Pigeons causing messy problem for Boone County courthouse

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Chris Proffitt/Eyewitness News

Boone County - A messy and potential health problem is high above downtown Lebanon and on the ground.

The Boone County courthouse is trying to find a way to shoo away roosting pigeons. It's become an issue in cities and towns across the nation trying to find effective ways to send birds on their way.

Today it's a plastic owl that scares pigeons away from the Boone County courthouse. Before that, it was a cat. But with the cat gone, the pigeons are back and it's creating a mess.

"We noticed all of the pigeons that were roosting on the south side above the entrance. That and the mess they left on the sidewalk in the morning," said Mike Miller, courthouse maintenance superintendent.

It's not just the courthouse.

"We have bird droppings all over. I have to leave my door open and they will walk into my office until I shoo them out," said Donna Riley, downtown employee.

Pigeons, and even starlings, aren't just a Lebanon problem. They can be found in courthouses and skyscrapers around the nation. Not only is the mess they leave unsightly, but also unhealthy.

On the top floor of a building near the courthouse, pigeons have entered through an opening in the roof and not far from offices, potentially endangering workers. Histoplasmosis, a fungal disease carried in bird droppings, affects the lungs and in severe cases, can spread throughout the body.

The birds were a problem in downtown Indianapolis where fireworks and even recording noises are used to scare away roosting birds. Back at the courthouse, the hope is that a plastic owl will work.

"We'll see how that works before we maybe look at another cat or netting or some other deterrent for them," said Miller.

Options that in most places have been met with mixed success with birds that seem to adapt well to most attempts to shoo them away.