Starlings

Years ago, living in Chattanooga, my house was invaded by Starlings. They found a hole in the eave and built a nest, essentially in my bathroom ceiling. You know how they say “the early bird gets the worm”? Well, I do not want the worm, nor do I get up early, unless I’m going fishing or something, in which case I will gladly purchase the worms from the ‘early bird’. Unfortunately, my little avian invaders and I weren’t on the same page in this regard. They were definately early risers, and noisy little buggers to boot.

I tried ignoring them, I tried chasing them away, finally they pushed me beyond rational thought and I went to K-mart, bought a pellet gun, hunted them down, and killed them (then returned the pellet gun for a refund… take that, K-mart!)

Now, if these had been Robins, Cardinals, Wrens or any other of a multitude of ‘good’ birds, I would have called whoever you call about such things and tried to have them relocated.

But they weren’t, they were Starlings! Introduced, non-native avian vermin pushing out the native songbirds, looking ugly and making way too much noise.

Anyway, I’m telling you that story to set up this story, from Chattanoogan.com:

Grape Attacks On Starlings Begins Monday Evening
posted September 9, 2005

The attack on swarms of starlings in downtown Chattanooga begins next Monday evening, City Forester Gene Hyde said.

Continuing for three straight nights, the city of Chattanooga will be using the services of a company called “Flockfighters” which specializes in dispersing populations of nuisance birds. The goal is to try to persuade the starlings to find new roosting sites away from sensitive downtown locations, it was stated.

For approximately 30 minutes each night around dusk Flockfighters will be fogging selected starlings roosts with a food grade ingredient which is derived from Concord grapes. This material persuades the birds to leave the area. The effects are temporary and felt only by birds. Humans and other mammals may detect a pleasant grape scent but are not otherwise affected, officials said.

Because the small fogging machines are quite loud, the city will divert pedestrian traffic around the treatment areas for the 30 minutes these machines are in use.

Fogging operations will be conducted in the following areas:

1. The intersection of Broad and Second Streets.

2. The 1200 block of Market Street.

I’m curious to see how well this works. Although, somehow I don’t think I would have derived the same sick pleasure from spraying the little bastards with grape juice that I did from shooting them. But that’s just me. Plus when you’re dealing with tens or even hundreds of thousands; well, that’s just too much shooting.

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