Starling ‘invasion’ wreaks havoc on French city

Thousands of the birds have set up camp on roofs, leading to piles of mess, excessive noise and a bad smell. Children’s play areas have been closed

The birds, when not flying in dazzling formation, have become a source of nuisance for residents
Published Last updated

A town in north-east France is dealing with an unlikely pest – starlings.

Thousands of the birds have arrived in the Maxéville suburb of the city of Nancy, with residents complaining about both the noise and smell they are causing.

The suburb is used to having starlings come and rest over winter before migrating, but the exceptionally high volume this year is causing issues.

Children’s play areas even had to be closed due to the number of birds – and droppings – in the area, with parents afraid their children would be attacked.

Authorities are bringing in a falconer to provide advice and to attempt to prevent a repeat invasion next year.

Cars need to be cleaned ‘every other day’

“It's horrible how it stinks. We have to wash our cars at least every other day, and I can't open my windows to air out my house any more,” one resident told Le Parisien.

Another explained how they took an umbrella with them out on walks, even when there is no rain, to avoid the number of bird droppings.

The city is being forced to constantly clean the mess in an attempt to ‘remove the stench’ from the birds.

Each afternoon the birds fly into the sky for hours, forming mesmerising and beautiful patterns but also defecating across the town.

People think the birds are attracted by the warmth of the buildings they are resting on throughout the day, which provide considerably more warmth than any traditional nest.

Officials say they are doing all they can and that by the end of winter the birds will have flown off.

Related articles

PHOTOS: why there are so many more storks in France now

Migratory birds you may see overhead or stopping off in France