For years the Chicago Cubs have had to share their ballpark with unwanted guests; pest birds. It seemed Wrigley Field was an ideal spot for birds, providing generous shelter, and an abundant food source.
Birds such as pigeons, seagulls, and starlings had been around the park for awhile, but it was complaints from the fans that prompted a real solution. Gary Hubbard has worked in Maintenance Operations at Wrigley for the last four years. Gary’s seen all sorts of devices implemented to shoo the winged pests away. “We’ve used a sticky gel, Owls, Sound Devices, and nothing seemed to work” said Hubbard of past attempts.
Hubbard explained that during games “pigeons and starlings would sit in the rafters above the upper deck and descend upon the bleaches to feed once to fans left”. Some of the fans sitting in the upper deck were being bombarded with bird droppings.
After continuous complaints poured in, the maintenance department sought a solution that would take care of the problem once and for all.
That’s when they called Bird-B-Gone, a company in California who specializes in Bird Control. The sales team at Bird-B-Gone recommended Bird Net 2000, a heavy duty polyethylene net that would prevent birds from entering the rafter area altogether.
Bird-B-Gone sales staff explained the importance of altering the environment. If the rafters were blocked off, the birds would have no where to roost. If the roosting spot was taken away, the birds had no where to wait for food scraps. Changing the behavior of the pest birds, would be the most successful approach. Bird Netting has been installed at Wrigley now for the past few years. Hubbard said that the Bird Net 2000 “has solved 9/10ths of the bird problem”, explaining that seagulls still land on the field during games.
In the past few years, Wrigley Field has seen many changes. In 2005 an expansion project saw the removal of some of the last remaining pieces of the original building. Earlier this year it was announced that Wrigley field may be changing hands, and getting a new name. As for a positive change, Wrigley has now finally taken care of the pest birds in the upper deck.