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The Kid Should See This

Lasers vs Poop: Startling millions of starlings in Rome

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The winter season super swarms over Rome, Italy are astonishing to watch, larger than those seen in other murmuration videos on TKSST. The warming climate is friendly for birds in this region, and cities are even warmer than the countryside.

But when the birds decide to roost in the city trees, a rainstorm of slippery and sticky bird poop wreaks havoc on cars, sidewalks, and streets.

Rome has battled with these super swarms for years, with loud sounds, with falcons, and now with lasers. In the January 2021 video above, Marco Leva waves lasers at the tall treetops to humanely chase away the starlings.

Marco Leva with lasers
He explains, “I do this work, but I’m an environmentalist. And I love and respect nature… I’m moving them on without hurting them.”

startling the starlings
The 2009 BBC clip below follows a team of “starling busters” who amplified “a starling alarm call” below the swarms, scaring them off. It was an effective but loud solution, and it illuminates just how long the Italian capital has battled this unique and very messy challenge.

starling poop
The video below also showcases their swirling movements from the ground and from the air.

Watch this next: Crow herding with urban falconry in Portland.

Plus, more starlings and more poop.