Bird droppings making way from roof to offices inside county courthouse

Curry County Maintenance Supervisor Lee Delk said about 50 pigeons call the roof of the Curry County Courthouse home. (Staff photo: Tony Bullocks

By Tonya Garner: CNJ staff writer

The melodic, soft cooing of numerous pigeons can be heard emanating from the Curry County Courthouse.

Although the birds’ calls are musical, the proliferation of pigeon droppings they leave behind has caused roof damage and created an unpleasant work environment for county employees, according to Curry County Maintenance Supervisor Lee Delk.

Following the recent overnight rain showers, employees entered their offices and were assaulted with an overwhelming smell that permeated the building, Delk said. The cause of the olfactory invasion was excrement-laced rain that had leaked into the building through fallen ceiling tiles. Delk said the ceiling seeped because the mud-like substance, created when the water mixed with the droppings, clogged the drains.

“It was nasty,” Delk said. “We cleaned up about a gallon, but it smelled like a ton and a half.”

County officials said employees dealt with the noxious nuisance by opening windows and using air freshener sprays. In addition, each office is equipped with an air purifier.

According to Delk, approximately 50 pigeons call the courthouse rooftop home.

“But one pair of pigeons can create up to 160 offspring annually,” Delk said.

Clovis resident Juan Gonzales said he would hate to see a pigeon-free downtown. The retiree said he visits Main Street a few times a month, bread bag in hand, to feed the birds on the sidewalks.

“They (pigeons) need somewhere to live,” Gonzales said, “and I like to watch them eat and fly.”

Delk said many residents enjoy feeding the birds, so the county has tried to handle the situation humanely.

“We have used nontoxic chemical spray and hired an individual to do live trapping,” Delk said. “But they (pigeons) keep coming back.”

To alleviate the pigeon problem, county officials plan to construct a modified rubber roof identical to the one on the Curry County Juvenile Detention Center. “For some reason, the pigeons won’t nest on the white modified roof,” Delk said.
The maintenance crew spends between three and four hours monthly cleaning the pigeon excrement from the roof and entryways.

“It’s all in a day’s work,” Delk said. “We (maintenance) deal in poo every day.”