Finally made it back to Brighton thanks to Hurricane Gonzalez. Battling against 100mph winds wasn’t something I was in the mood for after spending four days undercover in Hyde Park investigating a serial killer seagull. For those of you who haven’t caught up yet, I tweeted about it last week as soon as I heard.
This is the story, and this is me working undercover:
Jesus. What a week.
The atmosphere when I arrived was tense to say the least. Pigeons all over the park were extremely concerned they might be next.
No one has any idea which seagull might be responsible, so the threat level has now been raised to Red – the most severe ever – and the pigeon community living and working in Hyde Park is, rightly, very scared indeed.
“It’s terrible.” One said. “We’re all terrified. There’s even been talk that there are pigeons involved. Pigeons kidnapping pigeons, not that I believe it, but some do. Everyone is suspicious of everyone and no one wants to make eye contact anymore. It’s making Hyde Park a really uncomfortable and unpleasant place to work.”
It’s true. Even I noticed it. Pigeons going out of their way to avoid eachother. Something I’ve not seen happen since the bird flu scare back in 2006.
Even though pigeons have been disappearing for five years, the discovery of skinned corpses is a relatively recent thing. Whichever seagull is responsible has developed a taste for blood, which makes the situation even more worrying. During my stay there, three pigeons went missing.
I asked Colin from East Dulwich what he made of it all.
He said the pigeons who lived and worked in Hyde Park were becoming increasingly angry at the lack of action and that something needed to be done, and fast.
“It’s just not safe here anymore, not for anyone.” He went on. “The rising tension is going to ignite any minute. Already a few fights have broken out. Let’s face it, it’s never been particularly harmonious between us and the gulls, but I’ve never seen it this bad. Someone needs to get down here and start looking into who or what is responsible, but nothing like that seems to be happening and we’re just being left to fend for ourselves.”
I asked him why more pigeons hadn’t left the park.
“Oh, they have.” He said. “Lots, but you wouldn’t believe the number of bloody tourists arriving. Since the story went national, pigeons from all over want to come here hoping to catch a glimpse of Gull the Ripper. That’s what they’re calling him. Of course they don’t stay for long and leave well before it gets dark!”
He wasn’t wrong. Literally a few minutes after talking to him I bumped into a group of pigeons who’d flown down from Wigan on an organised tour. They were part of some crime club looking for clues. Couldn’t make it up.
Unbelievable. Still, at least they were trying to help I guess.
So, there it is. The horror in Hyde Park is unfolding on a daily basis. I’ve decided to go back next week to check up on the latest investigations, if there are any that is. At the very least I’m hoping I can raise awareness of their plight.
Mart’s going to come with me this time. Of course he’s wetting himself at the thought of us becoming Pigeon Detectives. He said he wants a monocle and everything. I told him a cape was definitely a step too far.