Bridgeport residents overwhelmed by birds

October 12, 2009 (CHICAGO) Bridgeport residents in the 3200-block of South Parnell say they're sick and tired of the birds. They contend that the city of Chicago came out six weeks ago and injected something into the trees that attracts birds.

Between all the squawking and bird droppings, residents say they can't spend much time outside.

"We hear this constant noise, and the birds are constantly flying around, swarming, and doing their business, laying excrement all over the cars, on the sidewalk, in the street. We basically can't walk down the sidewalk without getting hit by these birds," said resident Paul Piraino.

Area residents tell ABC7 they have contacted the city about the problem but have not received a response.

The city released the following statement when questioned about the birds:

"The problem has nothing to do with any treatments the trees received. It is entirely due to the seasonal migration of birds that are not native to North America.

"Our Bureau of Forestry visited the site first thing Tuesday morning. We also reviewed our records. The Forester on site confirmed that the problem is due to migrating birds, in this case Starlings, that have taken up temporary residence in these trees. We see this problem, in varying degrees, every year. We have also discussed it at length with the Audobon Society. Typically 100's of these birds will overnight in the same trees, them during the day they go out and look for food. As it gets colder and stays that way the birds tend to move southward to warmer climates.

"About the only way to deal with the problem is for foresters to go and trim the horizontal growing branches on the tree which reduces the number of places these birds have to sit. This seems to keep them out of the tree, but they just move to the tree next door. Unfortunately most of these trees are so small that our people believe they will die if we do such trims. And removing the trees would just cause them to move to other trees nearby until they eventually move on.

"You can also totally eliminate the theory that the birds are somehow attracted to the trees by inoculations that we administered. Over the summer every ash tree in that neighborhood had been inoculated along with thousands of others citywide in an effort to protect the trees from the Emerald Ash Borer. If the problem was due to the insecticide, which it's not, there is no reason why it would only be a problem on this block. Plus the insecticide that we use is specifically designed to kill insects inside of a tree so that they would not emerge and become a threat to birds or other creatures that prey on insects. So the theory that our inoculations would attract birds "just doesn't fly."

"Incidently, we queried the 311 system and found no complaints about these birds in the system. There was only one dead bird complaint from 9/14/09."

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