A man has been slapped with a fine of close to £1,000 for keeping pet pigeons which are louder than a passing aircraft. A neighbour said the birds’ cooing was making her life so miserable, she and her husband had been forced to try relocating.
The owner of the birds, Adam Pidgley, 70, used to live amicably with his neighbours until he saw an online advert offering the flock of birds.
Prior to acquiring the birds, he has been keeping rescued chickens, tortoises and rabbits, as well as around 50 fish and a dog. He converted a shed behind his two bedroom detached bungalow to house the 15 birds. That was when the disagreement began.
According to the prosecutor, a complaint was first made about the birds’ noise in April 2020. The local authority then launched an investigation to assess the level of disturbance.
Barrister Duncan Milne, prosecuting for New Forest District Council, told Southampton Magistrates' Court:
On the morning of January 7 environmental health officers heard about 300 incidents of bellowing and cooing. They suggested [to Mr Pidgley] reducing the number of pigeons to 10, removing eggs and relocating them to another area.
The court heard that Mr. Pidgley agreed to move the pigeons and keep them in their housing until late morning, explaining that feeding them was part of his wife’s Hindu religion.
But further recordings found 30 incidents of noise - described as unrelenting - which amounted to a statutory nuisance. Sound recording equipment was installed in March. They observed that the pigeons were the dominant and persistent sound, and it could be heard over ambient noise such as refuse collection and planes overhead.
Get Used to It
The neighbour who filed the complaint said others in the community told her to get used to it and were not willing to do anything about it. She told of how they tried to sell the property, so they could get away from the noise.
But Pidgley, the retired street cleaning supervisor and grandfather, insisted he took the necessary steps to keep the noise down. He said:
My other neighbours have no problem whatsoever with them - and they are closer to where they are kept. [the complainant] even asked another neighbour to back her up, but they said they didn't want to get involved... It has caused a lot of bad feeling all round.
Magistrates ordered Mr Pidgley to pay a fine of £500 and £450 in costs - a significant reduction from the £4,389.89 the council sought.