Never rains but it pours for guano-hit Rome

Pedestrians walk past a smog and pollution censor, in central Rome on December 29, 2015
Pedestrians walk past a smog and pollution censor, in central Rome on December 29, 2015

Weekend rain washed away the dangerous pollution that has afflicted Rome in recent weeks but left city authorities with a new headache: roads and pavements made treacherous by bird droppings.

The downpours that cleaned up the air and brought levels of back down below a World Health Organisation-recommended threshold also cleansed the city's trees of several weeks worth of guano deposited by millions of migratory starlings.

The result, in combination with rotting leaves, was a slippery, slimy fungal mush that forced city authorities to close roads on the banks of the Tiber for most of Saturday while refuse workers attempted to hose the streets back into a safe state.

Starlings swarming above Rome's historic buildings are one of the iconic sights of the capital, but dealing with their excrement is a perennial problem for the cash-strapped city.

This season, efforts to stop them congregating in the plane trees lining the Tiber got a late start because of cutbacks.

The usual method is to broadcast recordings of the screeching sound starlings themselves make to warn of the presence of a bird of prey.

Real hawks were also deployed on an experimental basis, with limited success before the project was thwarted by the long dry spell that sent pollution levels soaring.

The starlings' excrement creates a particularly slick mess because the little black birds spend their time in Italy gorging on olives on the outskirts of the Eternal City.

In the manner of tourists enjoying a good lunch in the country, they then return to the city centre as night falls, lured by warmer temperatures and the bright lights.


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Light-and-sound attacks used against Rome's starlings

© 2016 AFP

Citation: Never rains but it pours for guano-hit Rome (2016, January 3) retrieved 15 October 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2016-01-guano-hit-rome.html
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Jan 03, 2016
That's sensor, not censor. Spiel-chequer malfunction !!

FWIW, we did wonder how that city deals with those million, swarming, swooping starlings.

{Squidge}

Jan 04, 2016
Pollution and bird droppings too? We cannot get rid of petroleum fuels soon enough.

BTW, "it's a doozy" is misspelled. It is "it's a Deusy", referring to the Deusenberg.

Jan 04, 2016
BTW, "it's a doozy" is misspelled. It is "it's a Deusy", referring to the Deusenberg
George, are you so manic that you have to copy/paste posts now?

Doozy is not even in this thread. Why did you double post such an inane (and false) comment???

Perhaps there is a problem with your VA meds?

Jan 04, 2016
"Perhaps there is a problem with your VA meds?"
------------------------------------

You cowards and stay-at-home "patriots" will never know, will you?

Where did you "serve" otto? Detention?

We already know how the cowards want to denigrate those of us who actually served, because of embarrassment and poor character shown by their hiding from responsibility while others did their dirty work for them.

Disgusting. You have no respect for those who kept you safe, . . no respect for others who do the stuff you FEAR..

Jan 04, 2016
I feel it is my duty (deuty? dooty?) to denigrate all lying, posturing psychopaths wherever I find them. I think this is a very good way to serve my country.

Jan 04, 2016
While cowering behind a pseudonym and cut-out? Real brave.

Jan 05, 2016
While cowering behind a pseudonym and cut-out? Real brave.
Why, anyone could do this georgie. And many people here, including most of your former supporters, have done this after getting to know you.

But you then just add them to the goober pile. Problem solved. After all they all use pseudonyms too, dont they?

Its not hard to denigrate you.

Its because youre not a very talented liar, cheat, and fact-forger.

Jan 09, 2016
Romans used to eat all the songbirds they could catch. They should switch to pigeons.

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