City hopes spray works against birds

November 23, 1999

In an effort to convince birds that have been flocking to Hagerstown to take flight, the city will spray grape extract on trees in the downtown area, according to a statement from City Hall.

The spraying will be done Monday and Thursday evenings for three weeks beginning Monday, Nov. 29, to trees along Franklin, Washington, Antietam, Potomac and Jonathan streets and Summit Avenue.

"The grape extract clings to the bird's feathers and makes them feel nauseous, after a while the birds decide to roost elsewhere," City Engineer Bruce Johnston said.

In recent winters, thousands of birds such as starlings, blackbirds and crows have flocked to the downtown area or City Park. On cold nights the birds roost in the trees.


The flocks disperse in the spring.

Last winter the city used grape extract on downtown trees, and an air cannon to scare birds away from the City Park area.

It was not known if the city would use the air cannon again this season.

Johnston said the birds become a nuisance because their droppings dirty the sidewalk, trees and cars.

The weight of the birds can snap tree branches.

"We want to make downtown a more friendly environment for our shoppers and business owners," Johnston said.

- Dan Kulin

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