Shropshire Star

'Dead chicks everywhere': Councillor calls for investigation after contractors cut down 'dangerous' tree

Angry residents launched a desperate wildlife rescue bid after contractors cut down a 'dangerous' tree leaving 'dead chicks everywhere'.

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Owners Connexus, a rural housing group, has 'thanked the public' for bringing the issue to its attention, apologised for 'upset caused' and launched an investigation.

But the anger is palpable. A councillor who went to the scene in Ludlow said there was 'decimation' with an apocalyptic scene as magpies attacked other birds and others were 'buried' by piled up garden waste.

A shocked Councillor Tracey Huffer visited Sandpits Avenue on Tuesday afternoon with her husband Richard as the local uproar began.

Environmental damage in Sandpits Avenue, Ludlow. Contractors have caused uproar by cutting trees in the area during the nesting season. Pictured is Councillor Tracey Huffer and Councillor Andy Boddington. Picture by Phil Blagg Photography. PB111-2024

"There were dead chicks everywhere. It was a scene of decimation," said Councillor Huffer.

"Pigeons kept coming down looking for their chicks. When we spoke to a contractor he was disinterested and said 'so what'."

Picture: Supplied

Ludlow councillor Andy Boddington said young trees, bushes and brush was cleared and in a single day, blackbird, robin and pigeon nests were disturbed and fledglings killed, including by magpies.

But the response from the community when they saw what was going on has impressed Councillor Huffer.

She said police and residents of the Sandpits estate were trying to rescue nesting birds that had been buried under garden debris, branches, wood cuttings, soil, and bushes.

It is understood that empty housing was being cleared in preparation for long-awaited refurbishment.

"The community alerted me to what was I can only describe as a heartbreakingly destructive wildlife scene," said Councillor Huffer.

Picture: Supplied

"When I arrived I was quickly shown young nesting birds rescued in boxes.

"Young children were desperately pulling at branches trying to get to the young birds buried underneath. Their parents re-assuring them that help would arrive shortly."

She added: "What ensued was a massive community effort well managed with the men folk moving the heavy stuff, although in our hearts we knew our efforts were some what lost in the enormity of the task.

Environmental damage in Sandpits Avenue, Ludlow. Contractors have caused uproar by cutting trees in the area during the nesting season. Picture by Phil Blagg Photography. PB111-2024

"We did find empty nests and two nests with live birds one pigeons and the other blackbirds, these were taken away for further care by the RSPCA.

"I am told lots of the young birds disturbed from the nests were attacked by magpies despite efforts by residents to help keep them away."

She has called for an investigation.

The RSPCA has been contacted for comment.

Sara Woodall, director of customer experience at Connexus, said: “We had reports of rats in the garden of an unoccupied house at Sandpits Avenue, so we asked our contractor to clear and tidy the overgrown garden. On arrival they found and removed a dead tree which was potentially dangerous and cleared other overgrown vegetation.

Environmental damage in Sandpits Avenue, Ludlow. Contractors have caused uproar by cutting trees in the area during the nesting season. Picture by Phil Blagg Photography. PB111-2024

“Following the clearance, we were made aware that there were birds' nests in the vegetation and thank the local community for bringing this to our attention, alerting the RSPCA, and helping rescue wildlife. We’re conducting a thorough investigation into what happened and want to apologise for the upset caused.

“We’ll also be working with our contractors, so they’ll be better able to spot potential nesting sites in the future.

“As part of our commitment to the regeneration of Sandpits Avenue and surrounding areas we will be planting native hedgerows, mature trees and taking other action to increase the available habitat for local wildlife.”

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