VDOT taking lethal action against birds on Benjamin Harris Bridge

Posted by Terry Alexander

PRINCE GEORGE, VA (WWBT) - An out of control population of european starlings that have taken roost on the Benjamin Harrison Bridge is causing a bird dropping problem.

After a several attempts to shoo them away to no avail, VDOT has decided they have no choice but to kill them.

The birds have made the enormous lift bridge their home and their remains have become a danger, not only to the people who work on the bridge, but on the structure itself.

In some spots their droppings had grown to as much as 18 inches think.

The feces is filled with bacteria which is unhealthy for crews working to fix up the bridge, and it also contains corrosive materials that speed up the bridge's deterioration.

"We are not trying to eradicate the population that is on there right now, we are just trying to reduce them. And that in itself will have an impact on the birds that are still there and they will realize that they aren't safe there," said David Allaben of USDA Wildlife Services.

USDA officials plan to use a restricted chemical that they will place in bait on the bridge. They claim the chemical will only kill the birds that eat it. It will not be transferred to other animals or into the ground and water.

In the past VDOT has used pyrotechnics to scare the birds away. USDA officials say this group of birds is to large and entrenched to be shooed away by that tactic.

They say if this effort works to thin out the population, than pyrotechnics can be used again to keep them from coming back.

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