Hawk called in to halt train station pigeon menace

A Harris hawk has been called in to tackle the pigeons at the train station.
A Harris hawk has been called in to tackle the pigeons at the train station.

A Harris hawk has been called in to tackle the pigeon menace at Whitby railway station.

The bird of prey called Jazz is being deployed twice a week to deter the birds from using Whitby Railway Station as a home and covering the platform with droppings.

The action follows growing concerns about the state of the Grade II listed station which has undergone significant investment in recent years.

Jean Thornton, of Church Street, Whitby said: “How disgusted I and my husband were while taking a shortcut through Whitby Railway Station.

“The station was in a neglected state ... and there was bird mess everywhere. I think this station needs someone watching over it.”

The owners of The Waiting Room Pub in the station also posted on their Facebook page this week asking customers to use the front entrance to the station due to the volume of pigeon droppings on the platform floor.

Lisa Williams, marketing manager for the Esk Valley Railway Development Company, explained that action is now being taken to improve the appearance. She said: “There is such a terrible problem with pigeons in the station and until we have planning permission to put up netting, we thought we would try using a Harris hawk. St Pancras Station has done the same to scare the pigeons.”

She added that the erection of netting to stop the birds is imminent, subject to planning permission, and an application to introduce CCTV cameras has also been made.

As the station is a Grade II listed building, the cameras and netting require planning permission.

Signs are also being produced by Northern Rail reminding people not to feed the pigeons and a deep clean is planned.

The Harris hawk is handled by falconer, Neil Halley from Whitby Falconers.