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Streets, homes, cars covered in bird droppings in Grover Beach neighborhood

Nesting ocean birds called cormorants moved in to a grove of eucalyptus trees along Front Street.
Posted at 6:11 AM, Jun 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-10 09:45:19-04

Nesting birds are causing quite the mess in an area of Grover Beach.

Streets, homes, and cars, are covered in bird droppings in the area on and around Front Street.

People who live there are now demanding that the city do something about it.

"Look at these houses here. These houses are all just covered with poop," James Whitehead, who lives nearby, said.

Nesting ocean birds called cormorants have taken a liking to a grove of eucalyptus trees along Front St.

The birds are causing a stinky mess in a neighborhood across the railroad tracks from the butterfly grove.

"It's hard to even walk around here anymore. People avoid this street because of the smell, because they're afraid of getting dropped on. That's why I'm wearing my dropping protection device," said Brent Freeby while gesturing to his hat.

Bird droppings are covering streets, cars, yards and just about everything in the area.

"Then we have to breathe it. It's not good for anybody to have to breathe this stuff. It's awful," said Whitehead. "Nobody should have to live in this environment."

People who live in the area are raising health concerns about particles tossed in the air by passing cars and street sweepers.

"I can't imagine being one of the apartments directly under it," said Freeby. "What does inhaling this stuff do especially to the kids who are growing up here? I don't want to find out in 30 or 40 years what it did to them."

The USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service advised people to avoid direct contact with these birds' excrement. Possible transmission of viral disease from free-ranging wild birds is a concern.

The stretch of Front St. is epicenter of the problem, but surrounding streets are also affected.

"I live down the other end of the street. We do get a lot of droppings on our cars, and of course, with the water being like it is, they don't want you to wash your cars," said Whitehead.

According to the city, the area is regulated by the California Coastal Commission. The nests are in an environmentally sensitive habitat because they are right next to the monarch butterfly grove.

"We are aware of this issue, and we've been working on potential solutions for a while," Grover Beach City Manager Matt Bronson told KSBY in a statement.

"We are continuing to work with the Coastal Commission on reasonable approaches to address this issue," he added.

People affected by the problem are searching for solutions and demanding action that goes beyond street sweeping.

"We'd like to see them just acknowledge there is a problem and come take a look. Maybe spend an hour down here, park their car for a couple of hours and see how they like it," said Freeby.

The city says it ramped up street sweeping in the area after residents raised concerns last year.

The city says it is looking into options, but the birds are protected under federal law, meaning there isn't much they can do to move them.