“The town’s got birds in it, and they poop.”
No one disagrees with that assessment by Pine Island Mayor Rod Steele, but how the city deals with the issue is another matter.
Mary and Tom Bollman along with Nathan Tiarks, who own the buildings at 222 and 218 S. Main St., in Pine Island, asked the city council Tuesday to help them pay to get rid of the birds — a flock of pigeons — that roost on the buildings and foul the structures and the sidewalks below with their droppings.
“We had a few before,” said Mary Bollman, who owns a three-story building frequented by the birds. “But nothing like now.”
Bollman said the city should help the building owners because the problem with the pigeons grew worse around 2007 when road work and bridge replacement drove the birds into town.
“We can hardly keep after it,” she said, adding that the pigeon excrement has become a health hazard, requiring the city’s help. “You can slide right by our building sometimes, It’s really nasty.”
Bollman said she and her husband, along with Tiarks, engaged a pest-control expert to remove the birds for $970. The exterminator will trap the birds and poison the ones that can’t be trapped.
“We’ll take any support that we can get,” Bollman said.
Tiarks said the pigeons are creatures of habit, traveling back and forth between the downtown buildings and the city’s grain elevator. He said the goal is to get this group of pigeons out of the city and hope a new group doesn’t replace it anytime soon. “If we just push them down the block, does that really accomplish anything?” he asked.
The flock of about 25 birds leaves a big enough mess that he frequently shovels the excrement up from the sidewalks, Tiarks said.
Steele said the money is a small amount for the city.
“I know just about every city has some bird issues, but this is a precedent-setting decision,” he said. “We’re kind of locked into that forever.”
Steele asked the Bollmans if they thought it was good city policy to hand out money for pest-control issues.
“We wouldn’t have come to the council if we didn’t think it was a good idea,” Tom Bollman said. “I can go up on the roof and shoot ‘em, but I don’t think that’s legal.”
Mary Bollman said the request is similar to the one Rochester made to battle the crows downtown.
However, Steele said the difference was a large group of citizens bringing forward an issue in Rochester compared to two building owners asking for help in Pine Island.
“Where does all this stop?” he asked.
The council declined to make a contribution to the anti-pigeon efforts.
Tom Bollman said he and his wife, along with Tiarks, will pay for the removal of the birds, with or without the city’s help.
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