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Aston Villa sign new defender..and he's one for the birds

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  • NeverSayGoodBye's Avatar
    8,239 posts since May '05
    • THE football club once managed by Vic Crowe has been getting the bird over its latest signing.

      Gee the harris hawk is Aston Villa’s newest recruit and the team’s feathered friend is keeping the pitch in tip-top condition after magpies were spotted swooping on the pristine grass surface and digging holes in the hallowed turf.

      Bird of prey Gee was brought in from Tamworth-based pest control firm Envirochoice by Villa Park grounds manager Jonathan Calderwood to scare away the black and white predators.

      He said it was normally crows which created problems for ground staff, but Villa Park had been free of that hazard for some time.

      Previously Jonathan used large ornamental owls to keep invaders at bay but now a real bird is proving to be far more effective.

      Mr Calderwood said: Jonathan said: “The worst problem you could have is with crows who cause major problems with the grass roots.

      “But over the last few months we’ve had problems with magpies trying their luck with our pitch.

      “They are not after food, like crows, but they are inquisitive creatures and dig holes in the turf which isn’t great.

      “I think they are attracted to the ultra-violet light machines that we use through the week.

      “They perch on them and then swoop down on to the pitch.

      “We contacted our pest control department and they brought in Gee, who has done a marvellous job.

      “He’s just one of the team now.

      “He’s become a popular character – he’s like one of the groundstaff.”

      Gee comes into Villa Park three times per week – generally Monday, Wednesday and Friday – and he will continue to work with the grounds staff while magpies continue to patrol the skies around.



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