Bird Migration, Rain Creating Nightmare for Rome Motorists
Migrating starlings are creating headaches for motorists in Rome, as their droppings are forcing local officials to close roadways.
Heavy rains coincided with the birds`s arrival, helping spread slippery guano onto roads adjacent to the bird`s nests. With the pavement coated with the sticky excrement, there were reports of numerous car and motorcycle accidents according to The Guardian, which prompted the extraordinary action of shutting down a major city thoroughfare for hours while maintenance workers sprayed away the slimy guck.
"According to observations at Rome`s Ciampino International Airport, rain fell off and on (over the weekend), and has fallen at times today (Monday) as well," said Nick Wiltgen, Senior Digital Meteorologist at weather.com.
The starlings have been scarfing down oily olives found in the periphery of the city and then taking up residence in trees that line the Tiber River bisecting the Italian capital. The birds have become a recurring problem every season, with the visiting starlings raining guano down on cars, statues and other landmarks much to the chagrin of Rome politicians, who have schemed of ways to try and rid the city of the avian menace once and for all.
Municipal environmental regulations have prevented the hunting of the starlings, according to The Daily Beast, so the city has been forced to attempt other creative dispersion tactics including blasting ear-piercingly loud predator bird sounds at the nesting birds. Most recently, The Guardian reported that officials introduced several trained American falcons to try and scare them off. But their effort was in vain as the falcons were overwhelmed by the sheer number of the starling flocks.
"Trained falcons might disperse flocks of starlings for a time, but cannot permanently solve the problem," Peter Capainolo, a senior scientific assistant at the American Museum of Natural History with experience in bird dispersion techniques, told weather.com. "Constant use of large walk-in starling traps are a better strategy. Large numbers of starlings can be captured and removed (relocated/euthanized), which does make a difference in the numbers in a problem area."
Despite the drama caused by the birds, the changing seasons may soon provide some relief for the city as colder temperatures may shortly spook the starlings to seek a new home.