Meet Hartlepool's 'crazy bird lady' - who moved to Hartlepool from Sweden and loves our pigeons

A Hartlepool student who moved to the North East from Sweden has become well known around the town for her love of pigeons.

Monday, 16th May 2022, 5:23 pm
Updated Wednesday, 18th May 2022, 9:49 am

Margareta Akermark, 22, from Stockholm, moved to Hartlepool two years ago and is often seen surrounded by the birds as she feeds them.

She even has her own pet, an Old English tumbler pigeon called Anastasia.

Margareta found a love for the birds last year when considering a pet parrot, before instead choosing to go for a pigeon, which she got from a local aviary.

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Margareta Akermark with Pigeons in Victory Square. Picture by FRANK REID

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After falling in love with Anastasia, Margareta was keen to help pigeons around the town when she noticed people would often feed them bread, which, contrary to popular opinion, is not an ideal dietary choice for the birds.

She said: “Birds are extremely intelligent. Not just logistically but also emotionally.

"A lot of people don’t realise but pigeons all have very individual personalities and I find them so fun to be around. When you earn a bird's trust you know you’ve earned it so it’s very rewarding.

Margareta Akermark with Pigeons in Victory Square. Picture by FRANK REID

“I started feeding birds in the town about four months ago when I noticed most people give them bread, which isn’t actually good for them.

"Having my own pet pigeon I’ve learned a lot about bird nutrition and wanted to give the birds in town a chance for a more healthy life.

"I’ve grown very attached to them and by now I can identify a lot of the individual pigeons and have my favourites. It makes me happy.”

Margareta, who studies costume design at the Northern School of Art, enjoyed the experience of taming and training her own pigeon and often leaves bystanders looking in amazement as she is surrounded by flocks of birds around Victory Square.

Margareta Akermark with Pigeons in Victory Square. Picture by FRANK REID

Instead of bread, Margareta feeds the pigeons specialist racing pigeon food, which she says gives them the nutrition they need.

She added: “My friends call me the crazy bird lady but I just love doing it and love the rewarding feeling that I am making a good difference to their lives. It makes me really happy.”

If being surrounded by the creatures wasn’t enough, Margareta has also become recognisable for her love of the colour pink, which she regularly dons from head to toe.

Margareta Akermark with Pigeons in Victory Square. Picture by FRANK REID