The U.S. Department of Agriculture began treating starling food Wednesday in Grand Island in an effort to reduce the city's starling population.
The city began treatments to reduce the bird's population in 2005 after receiving a number of complaints. Residents expressed concerns about the noise and filth the birds create, as well as a number of health concerns. Starlings can spread Salmonella, E. coli, perpetuate a fungus soil known as Histoplasmosis, as well as West Nile.
The starlings will eat food treated with DRC-1339 and then die around 24 to 36 hours later. Officials say most starlings will be found at their roost and they do not anticipate any other animals being harmed during the treatment period.
The had started now because winter provides an opportunity to feed a large number of birds in one location, unlike in the summer when birds are feeding all over the city in smaller numbers.
The Central District Health Department says residents can dispose of the birds in trash containers. They also recommend using gloves or a bag when picking the birds up.
Residents who are physically unable to dispose of the birds can call city hall at 308-385-5444 ext.260 to make arrangements for cleanup. The city will only offer this service if a resident is incapable of the collection and disposal of the birds.
City officials say this is the only successful known treatment option for this nuisance.