Fontannaz upsets Dawkins over bird scares9th July, 2012 by Martin Crummy
Founder of Origin Wines Bernard Fontannaz has upset the world’s most famous atheist – Professor Richard Dawkins – after he put up bird scares in the grounds of his £4 million home.
Dawkins is angry about his neighbour in north Oxford putting spikes in trees and using plastic owls to scare off birds to protect his cars from droppings.
“I have no wish to be a bad neighbour but I am one of many people in the street who has seen the spikes and were upset by them,” Dawkins told The Daily Telegraph newspaper.
“I love birds. They are great national treasures. Our English garden birds are a heritage worth preserving and those spikes are hostile and very unpleasant and could injure the birds.
“They are very unsightly. Not the owls so much but the spikes are extremely unsightly. If everyone had spikes on the trees it would be a disaster.”
But Fontannaz said Dawkins is over reacting, “It’s very simple. There is a lot of pigeons here which deposit a large amount of droppings in the parking area. They were making a big mess on the car and causing damage. It’s better now. It’s not solved but it is better.”
He said that he had seen the spikes in London and had them installed in his tree.
“It was done by tree surgeons with proper care and expertise,” he said. He denied they were an eyesore. “When the tree is green you don’t really see the spikes but when there are less leaves it looks a bit funky,” he said.
“There are plenty of trees in my garden – it’s not like they are deprived of resting areas.
“If anybody has a better idea I’m open to it. It’s not nice to have your car covered with the droppings all the time.”
He said that Prof Dawkins had not approached him about his concerns.
“He doesn’t care about God but he cares about the birds?” he said. “They should come and see me.”