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Pigeon poop peeves passengers at Federal Way Transit Center | Write a Blessing

Pigeon poop soils the sidewalk at the Federal Way Transit Center. - Nandell Palmer, Contributed
Pigeon poop soils the sidewalk at the Federal Way Transit Center.
— image credit: Nandell Palmer, Contributed

The weather is chilly and gray as a Seattle attorney waits patiently in line for the Sound Transit 577 bus at the Federal Way Transit Center. He’s happy that he will make the 7 a.m. bus this morning, and not forced to wait for the later bus because of overcrowding.

As the long line snakes its way for what seems like miniature miles, other passengers pass time by listening to their iPods and other gadgets. There is a section of the waiting area, however, that is increasingly gaining attention for the wrong reason: a roosting/nesting enclave for pigeons. The site is quite an eyesore – floor awash with excrement and twigs falling from the ceiling.

Briefly scanning the scene, it would appear as though it’s a secret everybody knows but doesn’t want to pass along. The sheepish lawyer knows a thing or two about this spot, but he’s also too embarrassed to share his experience with his fellow man on the street.

He makes sure to be ultra-vigilant, ever mindful that his elegant London Fog coat could be soiled by pigeon droppings, such as what happened three weeks ago when he was dumped upon and forced to clean up himself before boarding the bus. I am fortunate enough to hear the whole scoop later.

I don’t know about you, but for such an expensive edifice with state-of-the-art features, it is a crying shame that Federal Way passengers have to constantly dodge pigeon poop before boarding the bus. Why not match the ambiance with the seeming luxury of the center?

With the airwaves constantly piping out classical music of Gounod, Handel, Mendelssohn, and Tchaikovsky, the excrement is more than a mere dissonance or repellant for loiterers and would-be criminals.

Listening to this music, we law-abiding passengers wouldn’t mind being vicariously transported to getaway spots like sailing on a gondola in Venice, traipsing along in Tivoli Gardens, Copenhagen, or window shopping in St. Petersburg. The last thing we want is to be preoccupied with scatology, facing a new day.

One evening as I got off the bus, I came face to face with a respected Federal Way barber, Josh, who was seething. He soon directed my attention to the soiled pavement.

“When are they gonna do something about this mess?” he ranted as he pointed and weaved his way around the vast expanse of droppings and twigs on the ground. “Should people walk inside their homes with this mess on their shoes? Will you write something in the paper about this situation?”

He went on to deplore the state of the center, saying that it is no excuse when both Sound Transit and King County Metro are reaping a ton of money from Federal Way passengers, without taking care of the basic amenities.

He said that he has noticed the droppings for more than six weeks, and nobody seemed to be budging to clean up the spot.

There are merits and demerits of having pigeons in the city. In many parts of the world, pigeons are idolized as symbols of prosperity: London’s Piccadilly Circus and New York’s Times Square are two of those cities that readily come to mind.

If Federal Way can benefit from the pigeon prosperity, by all means let’s welcome that prosperity boom.

In the meantime, let’s install humane deterrent spike, nets and poop catchers along the exposed ceiling for a more harmonious coexistence between man and bird.

Long effective in New York City subway stations, ultrasonic devices can also be employed to divert the pigeons to other areas. Again, no harm to life or limb as the repelling sound is only audible to the birds.

It is not far-fetched that Josh and others are also concerned about pigeons spreading diseases. Pigeons are low-maintenance birds that will basically nest anywhere.

Research has shown that pigeon droppings may pose some health risks. The diseases that are associated with pigeon feces are cryptococcosis, psittacosis, and histoplasmosis, respectively.

While it is said that these diseases are not transmittable from person to person, it is strongly advised that people with compromised immune systems, such as cancer and HIV/AIDS patients, should stay clear of pigeon droppings.

Have people on hand to clean up droppings, as inhalation of a certain fecal fungus can expose patients to more infections with sustained headaches, rash, fatigue, fever, chills, etc.

For agencies not to require maintenance workers to clean up after the birds is disheartening for decent passengers, who leave their homes looking good and smelling good to board the bus, only to be dumped on.

I am just wondering what would be the ideal rebuttal for this old proverb when said by a grandmotherly type: “If you didn’t go under [pigeons] roost, they wouldn’t poop or [shih tzu] on you.”

Federal Way resident Nandell Palmer: palmern777@aol.com.

 

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