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Follow-up: About those pigeons--er, sparrows--causing problems downtown

Posted: Sun, Dec 13, 2020 2:53 PM

(A few days ago, we posted a story ( about the mess that birds have been leaving on sidewalks in downtown Decorah.  As our updated story says, the mess has been cleaned up, but other questions and comments remain)

Tina Hall of Decorah e-mails: "As a birder and member of the local NE Iowa Audubon Society, here's a correction.  It is NOT 'pigeons' making the mess, it is 'house sparrows," an invasive species long established in the U.S. from Europe.  They winter roost in that metal area at night.  Most people in town should recognize the very loud cheep, cheep that they make. They are not protected by law, but a bit hard to get rid of.  Trapping is about the only method, as any attempt to poison them will likely poison native birds as well."

Two other readers, Janet and Cliff, e-mail suggesting the use of bird spikes to discourage the pigeons--er, house sparrows--from perching in downtown.  The spikes reportedly are effective, but they're also a little expensive.  Here's a link to one of the pages selling bird spikes: