Back in September after a tip off, the pest control company who lied about killing geese in Sandwell were seen in the Sandwell Valley.
Egg pricking at this time of the year would obviously not have been on the agenda, so what were they doing there? We decided to ask Sandwell council a Freedom of Information Request for egg pricking and nest figures for 2016, which would give a four year period of records. It was also decided to ask for more detail about the methods being used to control numbers. Additionally we also asked what other species this company may be being used to destroy on behalf of the council.
WHAT DID WE ASK.
1) In 2016 how many Canada goose nests were identified and at which Sandwell sites were these nests located?
Sandwell Sites Number of Nests
Priory Woods LNR 12
Forge Mill Lake North Island 9
Swan Pool 4
Dartmouth Park, West Bromwich 6
Hydes Road, Wednesbury 0
Smethwick Hall, Smethwick 1
Victoria Park Tipton 4
Victoria Park Smethwick 2
West Smethwick Park 1
Red House Park 1
TOTAL = 62
2) In 2016 how many Canada goose eggs were pricked and at which sites did this take place?
Egg Pricking at Sandwell Sites Number of Eggs
Priory Woods LNR 86
Forge Mill Lake North Island 54
Swan Pool 20
TOTAL = 189
3) In 2016 how many Canada goose eggs were oiled and left in the nests, and at which sites did this take place?
Oiling at Sandwell Sites Number of Eggs
Dartmouth Park, West Bromwich 31
Hydes Road, Wednesbury 0
Smethwick Hall, Smethwick 4
Victoria Park Tipton 27
Victoria Park Smethwick 9
West Smethwick Park 5
Red House Park 4
TOTAL OF ALL EGGS = 269
4) In 2016 how many Canada goose eggs were removed from nests and at which sites did this take place?
No eggs were removed from any nests.
5) Since 2013 has Pestex been hired by Sandwell Council to carry out any services other than the control of Canada goose numbers? If so, what were the other services that Pestex carried out during this time period? Please state all the species that Pestex were hired to deal with throughout this time period, and please specify which methods were used by Pestex to control the numbers of those species.
Rats & Mice – Routine Pest control visits to Inspect and remove Rodent Infestations by means of Rodenticide Bait – Approved Traps and Pest Proofing, to meet British Pest Control Association ( BPCA ) Guidelines and CRRU Stewardship.
Ants – Insecticidal Spray treatment to Infested area with an approved and Suitable Insecticide.
Wasp Nests – Treatment made with and approved and suitable Insecticide or Dusting Powder.
Flies – Supply and Fit Cobra or Viper Insect control unit to area to remove and keep clear. Supply and Fit Fly Screens to windows or doors to prevent Insect access.
Feral Pigeon – Controlled via Proofing works by means of the Supply and Fit of Pigeon Netting or Anti Pigeon Spike where achievable and suitable.
Carry Out a Controlled Pigeon Cull by means of two fully Trained Air Rifle Marksmen to dispatch and remove.
Feral Cat – Removal of feral cat via approved live trapping, vet checked for ID Tag, Health Check, Sterilisation and Re-homed.
Operational Manager – Parks and Countryside – Neighbourhoods
Goose nest and egg numbers.
We learn that in addition to the other formal park sites previously visited by this company that they have in this year included Sheepwash Nature Reserve, and Priory woods Local Nature Reserve, as well as visiting Forge Mill Lake for a second year in a row and where they infamously “released” geese in 2013. This in itself produces questions as to whether this should be happening, given that there are many natural predators at these sites, including the much lauded ” Sandwell Valley Heronry” to which the eggs and goslings are a source of food, and which through their loss could impact on other more “desirable” species that the council purport to support.
Of course the total idiotic mind set of conservationists proposes that it is the geese who are discouraging other more “desirable” species from nesting- though they can offer no direct evidence whatsoever to support this in the form of loss of numbers of other species and a direct correlation that the geese have caused this reduction. It does sound good however to come out with such statements without giving any evidence.
If some bloke decides to set foot in a canoe on an island where several species are nesting side by side, one can only hope that these “desirable” species do not find their nests trampled or the birds permanently scared off.
The figures supplied by SMBC for 2016 as well as the previous 3 years should be taken with caution given that they have been supplied by the company who also lied about their presence at Victoria Park. The figures for 2015 were also skewed by including Forge Mill Lake in the egg treatment, part of which could probably be said to be in Birmingham.
We will look first at the figures between 2015 and 2016, which appear to show a general decrease in both nesting Canada geese and eggs produced at most sites. Overall even with the inclusion of the two new sites, the number of eggs treated by this company fell from 281 in 2015 to 269 in 2016. This of course assumes the company are able to tell the difference between an abandoned egg from the previous year and a freshly laid one, (something which we very much doubt).
The number of eggs per nest at Priory woods appears a little high >7 per nest, and we would suggest that it is highly likely that eggs identified would be from previous years.
IT SHOULD BE NOTED AS BEFORE THAT NOT ALL OF THESE EGGS WOULD HAVE NATURALLY HATCHED AND IF THESE EGGS HAD HATCHED THE NUMBERS OF GOSLINGS WOULD STILL HAVE BEEN FURTHER REDUCED THROUGH NATURAL PREDATION.
|SITE||NUMBER OF NESTS 2015||TOTAL EGGS TREATED 2015||NUMBER OF NESTS 2016||TOTAL EGGS TREATED 2016|
|DARTMOUTH PARK- WEST BROMWICH||9||51||6||31|
|REDHOUSE PARK- WEST BROMWICH||1||5||1||4|
|VICTORIA PARK -TIPTON||6||34||4||27|
|VICTORIA PARK SMETHWICK||2||12||1||9|
|WEST SMETHWICK PARK||2||8||1||5|
|FORGE MILL LAKE WEST BROMWICH||22||144||9||54|
|SWAN POOL WEST BROMWICH||4||18||4||20|
|SHEEPWASH NATURE RESERVE||N/A||N/A||6||29|
|PRIORY WOODS LNR||N/A||N/A||12||
Distinction appears to be made between pricking eggs at the nature reserve sites and oiling eggs at the formal parks, with no eggs being removed to be destroyed from the nest. There is no reason given as to why this should be the case.
Killing other species.
We now know through this request and another recently asked that Sandwell council appear to employ Pestex for their services in the Sandwell Valley area, rather than using their own staff who presumably could control Rats and mice, ants, wasps, flies and “feral cats” as qualified “pest controllers” in the same manner as they do in the formal parks or anywhere else in the borough. The question is why do SMBC employ this company presumably at a far higher rate within Sandwell Valley? We have asked this question of The chief executive of Sandwell Jan Britton.
It seems a little bizarre that SMBC would want to remove a cat from a site where they also report “rat and mice infestations” , but this is a site where they play at farming in any case.
By far the most sinister and revealing aspect of this request was the unexpected
“Carry Out a Controlled Pigeon Cull by means of two fully Trained Air Rifle Marksmen to dispatch and remove.”
The location of this is not revealed, though it is assumed The Sandwell Valley. This also once again exposes the liars Pestex who stated “we don’t kill birds mate” when I asked them about what they were doing in Victoria Park when I caught them rounding up geese.
We are aware that they were used to put up “pigeon deterents” at Lichfield Cathedral last year, but it was conveniently not revealed on the BBC Midlands Today news item if the company had prior to that shot any pigeons that they found there first!
There are of course non-lethal methods available for controlling all of the above without killing, but that is not something which SMBC or certainly not Pestex would ever understand.