Netting danger revealed as RSPCA have to rescue two trapped pigeons in Peterborough

The dangers netting can pose to wild birds has been highlighted after two pigeons became trapped and had to be rescued from the same location in Peterborough.

Tuesday, 9th March 2021, 10:54 am

The RSPCA was contacted on two separate occasions about the same block of flats where the pigeons were spotted trapped in netting in Viersen Platz, Peterborough.

On both occasions the fire service and RSPCA helped free the birds. The first was rescued on February 26 and was released at the scene, while the second bird - rescued on February 28 - was taken to the RSPCA’s East Winch Wildlife Centre for treatment and then later released back to the wild.

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The pigeon was trapped in netting

RSPCA Inspector Rebecca Harper said: “In 2019 we had around 2,000 reports made to the RSPCA about wild birds trapped in or behind netting. A major cause is bird-deterrent netting.

“Bird deterrent netting can be an effective way to keep birds off structures, as it can prevent problems without needing to resort to other measures such as killing birds. But problems arise when netting is installed without a regular maintenance contract in place, is put up incorrectly or becomes damaged or eroded in the weather, leaving gaps where birds can enter and become trapped.

“These birds can suffer a long and painful death from injury or starvation. Unfortunately bird-deterrent netting is often fixed in high or hard-to-reach areas, making the rescue of trapped animals difficult and dangerous and many people do not regularly inspect or maintain it.

“While the use of netting to prevent birds nesting is legal, it’s critically important that it is properly installed and regularly maintained.

The released pigeon

“Intentionally trapping wild birds may be an offence under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 as well as potentially under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 if the birds suffer unnecessarily, and if it continues to happen despite the building owners being informed of the issue.

“We have contacted the management company of these flats and hope that they will follow our advice so we can prevent further incidents like this in the future.”

If you have seen dead birds in netting, or if you are aware of a regular issue of birds becoming trapped in netting at a certain location, the RSPCA ask residents to forward the address, property owner (if known) and date of the incident to [email protected]

If you see a live animal entangled in or trapped behind netting, please contact the RSPCA’s cruelty and advice helpline on 0300 1234 999.