Birds of a feather do flock together

By MOLLIE BROWN / Community Columnist

There’s no question in my mind that spring has arrived. Daytime temperatures are reaching the 80s, wasps are swarming, weeds have covered my barren lawn and my gray SUV has been yellow for a month.

A sure sign of spring has emerged at Calera High School much to Matt Andrew’s chagrin. Andrews maintains the school grounds and has a battle on his hands.

“For the past two years, birds have built nests on the columns of the school’s front entrance,” he said. “I have nothing against the birds; it’s just the mess that accompanies their nesting. They haul in mud and grass, then sit up there and poop down the columns.”

The first year Andrews knocked the nests down several times, but the birds rebuilt each time. Last year someone suggested placing rubber snakes on the columns, but the birds built nests on top of the snakes. This year someone told him fake owls would scare them off. Owls are the natural predators of most birds, so birds won’t go near an owl.

Female barn swallows rest on a fake owl purchased to deter nesting on the entrance columns at Calera High School. (contributed)

Female barn swallows rest on a fake owl purchased to deter nesting on the entrance columns at Calera High School. (contributed)

Andrews purchased two bobble head plastic owls with high hopes they would frighten the birds off. So much for the theory though. The saying “birds of a feather flock together” is true, and I guess it doesn’t matter if they are real or fake. The fake owls don’t seem to mind they’re used as perches and are not fazed by the mud or poop.

Custodian Robert Moore said it’s the wrong kind of owl.

“I think the person who suggested the owls meant a motion sensor owl that would move when a bird flies up,” he said. “When I came in saw the birds building a nest on the owl’s head I laughed. The female sits on the owl and the others bring the nest materials. They’ll dive bomb you in the process.”

However, the bird droppings remain a health issue.

“If anyone has a solution to get rid of the birds, I wish they’d let me know,” Andrews said.

Matt, there’s another saying that comes to mind. “Accept that some days you are the pigeon, and some days, you are the statue.”