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Birds invade Bridgeport block

August 26, 2010 4:41:24 AM PDT
They are loud and have all but taken over the neighborhood. Thousands of starlings are filling the skies, the trees and telephone lines in Chicago's Bridgeport neighborhood.

The popular bird mentioned in Shakespeare is back for the second year in Bridgeport in the 3200-block of South Parnell. Residents say hundreds of birds are in all the trees and bird poop is covering sidewalks and cars.

"I can't even wash my car, because if I park underneath them these trees, in the morning it is covered with bird poop," said Bridgeport resident Roger Peacock. "In the morning it sounds like a forest. They're squawking all night long."

"The birds came and there was a flock, like 200 or 300 hundred birds. They just started landing on the trees up above us," said Bridgeport resident Anthony Yolich. "A lady was saying that if a bird [pooped] on you, you would have good luck, and then a bird [pooped] on my wife."

Typically, hundreds of these birds will overnight in the same trees, then during the day they go out and look for food.

Doug Stotz, a senior conservation ecologist at the Field Museum, is an expert on the starlings. As it gets colder, he says, they go south to warmer climates.

"Birds come back to the same place year after year. As long as conditions are the same, they will come probably have the starlings come back every year," said Stotz. "There is a possibility of disease associated with the droppings, but it is not a huge probability."

Bridgeport residents say that this is the second year that they've had to deal with the birds in this area. They're sick and tired of it. They want the city to do something about it.

Streets and Sanitation says that it's simply a seasonal migration problem.

"These birds are ridiculous. You can't even walk down the block, because you have to walk with an umbrella if you do," said Bridgeport resident Antonella Frustaci. "They're just insane. They should definitely cut some of trees down or something."

"If you cut down the trees, there's no place for them to roost and they usually go somewhere else," said Stotz.

Stotz says that the birds will be gone soon.


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