ARTESIA, N.M. (KRQE) – A certain bird is causing a giant mess in a small New Mexico town. It’s covering everything with droppings. Residents say it’s awful, and the birds are not easy to get rid of.
“They come and roost in the evenings and just leave bird droppings all underneath all of our trees,” said Elisabeth Jackson, Executive Director with MainStreet Artesia.
Grackles have taken over downtown Artesia.
“They get on the benches, the sidewalks, things like that,” Jackson said.
Business owners are tired of it.
“We’ve had customers complain. We’ve had people get in their cars and come back in and say, ‘Have you seen my car?'” said Selah Perkins, owner of La Fonda restaurant.
The mess has gotten so bad it takes a daily power washing to keep the sidewalks and benches clean.
This has been an ongoing problem in Artesia for years. Back in 2012, KRQE News 13 reported on how the city was using fireworks to try to scare the birds off. Six years later, the problem continues.
Now, Artesia MainStreet is using an innovative approach to tackle the growing bird problem downtown.
“We came to the conclusion of using lasers. They’re actually 30-megawatt green lasers and they were created specifically for this purpose. So, they are to dissuade birds from roosting in trees,” Jackson explained.
Not only are they fixing a major eyesore, they are also preventing a health hazard.
“We don’t want our residents to be breathing that in. We don’t want our visitors having to step over that or sit on that if they want to sit and enjoy a piece of public art,” Jackson said.
Their goal is to walk up and down Main Street shining the lasers every night until the birds are gone for good. Anyone interested in volunteering to help with the downtown bird control efforts should call Artesia MainStreet at (575) 746-1117.
The city says the fireworks were just moving the birds to different areas of Main Street and not scaring them out of town. They’ve used the laser approach for a week now and say it’s showing some promise.