Swarms of Birds Plague the City of Princeton - WVVA TV Bluefield Beckley WV News, Weather and Sports

Swarms of Birds Plague the City of Princeton

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PRINCETON, WV (WVVA) - Like a scene straight from Alfred Hitchcock's 1963 Horror film, "The birds," thousands of starlings are swarming over Princeton.

Starlings are small black birds with a metallic sheen. The invasive species often competes with native birds for habitat, and in this case, the thousands have clearly won the court plaza building in Princeton as their nesting ground.

Harold Wolfe Jr has a law practice in that building. "You definitely don't want to be out there at night when they swarm in."

Wolfe says that the birds come back to the "nest" around 6 p.m. , circling the building for around an hour. The sound from the birds beating wings and calls can be heard from long distances.

The birds have created concerns for health safety for local employees and residents of the building.

The alley ways are covered in bird waste.

"The bird droppings are the biggest issue," Wolfe said. "I have to have someone shoveling it up daily."

Dead birds have littered the streets below the ivy which grows on the building that the birds have made their home.

The city has received dozens of complaints about the issue. Princeton City Code Enforcement Director Bill Buzzo is tackling the issue. 

"This issue is a priority for the city," Buzzo said. "The conditions the birds have created is unsafe and unsanitary."Buzzo has poured hours into researching these scavenger birds. While filming their swarm he even paid the consequences when they flew overhead.

"They got me."

What he considers a close up look at the massive amount of waste they've spread throughout the street.

"I've seen them swarm here on the city building," Buzzo explained as he showed pictures of the birds landing just outside of his office window.

"They are definitely creating a nuisance."

While the birds are attracted to the building because of the massive amounts of ivy that is growing on it, removing the vines would cost thousands of dollars and extensive damage to the building.

Buzzo says the city is working with local business owners and residents to come up with a solution.

"We are trying to find the best possible solution to remedy the problem."

Because the city of Princeton is a bird sanctuary, it would be illegal to kill the birds so the city is exploring other options.

 

"Everything involves scaring the birds, we don't actually want to kill them," Buzzo said.

Proposed solutions include releasing hawks which can be rented from Charleston. Netting the infestation or even using sonic repellents which send out distress signals have also been considered.

 

Wolfe says scare tactics aren't enough though. He is in favor of using a bird poison, much like other towns have that have faced the same issue.

"They will just go somewhere else and be a nuisance to someone else," Wolfe said. " The birds are the problem and they need to be eliminated."

The city is planning another meeting with locals to discuss the best solution.

WVVA will continue to follow this story and keep you updated with the latest.

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