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Unwanted lodgers

10 August 2012

IT WAS thought to be one of the biggest birds' nests ever built in Britain. Six feet high and ten feet wide, it had been added to by the jackdaws in the roof of St Margaret's, Moreton Say, in the diocese of Lichfield, for the past four years or more. With the great heap of twigs, leaves, and bits of rubbish "they had effectively built a bonfire," the Rector, the Revd Michael Last (right), says.

The birds could be heard in the church below, and a churchwarden went to investigate. It was not such an easy matter, as the only way to reach the nest was to climb the tower at the west end of the church, and crawl the length of the building, above a lath-and-plaster ceiling. The jackdaws had found an easier entrance, through a broken grill, high above the east window.

The nest had to be removed, Mr Last told me, not only because of the fire risk, but also the unhygienic mess they had made. The nest was found last spring, and the church waited until the birds had finished raising their family before organising the removal. It entailed laying planks along the church ceiling, and dragging all the twigs and general rubbish the whole length of the building and out of the tower. It took three men from Protec Pest Control the best part of a day to do it, he says.

The grill, of course, has been closed up, and the jackdaws, who are currently roosting in the trees, will have to find some other hole next year.

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