Grieving mum left heartbroken after birds destroy baby’s grave for second time

A second bird attack inside a year has left Danielle Stoneman demanding action (Image: Danielle Stoneman WS)

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A mourning mum is demanding more is done to protect her baby's grave after a second devastating bird attack.

The birds destroyed the memorial to tragic Reuben Carter Stoneman a year after they pulled apart a number of graves.

Ornaments, pictures and flowers placed at gravestones were left scattered across the cemetery and originally vandals were blamed.

But it was soon discovered that crows, seagulls and blackbirds were responsible.

PlymouthLive reports Danielle Stoneman visited her son Reuben's grave at Ford Park Cemetery, Plymouth, and found that it was "destroyed again" last week.

Last year, Ford Park Cemetery Trust said that staff at the cemetery go to "great lengths to ensure that the cemetery and graves are maintained to a respectful standard".

She says the animals are being encouraged to visit with new bird baths put up
(Image: Danielle Stoneman WS)

But fed up Danielle now believes that birds are being encouraged to visit the site.

The mum, who lost her baby boy at one-day-old in September 2015, after having placenta previa during her pregnancy, visits Reuben's grave weekly with her children.

"We take pride in looking after their brother Reuben," she said.

"It’s heartbreaking as a parent to see our babies graves in such a state every time we go."

Recently, a bird bath has been installed at the cemetery and Danielle feels it has made the situation worse.

"The trust at the cemetery has reported its birds that ruin our babies graves," she said.

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"But now they have put a bird bath there which is encouraging them.

"These are our babies. We don’t get to hug them or care for them like everyone else that’s lucky to have their child alive, but looking after their graves is important.

"It’s not respectful to us parents encouraging the birds by placing the bird bath there now to ruin the graves."

One of the trustees explained to PlymouthLive that the cemetery is proud of its unique wildlife and that last summer when the problem was discussed, "one simple solution" was to provide baths so that "access to water was simpler".

This was hoped to deter the birds from destroying the flowers, as when it is hot, the birds "try to get the water out" of the flower pot.

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"I know it's hard to believe because they scatter the flowers, the birds take them out with their beak and they just throw it," the trustee said.

She added that the trust has worked hard to ensure that the site is tidy.

She said: "I've spent hours up there, I've sat up there and watched, I've taken photos, we've fought hard to keep this cemetery open.

"We have worked really hard to make this a nice place, it is a wildlife place as well. We've got badgers, rabbits, so when people complain and won't believe what you're telling them."

The Trust undertakes education work with the community and Plymouth University is currently carrying out a study, which includes the unique wildlife of the cemetery.

A meeting will now be held at the cemetery, where everyone can express their concerns and meet with the chairperson.

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