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Last Updated: Thursday, 28 September 2006, 13:05 GMT 14:05 UK
Holyrood pigeons could go to Ayr
Pigeon (Pic: National Trust for Scotland)
Pigeons have been a problem at the parliament since it opened
Contingency plans have been put in place so that pigeon chicks nesting on the Scottish Parliament building can be moved to a sanctuary 100 miles away.

The cost for moving each pigeon to Ayr, as an alternative to killing them, has been put at 250 per bird nest.

The birds have been a problem at the Holyrood building in Edinburgh since politicians moved in two years ago.

The plan to relocate the birds to Beith has angered politicians, including independent MSP Margo MacDonald.

After initially rejecting anti-roosting spikes as "visually unattractive", officials earlier in the summer installed them as part of the latest initiative to combat the pigeon problem.

However, building managers discovered a nest inside the roof after the metal anti-bird spikes were installed.

For 250 a bird, I will personally wring their necks myself
Margo MacDonald
Independent MSP

Holyrood staff have been monitoring one feral pigeon nesting above the public entrance.

Ecolab, the company hired by the parliamentary authorities to deal with the pigeon problem, believes that the bird should be allowed to stay put, unless there are signs that it has become distressed or is in danger.

'Preferred option'

If a decision is taken to remove the pigeon, the expert contractors will be brought in and the emergency pigeon-removal plan will be put into operation.

A spokesman for the parliament confirmed that they were keeping a close watch on the one particular baby pigeon, while staff have been instructed to keep a look-out for others.

The spokesman said: "The preferred option is to leave the chick where it is until it flies the nest.

"However if it did need to be removed, the trust in Beith is the most suitable centre.

Mike Rumbles
Mike Rumbles is critical of the contingency plan

"The initial cost of removing a chick is about 250. This would include removing the bird and the nest, cleaning the area and transporting the bird to Ayr."

Ms MacDonald, said: "For 250 a bird, I will personally wring their necks myself."

Liberal Democrat MSP Mike Rumbles said: "So now we are having dispersal orders for pigeons are we?

"I think it's about as effective as the Scottish Executive's dispersal orders for people."

Edinburgh-based charity Advocates for Animals, defended the policy.

Spokesman Ross Minett said: "We believe the general public would be supportive to these animals being taken to a wildlife centre rather than killed unnecessarily."

Reaction from MSPs

Pigeons pose a problem for MSPs
24 Apr 05 |  Scotland

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