February 21, 2008
The Department of General Services takes great pride in the maintenance of Capitol Square and its preservation of nature. It is unfortunate that birds have been harmed when trying to resolve another issue, this was not the intention.
Due to the large quantity of pigeon droppings on the General Assembly Building ledges, there was a health concern. The ledges were treated over a week ago and Tuesday morning was the first report of the repellent having an adverse effect on another species. An EPA registered product was used in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions. The intent was to dissuade pigeons from roosting, not to harm the pigeons or other birds.
Within thirty minutes of the issue being reported to the Department, personnel were mobilized. The repellant was neutralized within two hours and the ledges were cleaned by noon the following day and the focus was on collecting the birds, the Cedar Waxwings, as quickly as possible in order to save them. DGS contacted the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries and they were on-site by early afternoon. Unfortunately, some birds perished, but it is our sincere hope that through the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries and their rehabilitation centers that some birds may still be saved. The use of repellants has been disbanded.
February 25, 2008 Update
On Tuesday, February 19th, the focus was on saving the birds that were still living and DGS reported the number of fatalities as we knew them at that time.
On Friday February 22nd, after receiving additional Cedar Waxwings fatality accounts, a detailed inquiry was conducted to determine exactly how many dead birds had been disposed during normal operations prior to the Department activating to handle the issue with the pigeon repellant. Upon this further investigation DGS now estimates that approximately 30 birds died onsite. Immediately upon discovering this information the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries and the local media was informed.
Unfortunately collisions with office windows have resulted in additional Cedar Waxwings deaths over the past several days. The repellant was not a factor in these deaths and DGS continues to work with experts to ensure we are doing everything possible to minimize harm to these birds.