Christine Foreman, notorious as the Birdwoman of Shirley after her neighbours in Wickham Road lodged so many complaints that she was served with an ASBO ordering her not to feed pigeons in her own garden, is due to be back in court again this coming Friday, May 27.
Her fame could really take wing soon, though, with an independent television production company looking into making a documentary about this latest example of English eccentricity.
According to a couple of nearby residents, the interest of the TV company has done wonders to encourage local politicians to actually take an interest in their concerns. “We tried to get our MP interested, but he was a washout,” one resident said.
“Then when I called the council, the police and the MP about the TV company and told them that I was going to name and shame them all, my phone did not stop ringing for two days. Gavin Barwell phoned me twice and said he was going to speak to Steve O’Connell.”
The full force of the law has not deterred Foreman from putting out bird food, which has attracted a flock of more than 100 of pigeons who roost on the roof of her home and on neighbouring houses.
In our quaint suburban way, we all like to put out bird feeders in our gardens, the one at the back of Inside Croydon Towers ensuring that we have some of the fattest squirrels in western Europe.
But Foreman has taken this to an industrial scale, her pigeon flock creating mess and nuisance for others in her neighbourhood that have seen complaints lodged against her behaviour for more than four years. Last year, she was in court twice, once to be served an ASBO, a second time for breaking it.
Foreman, who is in her mid-50s, has said that she is scared that if she does not feed the birds, they will starve.
Given that when he was Mayor of London, well-known newt fancier Ken Livingstone passed a public ordinance that banned the decades-old trade in bird corn in Trafalgar Square because of the nuisance of the feral scavengers when concentrated in one small area, it becomes more understandable how upsetting hundreds of pigeons around one house might be.
Since her ASBO last year, Foreman has put raised fencing around her garden to block neighbours’ views of her bird feeding frenzies. “There were fewer pigeons for a while,” one neighbour said, “but now they are building up again, there are more than a hundred now. They stay on Christine’s roof and fly down into the garden all day.”
Unless someone could “borrow” a peregrine or two from where they have nested in Quadrant House in Sutton to provide an entirely holistic solution to the problem on Wickham Road, it seems likely that on Friday, Foreman’s pigeons may come home to roost yet again.
- Pigeon Control – A Must for Commercial Property Managers (pigeoncontrol.wordpress.com)
- Youth services: Shirley meeting for volunteers, May 24 (insidecroydon.wordpress.com)
- Feeding the Birds (coosaw.wordpress.com)