Beginning in the fall of 2005 I began to notice two strange trucks driving around slowly in downtown Omaha (please see pictures below). These trucks have giant dual yagi antennae mounted on a pole running through the cab of the truck. The driver of the each truck would drive around the downtown area rotating the antenna back and forth by manipulating the shaft that ran through the cab of the truck.
Then one day I noticed a man wearing large headphones and walking around the fire station waving a hanldheld dual yagi antenna as if searching for a signal or listening for something.
So, of course, I begin thinking thoughts like:
- mind control operatives
- people trying an alternative to Omaha’s sometimes poor radio scene
Then, as coincidence would have it, within a couple of days I came across a news article about a plan by the USDA to control bird population and another truck with radio antennae on the top with a giant wood and wire bird cage on the back.
It wasn’t hard to then put it all together. I presume that these trucks with their antennae arrays and the operators of the trucks are listening for specially tagged starlings bearing radio transmitters. The truck with the giant cage on the back must have been one where they would transport trapped starlings for later release.
I’m doubtful that the systems of detering starlings from the downtown Omaha area will work in the long run. Birds are just like people. Adaptable, resourceful, and persistent.
The systems used so far, along are:
- lethal poisoning: probably won’t work, new birds come back to take place of old, dead birds. It’s also inhumane and distasteful to poison birds, leaving their bodies to rot along the city streets, sidewalks, and even the flower garden outside of the public library.
- shooting of flares near roosting spots: birds can habituate to new environment
- soundings of foghorns near roosting spots: same as the flares
The best course of action is to design structures that deny access to birds. Compare the First National Bank building with the Union Pacific Center. Both are new buildings built at approximately the same time. However, birds simply avoid the Union Pacific Center because there are no roosting or perching spots.
The focus of this blog is to capture and share sounds. Perhaps someday I’ll take my microphone downtown and capture the sounds of the flares and foghorns.
Below are the pictures of the radio tracking trucks: