Ian Magee, a 63-year-old man from Somerset, UK, was getting fed up with drivers speeding on his street, doing close to 60 mph on the 30 mph road. So he decided to get creative and take the matter into his own hands.
Magee noticed that speed cameras are a good deterrent to unlawful drivers, since nobody likes to have to pay tickets. Instead of trying to contact the local authorities and ask for them to put up a speed camera (which probably wouldn’t happen at just any random street), Magee decided to put up his own speed camera… if it can be called a “camera.” Reason being is that instead of using a real camera, which would do him no good since he can’t send people speeding tickets, he built a bird feeder designed to look just like a speed camera and put it up from his property so that it faced the road.
“I decided that I would make a bird box, for the birds to nest in, and I would make it look like a speed camera to try and fool people into slowing down,” says Magee. ”It has been great so far and has convinced so many people… Even off-duty ambulances and police cars slow down when they see it.”
And even though there is no actual camera in the box, this bird feeder camera has proven to be effective at slowing down speeding drivers. And aside from making the street safer for the residents and the drivers alike, it has also been great for the birds and bats as they have begun nesting in it.
However, local authorities are split whether this pseudo speed camera should be taken down or not since it is tricking the public and breaches planning rules:
A statement released by the council said: “This is something we are currently looking into as we feel that this kind of object requires planning permission, which it doesn’t have… We also feel the box should be taken down as it is providing unnecessary clutter to the area… It is causing rather a lot of public interest, which isn’t necessary, this is something we want to stop.”
While one side of the local government is opposed to it, the other side sees nothing wrong with the bird feeder camera:
A spokesperson for Avon and Somerset police said: “We have checked it out however it is on private land and as far as we are concerned it is not breaking any rules.”
Aside from the legality of the box, it seems like nature might also be on Magee’s side as Pipistrelle bats have begun nesting in the bird feeder, which are a protected species and would be a problem for anyone that would try to take the box down.
From our point of view, Magee’s actions are reasonable, responsible, and are doing a service to both the community and nature, which should be not frowned upon by the authorities but instead seen as an act of good will for the community.