(Town Crier photo/Revis Blaylock)
"I've known that birds roosting in trees have been a problem for a long time," Dickey said. "As a matter of fact, over 25 years ago I had several men working for me making noise and shooting off bottle rockets every evening at a tree lined estate to discourage birds roosting in the trees. It took four or five days but the birds moved on. So I learned over the years that sound is the quickest and most economical way to move birds. But I realized no one sound works very long. That is what led me to make the Roost Buster, which utilizes over 250 carefully selected sounds, as well as the constant underlying sound of frightened and distressed birds."
"Our bird problem got really bad late November and early December," Mayor Fletcher said. "We had birds in here by the zillions. Everyone wanted to know what we were going to about it."
Police Chief Bryan Carmichael said that the birds came in by tens of thousands last fall in the late afternoon. Members of the police department would drive around from 4:15 to 5:30 p.m. in cars sounding the air horns.
"We would clear the block, but the birds came right back," Carmichael said. "We felt like we were fighting a loosing battle."
Mayor Fletcher said Dickey had sent the city of Monette samples of the cassettes he had developed known as the Roost Buster. The system had the potential to be highly effective in moving birds from a target area without harming the trees. The samples were sent in 2000 and Fletcher said the sounds do work.
"I tried the sample cassette using my own boom box and it did work. We loaned it to people on request and it does work," Fletcher said. "We just couldn't get enough residents to try it. Something happened to the samples, and I contacted Dickey about more samples and I found out about the Roost Buster P.A."
Dickey said that up until now, users of the CD's and cassettes for bird control had to use whatever boom box or CD player was available. He said some of the newer models come with small speakers and the full benefit of the Roost Buster was often not seen. To solve this problem, his research and development department went to work and created a fully programable CD player with repeat play CD/cassette/radio player equipped with 50 Watt P.A. speakers mounted on a treated board giving each unit a weight of less than 15 pounds that allows easy portable use in almost any environment. Each unit is battery or electric, has handle for easy carrying, mounted movable P.A. speakers that point up towards treetops or down for short hedge rows while the main unit remains level.
Dickey of Dickey Tree Service has been in business since 1968. He is a plant board certified tree surgeon, licensed commercial applicator and consulting arborist. He has been caring for problem trees over the years and seen the damage that is a direct result of birds roosting in the trees.
"For years people thought their only defense was to shoot shotguns and pistols up into the trees to kill or scare away the birds," Dickey said. "The steel shots form shotguns and pistols hit the limbs and branches of the tree and go into the wood and weaken it. You would be surprised at how many bullet ridden trees there are around. Some people have even cut good trees down because of the roosting birds. Others have cut trees back so severely that they never fully recover."
Monette and Mayor David Fletcher will be featured on the Tree Doctor's regular show aired on Channel 8 at 6 p.m. Saturday Feb. 12 or Sunday morning at 12:35 a.m. Susan and Karl Ahrent of Legal video Consultants, were on hand in Monette to video and produce the footage.
Mayor Fletcher commented that the Roost Buster P.A. system is a cost efficient way to fight the bird problem.
Tips on the use include being persistent with follow-up use of the Roost Buster on successive evenings. In large roosts, or where roosts are well established, the first evening may not appear to e successful. Repeated use of he Roost Buster should be continued for four or five evenings or until the birds abandon the roost. With small roosts, or where birds are less settled, using the Roost Buster may disperse bird flocks quickly, but should be continued for several evenings to prevent return.
Dickey commented that once the birds have started roosting elsewhere, homeowners need to look at why the birds were choosing that area to roost. Magnolias, Hollys, Cedar, Pines or hardwoods tend to offer birds protection from the elements. It is recommended to prune out several inside branches and unneeded limbs on these types of trees to discourage the return of the birds in the future.
"Be particularly careful to avoid the bird droppings and always wear proper protective clothing and a face mask to protect from the unhealthy spores form bird droppings," Dickey said.
Dickey also said that team effort gets better results and birds can be moved from an entire neighborhood by working together.
For more information, or for questions on the Roost Buster, interested persons can contact The Tree Doctor@www.dickeytree.com or call 1-800-521-8034.