Fighting a losing battle, conservationists at the National Trust of England desperately try to save the thatched roof on a 17th-century barn in Wiltshire. The Tithe Barn in Avebury, Wiltshire houses a museum dedicated to the historic Avebury Henge. Local jackdaws, birds of the crow family, refuse to leave the roof alone, RCI reported.

See, Ed Coney re-thatched the barn in 2013. Yet, the new thatch job only lasted six months. Jackdaws pulled straw from the roof for no obvious reason. In 2016, The Telegraph reported that the birds were removing straw to use for their own nests. It seems the birds never actually used the straw for their own nests though. Actually, they just pull straw out of the thatched roof and discard it for no apparent reason.

Coney called the birds’ destruction “soul-destroying.”

Typical Pest Tactics Fail To Protect This Thatched Roof

Plus, no preventative measures help. Conservationists tried scarecrow techniques, netting, and coating. Yet, nothing works to stop the birds from dismantling the thatched roof. Even decoys like wooden falcons don’t work for long. See, eventually these intelligent birds realize they are being fooled.

“We’ve tried umpteen solutions to the problem…eventually they’ve all failed. I’m beginning to tear my hair out,” Karl Papierz told The Telegraph as the National Trust building surveyor.

The building holds archaeological finds and interactive displays that educate the public about Avebury Henge. Conservationists don’t understand why the birds keep taking the straw from the thatched roof.

Plus, Jackdaws are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 along with crows and rooks. So, even if the National Trust wanted to kill the birds near the barn, they couldn’t. Also, it’s illegal to remove the birds’ nests which are near the barn. Hey, maybe it’s time for a Somerset roof.

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