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City is ready to battle birds

December 27, 2001

City is ready to battle birds



By DAN KULIN
dank@herald-mail.com


A grape-based spray will be unleashed on trees in downtown Hagerstown as the city tries to chase birds from their winter roosts.

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The spraying will be done on five separate nights between 5 and 7 p.m. beginning Thursday, and ending around Jan. 7, according to a city statement issued Monday.

The spray is supposed to make sparrows and starlings leave the trees. The spray also could annoy crows, said City Engineer Rodney Tissue.

Before spraying, the city will post "no parking" signs in the areas to prevent the spray from landing on vehicles.

The spraying will be done on trees on public property in Public Square, and along the first block of North Potomac Street, the first block of East Franklin Street, the first block of West Franklin Street, the first and 100 blocks of South Potomac Street, the first block of West Washington Street, and the first and 100 blocks of Summit Avenue, according to the city statement.

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Tissue said the spray is made from grape extract and does not kill the birds. He said the spray sticks to the leaves and then gets on the birds.

The birds don't like it and eventually will stop returning to trees that have been sprayed, he said.

The birds are annual cold-weather visitors to downtown, and Tissue said he's been told one reason may be because downtown is a few degrees warmer than the surrounding area.

The flocks of birds leave a mess on the sidewalks and in the trees where they flock. He said the hope is that the spraying will prompt the birds to roost in a less visible area.

The city is paying about $2,500 for the spraying, which will be done by Ehrlich, a pest control company in Hagerstown, Tissue said.

For more information, contact the City Engineering Department at 301-739-8577, extension 125.

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