Most Viewed Stories
A quieter summer in Maxwell
There's a scattering of crows squawking, and song birds add to the canopy din, but Maxwell is mostly quiet.
And that is how the townspeople like it — especially if it means no migrating egrets and herons making the small Colusa County town home for the summer.
"I understand there are still a couple of hot spots — for a lack of a better term — around town, but there are a lot fewer," said Supervisor Gary Evans, who helped spearhead the effort through the Community Advisory Committee to rid Maxwell of the noise, mess and the smell of the birds.
The county Public Health Department allocated $3,500 to purchase noise makers, lasers and other equipment to help discourage the birds from nesting in the area,
But most of the work was just good old fashion man power — and much of that supplied by the Maxwell Fire Department and county Public Works.
"I am certain all the work the fire department, and the townspeople and (county employee) Mike Azevedo did to elevate all the nests from the trees had to help," Evans said.
Knocking down the old nests was the first step, and that started at the end of last year and continued through the spring.
After that it was up to the local residents to disturb the birds enough to keep them from nesting.
Because the birds are protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, once they have built a nest and laid an egg, they cannot be disturbed.
But Fire Chief David Wells said there were other sacrifices made.
"The ones that had (the worst) problems cut their trees down — they pruned their trees back so there was no place for the birds, and one guy cut his tree down," said Wells.
In some cases, it left a bare canopy where once a full, green leafy skyline was visible.
And Wells said the birds are still in the area.
"There are quite a few around. You have to be here in the morning and you see them flying all over the place. So they are some place," Wells said.
Joyce Hunt knows where there are several hundred — in the trees next to her Cosmer Avenue home.
"It's not so bad," said Hunt, who admits when the wind isn't blowing right, the stench can be bad.
Early in the nesting season, she also was visited by a number of young birds walking across the property, but even that she could put up with as long as the bird were not in her trees.
Hunt said her neighbor is only a part-time resident. Mostly, she said, he lives in San Francisco.
Even a brief scan of the property shows a backyard covered in feathers, droppings, food bits and a scattering of dead birds — all the things that Maxwell residents elsewhere were working to prevent.
Moreover, that work is not done.
Officials believe the effort will have to continue over the next couple of years.
"It is going to take more than a year to sigh a relief," Evans said. "You have to get them use to not coming (to Maxwell)."