Written by Bob Woelk Tuesday, 13 September 2011 16:30
I creep out my back door, holding a pair of 12-gauge, semi-automatic shotguns loaded for a goose hunt. My quarry is comfortably resting in the treetops above my head as I slip stealthily underneath.
In one quick motion, I place the weapons on my hips and fire into the branches. Load after angry load sends showers of leaves, feathers and bloody bird body parts. I laugh maniacally as I empty all the chambers on my aviary arch enemies.
When the gun smoke clears, the carnage is complete. What I assume are starlings have been eliminated from my backyard, never to return.
I am normally not a violent person, but those nasty, stinky, noisy little black birds are driving me crazy. The Christian Science Monitor calls them the most hated birds in America. Of course, I only wreak the previously described havoc in my dreams. But, if I actually owned a shotgun…. I can’t be sure I wouldn’t take action for real.
I’ve seen these groups of birds before in town, but I have never been unfortunate enough to have them choose my property as their Motel 6. My whole yard stinks like a chicken coop. There are feathers and droppings everywhere. At dusk, they begin coasting in by the hundreds. They squawk and chirp and flutter around for 15 to 30 minutes.
My wife and I made a somewhat half-hearted attempt to discourage them a couple of times after reading on the Internet that, if a person can stop the starlings from roosting, they might go away and not return.
A couple of evenings we could be seen (and heard) out back whacking a snow shovel with a broom handle. Each time the black plague tried to settle in, we would smack the shovel and send the cloud packing. The birds would circle and try again, displaying far more persistence than we could muster.
Eventually, we would tire and go inside, and the starlings would happily reclaim their roosts.
As darkness falls each evening, the birds settle in for the night. They remain until the sun rises. I have no idea where they go or what they do during the day. But, I can tell by the smelly covering of fecal matter they deposit on my house, trees and yard that they eat something white wherever they spend their daylight hours.
Eventually, I am told, they will move on. But it can’t be too soon for me. They’ve been hanging around for weeks now. It’s going to take some big rains to wash things clean this fall and winter. My driveway and sidewalks may never be the same.
I have given up for this year. As good as it might feel to blast away with a pair of scatterguns, I assume such actions would be discouraged by the city of Hillsboro. Besides, I can just imagine the survivors returning later that evening, undeterred by the massacre, to taunt me.
I suppose I could get permission to light a couple of firecrackers, but I used them all up on the Fourth of July.
I am already planning my strategy for next year if my fine filthy-feathered nemeses return. I will hit them with a spray of water from my pressure washer. I am prepared to spend the night outside if I have to.
I also might hang a couple of live cats up there or train a falcon to torment them.
All I know is that I am not going to allow this to happen again, even if I have to cut down all the trees in my neighborhood. Based on the fact that I hear people in surrounding yards banging pot lids together, we might all be able to agree on a full-scale assault.