Shooting pigeons in city centres

[Music] You can take the man out of the countryside,
but you can not take the countryside out of the man. Roy Lupton has taken a deep breath,
had his jabs, and left the Garden of England to go up to the Big Smoke for a dirty job. We are in central London at the moment. We
are not allowed to disclose our location. There is a hell of a problem that they have
got with pigeons. And as you will see in a minute they are defecating over everything.
Over the windows, over the pipework, over the pavements. For a shopping centre, especially
the food outlets, it is not overly hygienic. It is a contract which has to be done in combination
with working the birds to scare the pigeons and shooting a few of the pigeons as well.
So we are here tonight to try and reduce the population a little bit. But when you are
used to walking around with grass under your feet, coming to central London is a bit of
a shock to the system. London is under aerial assault from pigeons
and parts of it are covered in guano: carparks, walkways and shopping centres like this one.
The thing is, Londoners are so used to it, they have stopped noticing. But the birds
are a real problem and by using hawks one week and air rifles the next, Roy is trying
to keep his avian foes in check. Now it is very, very odd isn’t it. Right in
the middle of an urban environment here, so we have got high raised flats and shopping
centres and what ever else surrounding us. And obviously when we are taking the shots,
you are making sure that you have got a solid backstop as you would with any other shooting.
So we are shooting into the wall making sure the pellets don’t go a rye anywhere. And again
we are only using sub 12ftlb air rifles. Obviously we are here, pigeon coming in. Here to do
a pest control job and so we are trying to get as many as we can as quickly as we can.
And down he goes and you can see that the pigeons are so used to seeing people that
even after a shot, 30 seconds later more pigeons are coming in so it is literally stand on
the same point and they will just come in land again and away you go. So my neck is
craning all over the place as there are pigeons all around us. It is just absolutely mad. Just like in any shooting situation Roy has
to be absolutely sure about shot placement. He also needs to find the most stable position
to take that shot. In London, tree trunks become sign posts or concrete pillars. Five-bar
gates become brick walls or wheelie bins. We are using the same techniques for shooting
as we would in any other situation and the same rules apply and obviously in a situation
like this safety is paramount and you have got to make sure you can account for where
every single pellet is going to end up. But yes, it is exactly the same. You are getting
a good solid rest, you are looking for the shot and you are trying to take the safest
shot possible. Normally when I am shooting pigeons I try to go for head shots. When we
have been doing it tonight I have been doing a lot of chest shots. Just because you have
obviously got a little bit more margin for error and the birds are dropping down so as
long as you are shooting through the vitals, the spine or what ever else, they are dropping
nicely. Exactly the same you have got to have the same amount of respect for the animals
that you are shooting and accounting for. You just have to make sure that the shots
you are taking are as efficient as possible. Now you may notice Roy’s pest controller mate
is blurred out. The poor lad is so frightened of attacks by anti-hunters, he specially asked
to be left out of this film. Back to the story, instead of merging into
his natural environment like a chameleon Roy is wearing his clubbing gear and sporting
an Air Arms airgun for tonight’s antics. It attracts attention from the police and shoppers
alike. High are you alright? What are you doing? We are doing pest control. OK. A young woman questions Roy’s parentage and
makes further suggestions about what he could do with himself, but he has heard it all before. I think it is the same whenever you come into
a position of conflict regarding shooting or field sports or what ever else. As long
as you are polite and try and explain your side of it, really that is all you can do
and hope that they understand. And really not take too much umbridge with it. Very interesting. A few distractions do not deter the man from
finding his ferals and the bird bag is building. They are being knocked off their perches from
every angle, sometimes in front of passers-by. We know his urban transformation is almost
complete when locals start asking him for directions. Yeah, you are fine. No problem. They think you are a traffic warden. I know. The birds find sanctuary everywhere. This
centre has spent thousands on netting and big spikes, but the ferals are not easy to
keep on top of. Some are even using safety glass to keep out of reach of Roy’s pellets. You can see here some of the mess and damage
that has been caused. Especially in an environment like this where people are walking through.
They will pick up the mess etc on their feet. And up here you can see where the pigeons
have been nesting and it is a complete health hazard up in the rafters with all the messy
material and years of detritus which has built up in there as well. It is a haven for muck
and disease. So again another high light of why this work has got to be done. The guys both enjoy using the hawk for jobs
like this – keeping the pigeons on their toes or what remains of their toes. Now and again
we chance it and throw a light across the buildings to see if the birds will stay put.
Some do and they don’t see what’s coming. It’s all thanks to a new torch Roy has been
given to play with. This has been absolutely invaluable tonight.
This is night master by Tack Light and we have been sent it to have a go with. And we
were going to try it out on the foxes. It is meant to throw out the same sort of beam
as a conventional lamp would that you plug in and it is just a little hand held torch,
absolutely superb. The beam on it is brilliant. Obviously it is very odd it has got a square
beam there so you can see I think it must have a filament in there. From what we have
seen so far I am looking forward to having a play with the foxes. Right let us go and
find some more pigeons. It’s been a quite extraordinary evening – walking
the streets of London with rifles, popping off ferals. As we leave our superhero to his work, we
can all sleep safer knowing he is making London a cleaner, better, even safer place. Just
shine the bat-signal into the night sky or, better still, give Roy a ring,and he will
come and clean up pigeons round your shopping centre too.


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