Those hawks, though, have found another place to rest their claws. No one knows why. Since then, the place has really gone to… the other birds.
With no predators around, the pigeon population proliferated. So did the amount of pigeon droppings that rain down from the ledges where they perch on the 12-story building.
The droppings have become such a problem that the city hired an animal control company to move the birds. The city has also paid to have the windows power washed three times. Some city staffers have relocated important meetings because of the unsightly office windows.
“It’s gross,” city spokeswoman Lori Crouch said. “You can’t have a meeting in your office when your windows are literally covered in poo.”
So far, the animal control and cleanings have cost $24,000, with another $6,700 job coming after the holidays, according to the city. The power washings, which likely will continue every week or two, cost $1,600 apiece.
City staffers see the humor in the ordeal. One joke involves a new nickname for the building. (Hint: It rhymes with City Hall.)
For a holiday gift exchange, Crouch received a “bird poop survival kit,” including Windex, a squeegee, wipes – and a bird ornament.
Another staffer got a bird feeder.
A company named ACME Animal Control has been trying to resolve the issue since August. But, in some respects, things have gotten worse.
ACME installed bird spikes around the top floors of the building where the pigeons roost to deter them from sticking around. While some have taken the hint, the rest have gathered on a panel just below the building’s roof.
“Every place we spiked pushed them up higher and higher,” said David Freeman, director of the city’s General Services Department.
“And as they started going higher, the poop problem started getting worse.”
Freeman described a “splatter effect.”
“It has a lot more intensity when it hits something,” he said.
The windows on the 10th and 11th floors on the north and east sides of the building take the worst of the waste.
After the holidays, the city will add another round of spikes and hope that does the trick, Freeman said. If not, it will look at other options.
“It’s been a cat-and-mouse game,” Freeman said. “We’re winning all these battles and eventually we’re going to end up winning the war.”
Of course, Freeman wouldn’t mind a little help. A hawk would be a welcome addition to the neighborhood.
“They certainly would not starve,” Freeman said. “There would be plenty of food to eat.”
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