Pest expert has solution for pigeons filling cathedral with toxic and acidic droppingsChrist Church Cathedral with toxic and corrosive droppings could be stopped with a large net, a pest expert says.
Jeremy McCalla, of MCC Property Services, said pigeon guano mounting up inside the cathedral could have turned acidic, damaging the stone floor of the heritage building.Dozens of pigeons have made a home in the earthquake-damaged church while the western end of the building is open to the elements.
Pigeons use century old timber beams as a roosting spot. The totara is marked from their toxic and corrosive droppings.
Roof beams made from totara and matai trees felled on the Banks Peninsula about 140 years ago are now roosting spots for the birds. The sandstone floor quarried from Mt Somers in the 1870s could be sustaining damage from their acidic droppings.
McCalla said bird scarers or falcons would not keep pigeons away for long. He said the best option would be a large net over most of the building to keep them out. He estimated that would cost tens of thousands of dollars.
“It would have to be netted right over.”It could definitely be done, but it wouldn’t be cheap.”
McCalla said the pigeon droppings could be causing major damage to the historic building.
“Pigeon poo is highly damaging to any surface it comes into contact with, especially over years. We are talking five years now. We will be looking at inches of faecal matter in there,”
“Over a period of time the guano becomes acidic to certain materials. It can damage concrete and steel. Stonework or any ceramics will be affected by the faeces.”
McCalla said the guano would have to be carefully removed as it can be hazardous to human health when it is disturbed and becomes airborne. The droppings contain salmonella, fungus, viruses and bacteria.
“It can be quite nasty for people,” he said.
“It would be a huge clean up in there. They have been in there a long time and have taken it over. It has become a natural roost for them. I imagine there would be quite considerable damage caused by that.”
In May last year an offer to weather proof the cathedral for $40,000 was rejected by the Anglican diocese.The diocese did not respond to requests for comment. – Stuff