HC Deb 19 November 1962 vol 667 cc805-6
21. Sir J. Duncan

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he is aware of the recent evidence collected from the lightships off the East Coast of England that there is a migration of wood pigeons from the Continent of Europe; and what additional steps he intends to take to deal with this pest.

Mr. Soames

I am told that a few wood pigeons arrive on the East Coast of Britain in most autumns. Occasionally, as in 1959, large numbers have been recorded, but even these are relatively small in relation to the resident population. It seems that these birds eventually emigrate from the South Coast. As a result of the intensified drive against wood pigeons, 340 rabbit clearance societies have mounted shoots this year compared with 163 in 1961. There has also been an intensification of nest destruction and our experiments with narcotic baits are being continued.

Sir J. Duncan

Does my right hon. Friend appreciate that these migrations from the Continent are much bigger than his Ministry will ever admit and that the article in Country Lifelast week shows that very large numbers of pigeons come in? As scientific evidence must be available about how homing pigeons home, would it not be possible to have some scientific means of diverting wood pigeons from this country by some form of radar or radar communication?

Mr. Soames

That seems to me to be an interesting proposal, but it is a question which had better be addressed to my noble Friend the Minister for Science.

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