, to home in on and ingest with remarkable rapidity, any grain or birdseed we have scattered for the sustenance of endangered birds slow to adapt to feeders, or wary of them.

Gone in the numbers I was once accustomed to seeing in London are the blue tits, coal tits, song thrushes, chaffinches and robins.


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Gone, too, are the sprightly squirrels whose playful gambols were a treat to the eye whilst serving as a subtle signal to small birds that all was safe in the milieu.

In the sylvan setting of the Archway Park, an unfamiliar tableau is being played out.

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Old acquaintances are being usurped by their brasher surrogates as the arborial bio-diversity of Archway Park changes forever and something beautiful dies.

Walter Roberts

Henfield Close, N19

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