A colony of nuisance rooks in the Asser district of Marsdijk may be chased away with bangs and flashes of light. The province has granted the municipality of Assen a temporary exemption for this. Chasing is allowed between June and October.

    The rook is a protected bird and may not be hunted or chased away according to the Nature Conservation Act. But the rookery at the Beekdalhoeve children’s farm on Andrej Sakharovweg causes so much screaming that local residents suffer health damage. The province acknowledges the nuisance and gives the green light for disruption of the noisemakers.

    According to behavioral biologist Diederik van Liere, who has been engaged as a rookie expert by the municipality, the repelling of rook pairs may only take place once the young have fledged. He expects this to take another two weeks. “The young of the rooks must first fly. They are not yet that far. But as soon as I have established that, the colony can only really be disturbed,” says Van Liere. “Because the rookie must be able to save themselves.”

    In Marsdijk, 159 rooks’ nests were counted, spread over eight locations, 59 of which were nests at the petting zoo. Residents have been complaining about nuisance for years. Last year, the municipality already wanted to use several measures to combat smoke nuisance in the residential area, and needed an exemption from the province for this. In the end, that didn’t happen, because suddenly 74 nests had disappeared from the main colony.

    Now that the rookery has once again firmly established itself in that location, it is still allowed to intervene. Three local residents are given the task of disrupting the rooks as soon as there is a nuisance. They are first trained in this. Chasing away is allowed a few times a day. It concerns the periods from sunrise to ten o’clock in the morning, and in the evening from six o’clock to sunset. The repelling of the birds is evaluated every two weeks.

    The intention is that the rookery, startled by the flashes of light and bangs, is discouraged from using the pedunculate oaks around the petting zoo as a place to rest or spend the night. Because as soon as the sun comes up, the birds start to scream, which greatly inconveniences local residents. They are woken up early, especially in the summer. Some residents have serious health problems as a result.

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