The Hawaii comptroller’s office this year spent $25,000 to replace bird netting wrapped around the third-floor ledge of the state Capitol.

But it hasn’t worked. The birds, namely pigeons, are still nesting in the eaves of the building, and droppings continue to streak the windows of lawmakers.

And it’s possible that the new netting has even made things worse.

“Since the replacement, we’ve noticed that the birds have not dispersed and seem to almost be fighting to stay there,” said Dean Shimomura of the state Department of Accounting and Government Services. “These are all problems that weren’t there prior to the deteriorating of the old netting. The birds have been picking and pulling at the netting and perching in areas where they previously didn’t.”

Shimomura added, “We don’t know if they just got used to being there or if it’s an instinctive thing where they go back to the place where they were born.”

One thing’s for sure, though: DAGS is looking once again for a solution to the pesky pigeons.

Angry Birds

The Capitol was explicitly designed to reflect nature: ocean, sky, volcanoes, etc.

Lately, it seems as if the animals have taken over.

Some windows at the Capitol — part of the Hawaii Capital Historic District — have been coated so thickly in bird droppings that it was difficult to see through them. From certain angles, they resemble Jackson Pollock canvases.

Georgette Deemer, communications manager for the state House of Representatives, said the problem “is much less severe now,” thanks to regular cleaning by Honolulu’s World Wide Window Cleaning.

But Deemer also says she hears from some House denizens that the “birds are quite persistent and keep trying to break through the netting.”

Caroline Julian in the state Senate’s communications office said, “One senator said she notices it’s getting better, but there are still pockets of poop.”

Rodents, Sewage

The old netting was deteriorating, and Shimomura of DAGS said estimates to replace it were initially between $50,000 and $100,000.

“Once we were able to bid out the work, the Central Services Division did spend about $25,000 to have the netting replaced, and that work has been completed as the low bid came in way lower than our expectations,” he said.

“We are currently looking into other methods of bird deterrents and have already installed spikes on the vertical ribs on the side of the building,” Shimomura added.

On a related matter, the House Sargeant-At-Arms office says a rodent problem that cropped up this fall has “improved greatly,” thanks to DAGS contract with an exterminator to handle monthly maintenance and continuous use of traps and baits.

Pigeons and rodents aren’t the only pests at the Capitol.

The state also pays $1,500 a month to the city to pump brackish water from the reflecting pool surrounding the building into the sewage system.

About the Author