Johnson City

Neighborhood responds to starling decision

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. - The Johnson City Commission plans to get rid of a flock of birds bothering the Gump Addition neighborhood. Commissioners voted "yes" on Thursday on a bold plan to scare away the starlings.

We went to the neighborhood to see what residents think of the plan.

Shara Kirk lives on E. Chilhowie Ave. where starlings fill her trees from November until March. "They fly over at quite inopportune times, and the cars constantly need washing. My hair once needed washing after they flew by," said Kirk.

She told us she's on board with the City Commission's plan to try a week long intensive noise and pyrotechnic display to get rid of them. "I can deal with the short term of it, if the long term is a positive," she said.

Even though Kirk is looking forward to the change, although she still has some hesitations. "If it works, I think it would be worth it. But I think there's just as much chance they'll get moved to another neighborhood," Kirk said.

A couple of blocks down the road, Jerry Wilson has his own worries about the plan. He told us his neighbors have already tried using cannons to get rid of the birds. "When they disturbed them with the cannons and the noise, they flew out, but then they would come back within minutes or within half an hour," Wilson said.

He told us the cannons also drove the birds from his neighbor's yard into his own. Despite all of that, he said the Commission's plan is better than the alternative -- cutting down trees so the birds have nowhere to roost. "That's something none of us want to do," he said. "That's why you have [trees] in your yard, they're beautiful."

The neighbors told us there have been fewer birds in the trees since the beginning of the month.

The city said they'll wait to put the plan into motion until next fall. It's expected to cost about $6,000 per campaign.

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