Falcons are to be introduced in the skies over the ancient Roman Colosseum in a bid to scare away birds that are pecking away at the 2,000-year-old stone facade.
Seagulls, ravens and blackbirds are thought to have been the cause of several recent incidents at the iconic arena where masonry has fallen away, narrowly missing passers-by and tourists. Officials are already in talks with several pest control firms to bring in the falcons, which are seen as the most effective way to reduce the number of birds which nest in the nooks and crannies of the Colosseum. In recent months the numbers of birds flying above the Roman monument has increased considerably. Many are using it as a nesting ground and also peck away at the stone work and hideaway stores of seeds and food. Experts say that the seeds which are left germinate, working their way into cracks in the stonework and helping to loosen the stone used by an army of workmen to construct the Colosseum, due to undergo a 20 million Euro restoration. The problem has been compared to the classic Alfred Hitchcock’s 1963 thriller The Birds starring Rod Taylor in which a Californian town is terrorized by a sinister and evil looking flock of ravens and crows.