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Scaring Starlings

by Keely Chalmers

Bio | Email | Follow: @KeelyChalmers


Posted on January 11, 2010 at 10:28 PM

ODOT blasts along the Interstate Bridge.  But it's nothing to be afraid of as long as you're not a bird.

 If you drive, bike or a walk across the Interstate Bridge you can't miss it.  The white splattering that nearly coats the bridge's girders.  It’s the product of the thousands of starlings that make their home on the bridge and make crossing it a game of "dodge the birdie bullet."

"Last night I was riding across the bridge and when I got home I had bird poop on the side of my bike," explained said Victor Howell who cycles the bridge several times a week.

"Sometimes you got bombed and sometimes you got lucky," explained Ron Yankee who also uses the bridge.

  In addition to the "gross factor" the droppings also cause health problems and could potentially damage the bridge.

"The machinery takes the heaviest abuse the cables and the cables are very expensive to replace," said ODOT Bridge Superintendent Marc Gross.

 So after a year off ODOT is bringing back the cannons.  The air cannons won't hurt the birds but ODOT hopes the noise will scare away the starlings, pigeons and any bird that perches on the bridge.  The cannons will go off for about two hours on various evenings from now until March 2nd.  ODOT has posted signs on both ends of the bridge alerting cyclists and pedestrians of the blasts.