The Birds|shearluck|lewisoll@yahoo.co.uk|03/22/06 at 13:01:12|shearluck|xx|0|86.131.91.164|[quote]ATTACK OF THE BIRDS  

09:30 - 03 March 2006  

A Town is being drenched in bird droppings after it was invaded by half  a
million starlings. Like a scene from Alfred Hitchcock's thriller The Birds,  the
huge swar m tur ns the sky black each dawn and dusk as they prepare to feed  
or roost for the night.

But they also cover the town of Chard, Somerset, in a "snow storm" of  
droppings.

Residents have to cower under umbrellas if they venture outdoors and some  
motorists have to clean their cars twice a day.

Experts say the size of the flock is "a phenomenon" for Britain, which  
usually sees flocks no bigger than 5,000.

The birds began arriving several weeks ago as they flew south to escape the  
bitterly cold winter in their native Scandinavia.

They usually head for reed beds on the Somerset Levels but this year have  
roosted on the roof of a food factory in Chard.

Stephen Fuller, 41, who lives next to the factory in the Furzehill area of  
the town, has three classic Jaguar cars he keeps on his drive, which are
covered  droppings every day.

He said: "I'm having to go out a few times a day to wipe the crap off to  try
to protect the paintwork.

"When they flock around, it's like a locust storm. I've no idea what can be  
done to get rid of them but I just hope they go before summer, otherwise
they'll  be no sunbathing here.

"At the minute, there's so much flying crap, you think twice before heading  
outside, and when you do you have to wear a hat and coat.

I've never seen anything like it." Professional bird scarer Bob Painter,  62,
who runs the firm Wingaway, was called in to help tackle the problem and  
push the starlings away from residential areas. Mr Painter, from Chippenham,  
Wiltshire, who uses recorded distress calls to frighten birds away from airports  
and farms around the world, said the flock was the biggest he had ever  seen.

He said: "My car was there for two hours at dusk and it was covered in bird  
crap. It was just like a snow storm." The birds briefly left the roof of the  
Oscar Mayer food factory in Chard for a while but soon returned to the  site.

RSPB starling expert Andre Far row said the cold snap on the Continent  could
have forced birds that were wintering in Holland to seek warmer climes in  
Britain.

Mr Farrow said: "Starlings from Scandinavia come to Britain to avoid the  
harsh winter and usually head to reed beds." Mr Farrow believes the birds had  
probably been trying to locate reed beds in the Somerset Levels beyond Chard but
got tired and roosted where they stopped.

He said the birds, which are a protected species, would separate and move  on
at the end of March as the breeding season  began.[/quote]||