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It’s stories like this that keep me from completely giving up on the Mother Country:  BBC Hawk Kills Pigeon As Staff Look On.

When the BBC spent tens of thousands of pounds on three Harris Hawks to protect staff from pigeons and gulls at its new £1billion headquarters in London, it promised that no birds would be harmed.  However, yesterday it emerged that earlier this year BBC staff watched as one of the birds of prey made a kill outside the entrance of Broadcasting House and refused to return to his keeper.

You see, the hawks had been specially trained only to give the pigeons a good talking to.  Bad hawk! Naughty hawk!

Ann Mann, a campaigner from the London pigeon group, said the BBC was wrong to kill pigeons. She said: “It is disingenuous and wrong, the hawks don’t care if the pigeon is killed. The pigeons only real crime is the speed at which they breed.”

I have no idea what the “London pigeon group” is.  Wouldn’t that be akin to the “New York City rat group”?

The BBC hired the hawks – Scout, Travis and Rio – last year to create a “no fly zone” around Broadcasting House. The corporation said that pigeons and seagulls posed a “health and hygeine risk” to both staff and the building.

Don’t these people know that getting hit by a bird bomb is supposed to bring good luck?

The birds of prey, which have a wing span of up to three metres, are released early in the morning three times a week to deter pigeons from perching or nesting. The BBC refused to disclose the cost, but hawks used to keep Trafalgar Square pigeon-free have cost up to £60,000 a year.

You know, you could probably arm a bunch of kids with sticks and squirt guns and get them to shoo the pigeons out of Trafalgar Square free.  Heck, they’d probably pay for the privilege.  Just saying.  Speaking of such things, the Mothe insists that Winston Churchill once suggested that gulls might be trained to land on German U-boat periscopes and poop on their lenses.

A spokeswoman for the British Falconers’ Club said: “They are birds of prey and they are designed to kill things. A spokesman for the Hawk Board said: “It would be killed very quickly. It’s quite likely that the one it went for was a bit weak or old and sick.”

So not only did the hawk commit murder, it also violated several anti-discrimination laws.  Hate crime!

The RSPCA warned last night that birds of prey should never be used to contain the soaring numbers of feral, urban pigeons. “They should not be used as a mechanism to reduce populations by killing,” said a spokesperson.

I thought the RSPCA was spending all of its time, energy and monies harassing country folk who want to hunt Mr. Fox.  And aren’t those people into eco-friendly technology?  What could be better than natural methods?

A spokeswoman for the BBC said that as far as the corporation was aware no pigeons had been harmed or killed.

Ah.  It’s not the crime, it’s the cover up!  Pigeon-gate!!

Some time in the past year somebody put me on to gCaptain, a website devoted to maritime industrial news, but which I read mostly for its Maritime Monday threads of nautickal trivia.

Anyhoo, perusing it as I do, I’ve several times now come across headlines such as this one:  Salvors Board Grounded Kulluk.

What grabs my attention with these headlines is the use of the word “salvors” to mean “salvage experts”.  It seems strange to my ear.  Is this a term of art in the industry?  Oughtn’t the word to be “salvagers”?

To me, a “salvor” would be somebody who applies a salve, although in that case it would be spelled “salver”.

“The salver salved the savage salvor with a salvaged salve.”

Try saying that five times fast.



Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

I hope you all had a pleasant weekend?  The one at Port Swiller Manor might have been described as…..chaotic.

You see, although the actual date isn’t until next week, the youngest gel had her eleventh birthday party on Saturday.  For the occasion, she invited all twenty of her little classmates from St. Marie of the Blessed Educational Method over to the house for fun and frolic….And all twenty of them came.   Furthermore, two of them stayed on for a sleepover.

Never again.




UPDATE:  With home-based massive kiddie parties, I mean of course, not with the youngest gel.  Please do not call CPS.


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January 2013