National Trust conservationists try 'umpteen solutions' that have all failed to problem of birds picking apart roof of Grade I-listed Wiltshire barn
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8:47AM GMT 03 Mar 2016
The National Trust is fighting to save the £100,000 thatched roof of a historic barn at a World Heritage site from jackdaws that tear out the fresh straw to make their nests.
The roof of the Grade I-listed Tithe Barn at Avebury, Wiltshire, was re-thatched just three years ago. But, since then, jackdaws have been picking it apart - but only taking the newly-added straw, which is cleaner and drier for their nests.
Experts have tried several ways of stopping the birds, but they have all failed so far. Conservationists at the National Trust, which owns the 17th-century barn, are trying to find a long-term solution.
"We've tried umpteen solutions to the problem... eventually they've all failed. I'm beginning to tear my hair out. It's so frustrating"
National Trust building surveyor Karl Papierz
Ed Coney, who re-thatched the roof in 2013, called the damage "soul destroying".
He said: "We did the job and were very proud of it and everything was fine, and then slowly it's been pulled to pieces."
The barn was originally a threshing barn and stands in the centre of the famous Avebury stone circle. It is now home to a museum filled with archaeological finds and interactive displays.
National Trust building surveyor Karl Papierz, said: "We've tried umpteen solutions to the problem... eventually they've all failed. I'm beginning to tear my hair out. It's so frustrating.
"We don't know why they are doing this, they only take a few bits for nesting, most is simply pulled and discarded.