People have expressed outrage over a "war on wildlife" after anti-pigeon spikes designed to stop cars being defecated on were spotted on tree branches.
A photo of the spikes, which have been installed along the branches of two trees hanging over a car park in Clifton, Bristol, was posted online by self-professed "nature lover" Jennifer Garrett. She said: "Our war on wildlife: now birds are not allowed in trees...?! Pigeon spikes spotted in Clifton, Bristol above a car park. Has anyone seen this before? How is it allowed?!" The post has been retweeted more than 1,400 times since Monday morning (18 December).
People were unimpressed with the method of deterring birds, which has been installed on private property despite initial blame being fired towards the Labour-run Bristol City Council on Twitter. Similar spikes are being used at other properties in the area.
Donna Rainey said: "We have reached a new low. Appalling!" Twitter user Barrhead Birder added: "Really this is so crazy, you couldn't make it up could you. I mean stopping birds from perching in trees, whats next - maybe ban them from flying."
Nature writer James Common described it as "quite possibly the most idiotic thing I've ever seen this year". The act was also dubbed an invasion of the birds' natural habitat.
Kerry McCarthy, MP for Bristol East, said it "seemed very odd" and confirmed that local councillors are looking into the issue, although it is on private land.
It was later confirmed that the spikes were put in the trees by Hillcrest Estate Management, the management company of nearby Bartlett Court flats, to protect residents' cars in their car park. In a statement reported by the BBC, they said: "Bird detritus can cause permanent damage to the paintwork on cars if not removed promptly and the worst affected leaseholders wanted action taken to try and improve the situation."
The company reportedly tried other means to deter the birds, including fake birds and noise deterrents, before first installing spikes in 2014. They said they were forced to protect residents' "expensive cars" from roosting pigeons at the "prestigious development".
Anti-bird spikes, normally used to prevent soiling at potential roosting sites such as guttering, window sills and ledges, can be bought on Amazon from just £4.58 per metre.