Complaints over smell from bird droppings sparks extra street cleaning

A flock of defecating starlings has been causing problems on Kent Square in Great Yarmouth.

A flock of defecating starlings has been causing problems on Kent Square in Great Yarmouth. - Credit: Daniel Hickey/David Brooker iWitness24 (inset)

A council has promised additional cleaning after complaints about thousands of starlings defecating on cars and houses. 

The birds have been roosting in trees in Kent Square in Great Yarmouth since the winter of 2017 - but last year residents reported they were having to wash their cars and windows every day and that the smell of the droppings was becoming a problem

At the time, the borough council said it would carry out a survey of the area to assess whether additional cleaning of the pavements was necessary. 

A flock of defecating starlings has been causing problems on Kent Square in Great Yarmouth. Picture:

A flock of defecating starlings has been causing problems on Kent Square in Great Yarmouth. Picture: Daniel Hickey. - Credit: Archant

Michael Johnson, 39, who lives on neighbouring York Road, was one of the residents who first flagged up the matter.  

He said: “In the last week of November 2020 the flock came back but with not as many as the year before. 

“After a month the flock became larger and larger to the point it looks like a scene out of The Birds.”  

A flock of defecating starlings has been causing problems on Kent Square in Great Yarmouth. Picture:

A flock of defecating starlings has been causing problems on Kent Square in Great Yarmouth. Picture: Daniel Hickey. - Credit: Archant

While some of the starlings are local, their numbers are supplemented during winter months by migration from the European continent. 

In January, Mr Johnson contacted the council again about the smell but said he received no response.  

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“A month later and still nothing has been done. The smell is gut wrenching after it rains, the grass is dead and the trees are starting to die and the area is starting to turn green, roofs, roads and pathways. 

Grass on Kent Square in Great Yarmouth has died since a large flock of starlings began roosting on the trees there.

Grass on Kent Square in Great Yarmouth has died since a large flock of starlings began roosting on the trees there. - Credit: Michael Johnson

“The houses all look a mess and you can't clean because the next day it's covered again, you can't have the windows open because of the smell,” he added.  

In a statement, the borough council said: “We understand the nuisance of the mess caused by roosting birds in that area. However this is a natural phenomenon that happens seasonally and both the birds and the trees are part of the natural environment, of which we have no control over. 

“To assist residents, we have arranged for additional cleansing of the pavements to ensure the risk of slips is reduced, while we investigate whether there are any suitable longer-term solutions for the town which won’t simply result in the birds moving onto another residential street in the area.” 

A flock of defecating starlings has been causing problems on Kent Square in Great Yarmouth. Picture:

A flock of defecating starlings has been causing problems on Kent Square in Great Yarmouth. Picture: Daniel Hickey. - Credit: Archant

The starlings moved to the square after a person slipped on accumulated bird faeces in St George’s Park, where the birds had been roosting, and the borough council used a laser device to deter them from there. 

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