After last week’s report on foxes in Eastbourne, we continue our outdoor theme with a look at pigeons and seagulls. Both infest East Borneo, although their public profile somewhat differs.
Pigeons, most agree, are rats with wings. They zip about, dropping their droppings on anyone they can get the drop on. More importantly for me, they utterly befoul my balcony. For this, they must die, and we’ll get to that.
Seagulls, on the other hand, are a different kettle of fish. They inhabit seaside towns such as this one, although we had them in London too. They also use my balcony as a toilet and make an infernal racket. I’ve often wondered why we don’t eat seagulls. Hell, we eat almost everything else that flies, and seagulls are bigger than most fowl. And fouler.
Various solutions to this problem have been suggested. Someone said a plastic owl would put these winged terrors off. Great. Then I’ll have plastic owls all over my balcony, hardly a desirable solution.
I did think of employing a team of crack marksmen with silenced air rifles (you can see I’ve spent time on this), but the cost would be prohibitive, plus my local authority might take umbrage at bird carcasses cluttering up the seafront. If I ever win the lottery, I’ll go the marksmen route, but for now I need something cheaper.
A friend came up with an idea. The word ‘ingenious’ barely scratches the surface. Obtain, he said, quantities of bread, mustard and baking soda. Tear the bread into fairly small pieces and fill each one with the hottest mustard available. I already own both these items, so we’re off to a flyer, as the seagull said to the pigeon.
Insert into the bread a dose of baking soda, the man said. Place the pieces on the balcony and sit back to watch the fun.
It works like this (if it works at all). The seagulls swoop down and swallow the bread. (I’ve seen seagulls swallow large things whole, without chewing, so it might work. Pigeons, on the other hand, peck at stuff, so I’ll need a different solution for them.)
The seagull then flies off. As its stomach digests the bread, the bird feels the hot mustard kicking in. It’s painful and requires an immediate solution. Water, thinks the seagull, I must have water. (They’re very linear thinkers, seagulls.) What have we an abundance of in Eastbourne? Water, that’s what. There’s a huge body of the stuff 100 yards from the balcony. Into the Channel dive the seagulls, taking on water and, since baking soda explodes on contact with water (my friend says): KABOOM!
If my pal is right, this solution is elegant because the birds die at sea, and the animal rights people don’t come round and beat me senseless (having no respect for human animals).
That just leaves the pigeons. If you have any small, personal nuclear devices to hand, let me know. Or large ones: then I could deal with the people in the hotel next door. Just kidding. Sort of.