Murmuration of Starlings

Here's an exerpt from a story from the Daily News Record:

MARYLAND - About a dozen animal control officers from the county gathered Monday night along Phillips Store Road in northern Rockingham County to disperse a murmuration of starlings that has settled there.The officers spent the evening, from 7 to 8:30, setting off a cannon to send the starlings on their way. Others fired starter pistols loaded with fireworks. The idea is to make so much noise that the birds will be discouraged from staying, said Sgt. Felicia Glick of the Rockingham County Sheriff’s Office.

Glick noted that people have been complaining about the birds. "Birds have been roosting on homes and in trees in the Mayland area, creating a nuisance," Glick said. Leona Layman, who lives down the street from where the cannon was fired, is one of the many victims. Across the street is a densely wooded area, which the birds love, she said. Charles Harrison, who lives just down the road from Layman, agreed. The birds have been a problem for the last three or four years, he said. Both Layman and Harrison got in touch with Supervisor Pablo Cuevas, who called in animal experts. They were able to determine that the birds were a nuisance, Harrison said.

Mark Robb, wildlife specialist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, was helping county officials with their efforts. He estimated that this small area was playing host to about 100,000 starlings. Once a murmuration gets this large, the best way to get rid of them is through a major concerted effort, as officials were doing Monday evening, he said.

The animal control experts came armed with several weapons. Some used handheld starter pistols and shot fireworks into the sky, along with noisy "bird bangers." Also, a propane gas cannon set off a loud bang every two minutes or so. The device is commonly used at major airports to keep birds away from the flight path, Robb said.

I give points to the writer of this story for working in a "murmuration of starlings". However, I get the giggles thinking about an expert being called in to determine that 100,000 starlings is officially a nuisance. And, the best way to deal with the problem is a propane cannon going off every two minutes along with starter pistols and fireworks at night...yeah, I can see how that wouldn't be irritating at all.