Yesterday, 12/11/12, a front page article was written in our local newspaper The Reading Eagle, “Invasion of the starlings”. Our Corporate Home Office is located in Reading, PA and not only did this article catch my eye, but it came as no surprise to our Bird Control Division that their phones were ringing off the hook.
For the past few years, starlings have been roosting in neighborhoods throughout Berks County between August and winter. What seems to be an attractive plant is also the favorite roosting spot for these pest birds…bamboo. Bamboo is quick growing and makes a perfect place for starlings to roost in cold weather. The easy solution would be to remove the bamboo, but some bamboo is a decorative and wanted tree in some yards.
A man named Scott Payne was interviewed for the article and he relayed his concern for his family and own health. He has been feeling more flu like symptoms each year when the birds show up. The birds defecate everywhere causing him to power wash multiple times per week; his car, tree, driveway, house, and even his family all need the extra washing! Diseases such as salmonella and ornithosis can be spread by pest birds, the acidity of their droppings can destroy property, and their nests encourage secondary insect infestations.
I contacted our Bird Control Division and linked them to the article, but they had been getting phone calls all morning. Unfortunately, there is no “magic wand” solution for the thousands of starlings, but relief can come in different forms for controlling nuisance birds.
Because of the number of trees in the area, adding spikes to homes wouldn’t prove to be beneficial because the birds are only flying over the houses. Removing bamboo as a form of vegetation management will prove to be a tough job, and the article mentions that “poisons” can deter the birds from returning. But this is not a recommended option because other birds may eat this. What’s unfortunate is that the starlings are chasing away all of the helpful birds who are not pests and help farmers spread seeds for their crop growth in the spring.