The building I work in is beautiful. Very old, very grand, sorta gothic sandstone. My office has real windows we can open and there are lawns outside the window. Alas, old buildings are expensive to maintain, the sandstone parapets are broken in places and the facade is cracked and flaking – mortar and finishing are deteriorating all over.
So, I was pleased to see this morning that some workmen had blocked off my usual entry to the building and had erected some scaffold. Was this the start of renovations? The answer was appalling… ‘no, we’re just blocking off the birds nests’.
Each year, we get one or two families of Welcome Swallows building a nest, rearing young, and, as birds are wont to do, pooing on the pavement. When the fledglings are learning to fly, we have to be careful when opening the doors. As far as I can see they cause no harm to the building and little inconvenience to its tenants.
So, for these relatively minor transgressions against brick and mortar, the birds get the boot. When they turn up looking for their usual nesting spot this year, they’ll be confronted with a hunk of galvanised iron and some duct tape, so they’ll have to go elsewhere – preferably out of sight, where they can’t mess up our perfect pavements.
That’ll be something nice for us to look at while the rest of the building deteriorates.