A battle of wits is being played out at Skipton’s High Corn Mill where a small flock of pigeons has taken on the management – and is winning!

The unwanted pigeons are causing havoc around the car park and outside of the building, aerial ‘bombing’ cars and the historic mill’s roof space with their distinctive deposits.

But despite repeated attempts to move the birds on, mill owner Andrew Mear says he’s fighting a losing battle.

“We’ve tried everything over the past 12 months, but they just won’t take the hint,” said Andrew. “Our first tactic was to use fake owls which are supposed to frighten them off, but they mistook them for friends and just sat next to them.

“Next we decided to use a more aggressive deterrent and bought Harry the Hawk. He swung around on a stick and was actually quite terrifying – but mysteriously vanished before he could see any of them off.

“These birds are cleverer than you think and don’t seem to want to leave us at all. They’ve made a comfortable home at the mill, get well fed by people walking along the nearby canal – and they definitely seem to know me now. Whenever I arrive they give me a look which says ‘What’s he going to try next?”

Andrew’s latest tactic has been to buy special deterrent netting for the roof of the building – but so far that hasn’t done the trick either. He said: “Far from stopping them landing on the roof and creating a mess, they see it as a cosy nesting site and have made themselves even more at home. It’s hard to know what to try next – but the battle goes on!”

High Corn Mill is one of the oldest buildings in the town with over 700 years of history. The ancient mill offers a great mix of quality independent shops and health, beauty and wellness services and located within the heart of the building is the fun, free educational attraction, Waterwheel House.

High Corn Mill