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As an ongoing part of Artesia MainStreet Inc’s mission to keep downtown Artesia beautiful, the organization has assembled a group of volunteers to assist with bird control throughout the district

“We receive numerous complaints from residents and visitors alike about the grackle issue in our town,” said Elisabeth Jackson, executive director. “They come to roost in our trees in the evening and leave a huge mess behind every night.”

Artesia MainStreet has a small team of landscape contractors who maintain the trees, plants and surrounding areas in downtown Artesia, including the Heritage Plaza parking lot and Heritage Walkway pocket park.

“It has gotten to the point that in order to keep our sidewalks and benches clean it would take multiple individuals cleaning sidewalks several times a day.” said Jackson. “Power washing could easily become a full-time job.”

In order to assist with maintenance, a committee was formed to review the potential ways to disperse the bird population using only humane efforts. After much research and discussion, it was decided the most effective approach is utilizing 30mW green lasers to disperse the grackles and discourage them from roosting in the downtown trees each evening.

“These are not your keychain laser pointer,” said Jackson. “The lasers purchased are commercial-grade and specifically made for the purpose of bird dispersal.”

Jackson also notes the lasers do not harm the birds and are also not harmful to humans. Utilizing hand-held lasers take a lot of manpower, but it uses no chemicals or loud noises making it minimally invasive to the public. One key to the approach is consistency, the volunteer group plans to walk the downtown district each night throughout the month of February before the birds begin to nest.

“Outside of beautification, the bird droppings are a major health hazard. Not only is it unsightly, we do not want our residents breathing it in or having to walk across bird guano.” said Jackson.

The laser work is being done in the evenings after business hours for the majority of downtown businesses. The birds are best dispersed at twilight before they being to roost for the night.

“We understand that many citizens don’t want any harm to come to the birds. With this approach we are simply encouraging them to nest elsewhere, while keeping our downtown clean and healthy for our business owners, residents and visitors. Our community has always been very supportive of MainStreet’s efforts to enhance the image of our beautiful downtown.”

Anyone interested in volunteering to help with the downtown bird control efforts should call Artesia MainStreet at 746-1117.

Artesia MainStreet, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) organization created exclusively to encourage, foster and stimulate the preservation and economic development of historic downtown Artesia.