The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) used a chemical Monday to reduce the starling population in Grand Island.

The chemical used was DRC – 1339, which is bird specific and harm to any other animal (other than the target species) is not anticipated. The targeted birds will die 24 to 36 hours after consuming the treated feed and will often be found at the bird’s roosting locations.

The use of this chemical is only effective during the fall and winter months when large flocks consistently feed in one location, the city of Grand Island said in a press release. During the spring and summer months the birds are less likely to congregate in large numbers as the birds feed in local fields and on grain and insects, making treatment applications nearly impossible.

If residents find deceased starlings on their private property, it is OK to dispose of the birds in trash containers, the press release said. The USDA recommends using gloves or a bag when picking the starlings up.

Residents who are physically unable to dispose of the birds can call City Hall at (308) 385-5455 to make arrangements for cleanup. The City of Grand Island will only offer this service if a resident is incapable of the collection and disposal of the birds.

Many residents have expressed concerns of noise and filth nuisances related to the starlings, but of most concern is the health nuisance caused from the droppings of the birds. Starlings can spread salmonella, E. coli, perpetuate a fungus soil known as histoplasmosis, as well as West Nile.

The city started addressing this problem with treatments in 2005. This is the only successful known treatment option for this nuisance.

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