Friday, June 26, 2015

Kar Versus the Pigeons

Um, I just barely learned that you spell pigeons without a d.  I've always put a "d" in there!  It doesn't look right without the d...

I've never had a problem with pigeons.  I've never had them poop on my head or anything.  Even when I lived in London, and they were everywhere, they didn't bug me.  I think my benevolent feelings toward them stem from two things:  1)  The "Feed the Birds" song from Mary Poppins. What can be sweeter than an old lady trying to keep these cute, sweet little birds from starving??  2)  They make the most pleasant noises.  It really is quite soothing.  3)  I've never had to clean up their shizzle.

Well, now I've changed my tune.  Because of the third reason.

Let me first take you on a little tour of the extensive grounds on which we reside right now.  Here is our front yard:
It is a rough triangle, full of landscaping rocks.

For a family with four kids, this is a dream.

Would you like to see our gorgeous backyard??  Hark:
It's a small porch, maybe the size of a twin mattress - probably a little skinnier and a little longer. And that's it.

When I got here, I was panicked.  Where would my kids play?  The street is right in front of our triangle-o-rock, and cars frequently drive by.  There are no sidewalks.  Luckily, we have some speed bumps right before our house, which slow people down considerably.  And my kids, being ever-resourceful, have made friends in a cul-de-sac a few duplexes away.  The cul-de-sac is very safe, and kids are outside playing all day long there.  The kids cut through small, thin, miniscule yards to get there instead of walking along the street.  It really is an answer to a prayer.

I don't know.  I could go on and on about our living situation, but that's another post for another time. Suffice it to say that it's really hard to find affordable rentals in Bend, and we're lucky that we even found this place.  And there's no way we can afford a house here.  We'll have to save some money for a down payment, which will take time.  It is what it is, and we can bloom where we're planted.  I sometimes play pretend; I pretend that we live in Manhattan, where families live in apartments and don't have any green space of their own, and it's okay.  Their kids are okay.  They go to Central Park to play.  And this is kind of how we live.  We go to local parks with plenty of grass on which to run and picnic.  This is our reality, and I'm learning to accept it.

Anywho.  The duplex behind us has a little bit of a pigeon problem.  They have burrowed up under and inside the eaves of the dormers.  Here's a view of the neighbor's dormer as seen from our third floor window (sorry the pictures aren't that clear; I didn't want to try to remove the screen and have it accidentally drop three floors to the ground below).  I've seen birds hop right up inside of that right hand side:
Look at the poop, feathers, etc. that clog up the rain gutters:
There are only a few pigeons hanging out right now - it's literally 100 degrees outside today.  There's one in the shade of the dormer:
 One hanging out on the second dormer in the building:
Another one hanging out in this area:
But trust me when I say that usually, there are ten or so hanging out.  These birds roost right above our porch.  Which makes our porch look like this:
It actually looks pretty good right now.  You should have seen it this spring.  Every single inch was covered in pigeon shizzle.  I go out and sweep it with our outdoor broom once a week or so.  It's horrible, disgusting work.  We don't put any patio chairs or a grill out there, because it's pointless. They would be covered with pigeon shizzle within minutes.  You might see, in the top left corner of the picture, a shattered pigeon egg.  I probably see one of those per week.  Sometimes the contents haven't yet formed into a baby bird.  Other times, I get to clean up tiny pigeon fetuses along with their crushed shells.

Obviously, we don't let our kids onto the porch.  Who even knows what resides in that poop!! Tuberculosis germs?  Salmonella germs??

This spring, I called our apartment manager and talked to him about the problem.  He, incredibly, suggested that we buy a bee-bee gun and shoot the birds.  I was like, "Um, okay.  Thanks...?"  I was really hoping he'd take care of the problem.  Maybe because the birds roost on the duplex that isn't run by him.

So I went and bought a fake owl.  Ben hung it up from our dormer.  It didn't do jack diddly.  It has since turned in the wind so that it faces our condo in shame:
Then I bought this stuff called Scare Ribbon.  It's shiny and silver and supposedly scares birds away. The only problem is that we don't know how to put it up.  It's meant for orchard trees.  We also don't have a thirty-foot ladder with which to climb that high.

Ben went and bought a pellet gun, with little plastic bee bees, and for awhile, every day when he came home from work, he'd shoot the birds with the bee bees.  This helped a teeny bit, for awhile. The birds would hang out on the other side of the condo where they roost.  We were really hoping they would find new homes on account of getting shot by painful plastic bee bees, but no dice.

The people who live inside the roosting condo are...interesting.  A little scary.  They may be in a gang - they strike me as the gang type.  When they have barbecues, they all stand outside and drop the f-bomb every other word. They're a little intimidating.  But I'd been pushed to the limits with this pigeon issue.  So one day, while I was on my way out of the neighborhood, and I saw them getting stuff out of a black sedan with heavily tinted windows, I pulled over next to them and said hello.

They were actually very, very friendly to me, though someone driving by apparently looked at the man who seems like the leader wrong, because he started walking toward the car with this intense look in his eyes, and arms up, like, "You want a piece of me??"  I asked if they had pigeon poop problems, and they said that they have occasional poop on their cars, but since their front door has a really big porch with a really big awning, they kind of poop all over that, and it doesn't affect them too much.  I asked them if they had a 30-foot ladder, and regrettably, they didn't.

About a week ago, I approached them again while they were having a The Leader's birthday barbecue/swearfest.  I asked them for their apartment manager's phone number, and they retrieved it for me.  I called my apartment manager and gave him the number, and he promised to call that manager right away.

Nothing has happened.

I'm considering calling the local health department and issuing a complaint.  Ben thinks that, if someone could just get up there and affix that spiky stuff along the peaks of the building, that would take care of the problem.  We just don't feel like we should have to pay for it, since the pigeons aren't actually roosting on our building.

Sigh.  I'll let you know if anything happens...


Megan said...

Ugh!! That sucks!! I hope your apartment manager does something about it!

Megan said...

P.S. You always live by really interesting people, don't you??!! ;)

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