How to Help a Pigeon Trapped in Netting
The death toll is rising. All across the country in public spaces – outside shops, at train stations or under bridges – pigeons are dying in pain after becoming trapped in netting designed to deter them.
Often, netting doesn’t effectively keep birds away, but it can cause them to become fatally entangled. As much as they struggle, the pigeons can’t escape in many cases, and, suspended in mid-air, they die a slow, agonising death from starvation or strangulation.
Seeing these animals suffer is extremely distressing – but you can take action to help them. You can do the following if you see a live bird trapped in a net:
- Check to see whether there is any way that you can safely help the bird escape.
- Report the trapped animal immediately to the shop, council or organisation responsible for the netting. It has a legal responsibility to release the trapped bird and prevent more birds from getting trapped.
- Call the RSPCA’s Cruelty Line on 0300 1234 999, Irish SPCA Cruelty Helpline on 1890 515 515, or Scottish SPCA Animal Helpline on 03000 999 999. Give as much information as you can about exactly where the pigeon is and his or her condition. Ask that an inspector visit the location.
- Take photographs as evidence.
For ongoing problems, such as places where you have seen birds repeatedly becoming entangled, in England and Wales you can also e-mail the RSPCA at firstname.lastname@example.org, call your local wildlife police on 101 or contact the council.
Groups are campaigning to get these nets banned, but in the meantime, helping trapped pigeons is an example of everyday activism that anyone can do, and it really can save lives.
Another way to help these gentle, loyal birds is to join our campaign to end cross-Channel races, in which each year, thousands of pigeons perish, exhausted, alone and far from home. Send a message to Defra today asking for a ban on this cruel sport.