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Trusted local news leader for Prescott area communities since 1882
4:33 PM Sat, Nov. 17th

Editorial: Wildlife should be, um, wild

Residents in the Clifton neighborhood of Bristol, England put spikes on tree branches to keep birds from pooping on their cars. The images started on Twitter and have since been picked up by newspapers around the world. (Courtesy of Anna Francis)

Residents in the Clifton neighborhood of Bristol, England put spikes on tree branches to keep birds from pooping on their cars. The images started on Twitter and have since been picked up by newspapers around the world. (Courtesy of Anna Francis)

Mother Nature can be spectacular, as most residents of Northern Arizona know. From our own Dells, to the red rocks of Sedona, to the Grand Canyon, we are home to some of the most scenic views on the planet.

But Mother Nature also has a dark side, one that we have seen often this past year with destruction, mayhem, and even deaths in Houston and Puerto Rico.

And sometimes, she has a nasty sense of humor. For example, after you just finished washing and waxing your new car, some bird comes along and decides to decorate it with its poo, removing that shine.

Yes, Mother Nature can get downright messy.

The residents of an upscale Clifton neighborhood on Pembroke Road in Bristol, England grew a little tired of the birds doing just that on their BMWs and Audis.

At first, they tried some harmless deterrents to encourage the birds to do their business elsewhere. They put a wood carving of a predator in the tree, an owl, hoping this would scare them away.

It didn’t work.

Then they tried some sound deterrents. The Guardian, the first newspaper to write about this, did not specify what types of sounds they used. Whatever it was, it didn’t work.

The latest attempt, however, works great. They put spikes on all the branches of two trees that overhang the cars.

Full disclosure, the parent company of The Daily Courier also uses bird spikes and netting to keep birds from nesting near our Prescott Valley offices.

However, there is a difference between trying to keep birds from pooping on your customers and employees as they are entering and exiting your business, and using them to keep the shine on your Mercedes Benz.

The trees in Bristol are on private property, there is no legal violation. Removing the trees would require a permit.

We understand the need, if bird poo isn’t removed quickly, it can damage a car’s paint job. We applaud the residents for trying less harmful methods for dealing with the situation.

But, we don’t like the spikes. They look awful and it sends a message that makes us uncomfortable, that we humans are not willing to even share the trees with wildlife.

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds said in its State of Nature report that more than half of all wildlife in the United Kingdom has declined over the past 40 years.

“Instead of looking at ways we can force nature into an ever smaller space, we should look at how we can live alongside wildlife and help give it a home in our villages, towns and cities,” Jeff Knot, head of nature policy for RSPB, told the Guardian.

As we watch the Pronghorn leave Prescott Valley because of Granville’s expansion and Jasper’s arrival, we can relate.

Humans need to do a better job of being part of Mother Nature, and give up trying to control her. She keeps reminding us that is futile.

Birds have a need, just like the rest of us, to relieve themselves. Perhaps the better answer to spiking trees is simply not to park under them.

by Benjamin Ramm

by Jennifer Garrett