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Last Updated: Tuesday, 20 January, 2004, 11:06 GMT
Birds unmoved by hi-tech scarecrow
Electronic scarecrow
Ultrasonic sound and strobe lighting is designed to drive the birds away
A hi-tech scarecrow brought in to chase away a flock of starlings troubling a west Wales town has so far proved less than frightening.

The electronic device, which produces flashing strobe lights and replicates sounds made by birds of prey, has been up and running near the Tesco store in Carmarthen since Thursday.

But the hundreds of starlings in the trees near the supermarket's car park seem oblivious to its presence.

A small area of the car park has now been cordoned off to prevent vehicles being covered in droppings and the smell and mess caused by the birds is as bad as ever.

With a lot of these deterrents the birds just get use to them
Julian Hughes, RSPB

Carmarthenshire council installed the gadget, which cost about 500, after complaints from residents and shoppers about the stench.

But officials are refusing to concede defeat in their attempts to get the birds to move on.

Head of public protection, Philip Davies, said staff were experimenting with the frequencies of the sounds made by the device to try to find one that does the trick.

"We are still testing the equipment to find the best way to move these birds on," he said.

"We are also continuing to take advice from various sources."

Tesco car park railings
The mess left by the starlings looks - and smells - terrible

Council workmen have been using power washers to try to keep the area clean, but due to the numbers of birds involved they are fighting a losing battle.

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds said flocks of starlings were a common sight in urban areas at this time of year, but their numbers had declined dramatically.

Spokesman Julian Hughes said: "With a lot of these deterrents the birds just get used to them.

"They are used to traffic noises, the sounds of clattering bins in the morning and bright lights.

"There are times when there can be an issue from the public health point of view but in many instances I think we've just got to be a bit more tolerant."

Hi-tech scarecrow tackles stench
14 Jan 04  |  South West Wales
Bird survey is 'wake-up' call
13 Jan 04  |  Northern Ireland
'Polluting' starlings bawled out
23 Aug 02  |  England
'Red alert' for garden birds
16 Aug 02  |  England

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