Fowl move to foil foul situation

With fowl continuing to foul up the city, Wapakoneta city administrators say they hope experts from The Ohio State University have some answers at a seminar later this month.
For years, city residents have complained about the black birds in the late summer and fall taking roost in the tall trees making noise and bird excrement throughout the city, especially near Veterans Memorial Park.
City residents also have complained about Canada geese feces creating problems throughout the city, especially on the sidewalk along the Auglaize River and the midget football practice field.
“The geese pose a problem, their waste is abundant and we don’t have a large enough crew to rake or to clean that up every day,” Safety-Service Director Bill Rains said after announcing he would be attending a seminar this month during Monday’s Wapakoneta City Council meeting. “We have a large resident population of Canada geese that do not leave or migrate and hopefully there is something they know at this seminar or another municipality has been using to encourage them to leave the area.
See FOWL, Page 6A
“There are some things we could do in the spring to hinder their birthrate but this would require us to get permits through the Ohio Department of Natural Resources,” he said. “We can hire a firm which is licensed by the state to transplant them from the area.”
He said another component is educating the public to stop feeding the Canada geese because it encourages them to live here year round. The geese already take advantage of soybeans and corn from nearby fields after harvest as a food source during the winter.
“We want them to fly south during the winter and we want them to fly north during the summer — this has been their pattern for thousands of years and we want that to continue,” Rains said. “We now have a resident population that are born, raised and die in Wapakoneta.”
Rains explained the black birds arrive soon after the wheat harvest and then roost in the tall, thick trees for protection with their droppings spotting sidewalks and filling yards.
Mayor Rodney Metz said they investigated ways to try and move the birds, but it proved ineffective or too costly.
One method — shooting blank shotgun shells into the trees which was done by former Police Chief Dave Webb — made enough noise to move the birds but they would move only a few trees away. If they did that on South Wagner, South Wentz and South Rauthland — the birds would just move south or west to other residential areas.
They explored a noise system which was to be effective for a four-house area, but it was not guaranteed and would cost approximately $12,000.
The last option would be to remove their roost, but city officials do not want to encourage residents to cut down trees on their property when they also provide other benefits.
“We are really hoping to go down there and find some answers or somebody who is doing something better than we are,” Rains said regarding the seminar on Nov. 14 in Columbus. “If nothing else we will sit down with a lot of other communities who have the same issue and with the guidance of ODNR we may come up with a solution.”