Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Local News

August 31, 2013

Dealing with bird infestation

Cleaning has become a daily ritual

For residents of the Holiday Mobile Home Community, sweeping up bird droppings and cleaning the windshields of their vehicles has become a daily ritual.

Unlike in the Alfred Hitchcock movie “The Birds,” these feathered foes are not attacking humans but inundating them with fecal material.

Owners of the mobile home community have hired Critter Control to try to chase the birds away.

“It’s bad,” Dale Chasteen, a five-year resident of the community, said. “There’s droppings all over the sidewalk. It has to be swept every day. We’ve always had birds out here, but nothing like it is this year.”

He said the droppings are requiring residents to clean the windshields on their vehicles on a daily basis, and vehicles aren’t the only target.

“My wife sat out on the porch the other night and she got bombarded,” Chasteen said. “She had to come in and take a shower. It was in her hair and on the side of her face.”

European starlings are considered nuisance birds, and aren’t even native to North America, said Carl Wilms, manager of the Mary Gray Bird Sanctuary. They can roost in numbers greater than a million, though residents at Holiday Mobile Home Community’s guesses at the size of their resident flock ranged from 1,000 to 5,000.

Darrell Brower, a nine-year resident, said the bird problem started about five years ago, but has never been this bad.

He said the birds are around during the day, but the situation gets worse at night when the starlings roost.

Tim Dale, owner of Critter Control, is using something called a bird cannon, a handheld device the emits a loud boom, and a laser light to try to deal with the problem.

“We’re doing bird harassment,” he said. “It should be pretty effective. We’re trying to retrain them to go someplace else.”

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