Birds take over Bridgeport block

October 13, 2009 (CHICAGO) Hundreds of Starlings have taken over trees in the 3200-block of South Parnell in the city's Bridgeport neighborhood. Residents said the birds are keeping them from going outside.

Bridgeport resident Paul Piraino thinks the problems might have to do with inoculations against the Emerald Ash Borer that were given to the trees by city workers, but officials say that's not the case.

"It just seems ironic that the only trees that the birds are flocking to are the trees that have been injected with whatever," said Paula Piraino, resident.

However, the City of Chicago Street and Sanitation Department, which said the bird problem is due to migratory flight, where the birds congregate in clumps of trees to look for food. Matt Smith of the Chicago Dept. of Streets and Sanitation said the nuisance is nothing new.

"We see this every year. We have talked to the Audubon Society and other people- and it's a waiting game… The colder it gets, the more likely they will be flying south for winter and leave these poor people alone," said Matt Smith, Chicago Dept. of Streets & Sanitation.

Starlings are known as pesky, loud birds.

"If they weren't seen as sort of a pest, we might look at them as somewhat exotic and beautiful," said David Willard, who has collected several samples of the birds for the Field Museum. Willard said it might take a deep freeze to get the birds to move on.

"It just depends on what the weather is like. If it is really severe here, they might move further south," said Willard.

Starlings can be an even bigger nuisance in places like Rome, Georgia, or Real Foot Lake, Tennessee, where the birds number 20 million.

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