Friday, September 28, 2007
Operators of Paul Brown Stadium want permission from the city to kill birds that have been pooping on Bengals fans.
Pigeon droppings have been falling on patrons and into their food and beverages, according to a letter to the city from Eric Brown, managing director of Paul Brown Stadium Ltd., which runs the stadium for Hamilton County, which owns it.
He asked in his letter that stadium employees who are familiar with firearms be allowed to shoot birds a few days prior to an event, adding that company officials believe the shooting to be a “cost-effective way to get this problem under control.”
City officials are working with stadium officials on both the legalities of killing the birds as well as the means by which they might be killed, said city spokeswoman Meg Olberding.
The bird issue becomes public just as Cincinnati is preparing to again be center stage as the home of a Monday Night Football game. Mayor Mark Mallory is touting the game as a way to highlight the positives of Cincinnati, asking employers to encourage their workers to wear orange and black Monday. Downtown office buildings will be lit up, and 17 downtown restaurants promise food and drink specials.
The bird problem solved itself initially, with fan noise on game days driving the birds away, said Bob Bedinghaus, the Bengals’ director of development. But the birds apparently have adapted. In fact, pigeon poop has become such a big problem around the National Football League, he said, that officials have discussed it at league meetings and stadium management meetings.
"Like every other big building in the city, pigeons make their way to our building,” Bedinghaus said Thursday. “In three of the four corners of the club level, they land and are an irritant during the week. We have to clean up a lot of bird poop. We’re looking for options to rid ourselves of these little critters.”
Brown, in his letter, wrote that any shooting “would be done discreetly during times when there is little activity in the stadium.”
Cincinnati’s municipal code, Sec. 701-15, says no person shall kill, wound, maim or injure any bird. But that doesn’t apply to any city employee or officer acting in accordance with another statute, Sec. 701-17, which says when birds and animals create a nuisance, the city manager is authorized “to use all necessary means” to destroy the nuisance-creators.
Brown’s letter said the bird carcasses would be placed in black plastic bags and deposited into the stadium’s trash compactor.
Several fans who sit in the club (middle) level have complained to the Bengals about getting hit with poop, Bedinghaus said. The birds land on “innumerable” pipes and beams in the stadium canopy - and in the corners of the stadium, the canopy hangs over the seating bowl of the club level.
Other solutions being investigated, he said, include strobe lights, noise makers (which can’t be used during games) prickly coverings for horizontal surfaces, fake owls and netting.
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