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Bucklesham: Damage to spire caused by woodpeckers

15:37 20 July 2011

Tim Voelcker points out the damage.

Tim Voelcker points out the damage.

Archant

They are the driller killers which are wreaking havoc on a church’s tower.

The birds causing the damage, believed to be green woodpeckers, have pecked more than 40 holes in the wood shingles on the tower at St Mary’s – causing thousands of pounds worth of damage.

Jackdaws have also nested in the tower and 17 rubbish sacks of bird nesting debris was removed as a result. When the tower was checked over, it was discovered there was also rot in the timber.

It is thought the cost to repair the tower and replace the wood shingles will be around £20,000 – and now the church is launching a fundraising drive to get the money to fix the tower.

Canon Geoffrey Grant said: “Builders had to go up and check the damage. This revealed rot in the main framework and some movement in one of the posts. We are now waiting on reports from a structural engineer on the damage and how best to repair it.”

The church kicked off their major fundraising appeal at the Bucklesham flower festival, which raised just over £1,100.

The cost of the initial work is expected to be around £7,000 and replacing the shingles and rotten timber will amount to a further £12,000.

In 1999, green woodpeckers caused more than £30,000 at St Mary’s Church in Great Henny, Essex, after male woodpeckers used the spire as a sounding board to attract mates.

David Wardle, the church warden at Bucklesham, believes the birds have been causing problems in the church tower for around ten years and now has plans to stop them.

He said: “They have caused a lot of damage. In total it will cost around £20,000 to fix and hopefully we can put a mesh sheet near the top of the tower as well to stop the birds getting in so we won’t have to do this again.”

It is hoped that the church will be eligible for grants to repair the rotten timber and the shingles. Church leaders are currently in the process of organising more fundraising events which will help them reach their total.

Do you know of other birds causing mischief? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk.

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