Rome overwhelmed by faeces of migrating birds

Starlings fill the sky in Rome, with the dome of Saint Peter's silhouetted. Photograph: Stefano Rellandini/Reuters

Starlings fill the sky in Rome, with the dome of Saint Peter’s silhouetted. Photograph: Stefano Rellandini/Reuters

Romans are staying at home or shielding themselves with umbrellas when venturing out this autumn as the city is bombarded by tonnes of slippery and foul-smelling excrement from millions of migrating starlings.

The problem is an annual one, but this year the cash-strapped city has failed to muster the €40,000 it usually spends on hiring 20 people to walk under plane trees lining the Tiber – where the birds roost en route to Africa – with loudspeakers in order to scare them off with recordings of the screeching noise starlings make when predatory falcons approach. Continue reading