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Thread: Parking lot trees and complaints about birds

  1. #1
    Cyburbian
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    Parking lot trees and complaints about birds

    How do you counter the argument that requiring more trees (or just trees period) in parking lot landscaping attracts birds that will then crap on cars? It doesn't seem to be an unfounded complaint, I guess. We have grackels here like crazy and they are nasty.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Seabishop's avatar
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    It seems to pale in comparison to the impacts of a parking lot with no landscaping (more runoff, aesthetics, heat island effects).

  3. #3
    Cyburbian AnvilPartners's avatar
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    I would think that would create an opportunity

    to create a new municipal program -- diapers for birds...think of the employment and economic impact...

    RES
    "Sometimes you have to get medieval with it...hammer, sparks, sweat, the whole nine yards...so don't forget your asbestos suit."
    Aphorisms on Public Hearings, Planning Guild Handbook (2001).

  4. #4
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by AnvilPartners View post
    to create a new municipal program -- diapers for birds...think of the employment and economic impact...

    RES
    Well that would create jobs in the manufacturing and service sectors but then you'd have people complaining about used bird diapers in the landfill. Maybe cloth is the answer.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian CJC's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Lyburnum View post
    Well that would create jobs in the manufacturing and service sectors but then you'd have people complaining about used bird diapers in the landfill. Maybe cloth is the answer.
    They already exist:

    http://gizmodo.com/5129510/flighsuit...-fecal-fallout

    On the topic, I think Seabishop nailed it. The negatives of not having any trees would seem to vastly outweigh any positives of not having trees.
    Two wrongs don't necessarily make a right, but three lefts do.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian wahday's avatar
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    Plus, we're talking about Texas here. Its a VERY sunny place (as is New Mexico). I would take bird crap over a hot poker of an interior in my car any day. And I do remember the ubiquitous grackel, so I appreciate the realities of a large bird population. But, really, I think this inconvenience is outweighed by the benefits of reduced heat (in the cars and in the immediate environment), runoff, etc.
    The purpose of life is a life of purpose

  7. #7
    Cyburbian zman's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Lyburnum View post
    How do you counter the argument that requiring more trees (or just trees period) in parking lot landscaping attracts birds that will then crap on cars? It doesn't seem to be an unfounded complaint, I guess. We have grackels here like crazy and they are nasty.
    These are the same Chucks that come in saying that they cannot plant trees because they will get too large and crush the house... in 80 years! (Betcha the tree will outlast the shitbox McMansion you just built, buddy)
    You get all squeezed up inside/Like the days were carved in stone/You get all wired up inside/And it's bad to be alone

    You can go out, you can take a ride/And when you get out on your own/You get all smoothed out inside/And it's good to be alone
    -Peart

  8. #8
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by wahday View post
    Plus, we're talking about Texas here. Its a VERY sunny place (as is New Mexico). I would take bird crap over a hot poker of an interior in my car any day. And I do remember the ubiquitous grackel, so I appreciate the realities of a large bird population. But, really, I think this inconvenience is outweighed by the benefits of reduced heat (in the cars and in the immediate environment), runoff, etc.
    Oh yeah I would rather have crap over scorching seats too. I find our citizens are pretty apathetic about these kinds of things and the ones who aren't apathetic (local builders) bring up the bird issue as a way to scare the Planning Commission and City Council that these basic kinds of standards that a lot of cities take for granted are driving up the cost of bidness.

  9. #9
    Tell people they should wax their cars?

    The only legitimate complaint I know about birdshit is that bird shit carries a very specific variety of mold spores that can become toxic on inhalation of the dust (Histoplasmosis) and Chlamydiosis (Parrot Fever) that's caused by a type of avian chlamydia.

    However, Texas' lack of parrots and probable lack of other carriers of both diseases would negate this. Texas doesn't have a lot of passerine birds or migratory birds known to carry either-- moreso, Florida, California or Arizona where migratory birds tend to stop on their journey southwards.

    If the business is a rather ritzy place, I'd be kind of pissed off if my Porsche got crapped on while getting a haircut-- technically though, the business should be held liable for things that happen on their property. They should hire someone extra or change someone's job description to be on poop patrol. But unless this is like Garland-Rowett or River Oaks.... EFF them.




    Interesting side note-- in Las Cruces around this time a year when all the Mulberry trees start fruiting, the birds go wild. By the end of May, the entire town is covered in a thin layer of hot purple birdshit. Even though it is kind of gross, it is an endearing quality of South New Mexico.

  10. #10
    Cyburbian H's avatar
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    This is classic. It makes sense, I often debate the ups and downs of parking under trees - [perk] = shade from hot paint eating sun vs. [con] paint eating bird poop.

    one person's pro (more trees) is another con (more birds)... planners really cant "win" for "losing" can we?
    "Those who plan do better than those who do not plan, even though they rarely stick to their plan." - Winston Churchill

  11. #11
    Cyburbian wahday's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by pierre-montee View post
    Interesting side note-- in Las Cruces around this time a year when all the Mulberry trees start fruiting, the birds go wild. By the end of May, the entire town is covered in a thin layer of hot purple birdshit. Even though it is kind of gross, it is an endearing quality of South New Mexico.
    Are your mulberries fruiting already?! Up here, the males are at the height of releasing what I call their "toxic pollen packets" and everyone is suffering. Leaves are starting to come out, but the air is still thick with yellow haze. We used to live under three large males and the allergies were horrifying. Allegra has become my good friend.

    BTW, its illegal to plant or sell mulberry trees in the City of Albuquerque now because of allergens.
    The purpose of life is a life of purpose

  12. #12
    Cyburbian dvdneal's avatar
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    I would tell the developer that by the time your finished grading the lot to nothing, the twig that you call a tree (which barely meets city standards) won't have birds around for quite some time. So quit your complaining and put in a couple trees. IF the people don't like the trees because of the birds, they should be smart enough not to park under a tree.

    On the side, i'm voting seagulls as the worst.

  13. #13
    Cyburbian The One's avatar
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    Hmmm....

    Quote Originally posted by Lyburnum View post
    How do you counter the argument that requiring more trees (or just trees period) in parking lot landscaping attracts birds that will then crap on cars? It doesn't seem to be an unfounded complaint, I guess. We have grackels here like crazy and they are nasty.
    Better birds crapping on cars than people I always say
    Skilled Adoxographer

  14. #14
    Dan Staley's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Lyburnum View post
    How do you counter the argument that requiring more trees (or just trees period) in parking lot landscaping attracts birds that will then crap on cars? It doesn't seem to be an unfounded complaint, I guess. We have grackels here like crazy and they are nasty.
    Tell them we can cut all the trees down and their air conditioning bill and asthma medication will go up about $4-500.00/year, and their water bill will go up about $100.00. So 5-600 a year so they have a clean car. Then don't say another word.

  15. #15
    From what I heard, the mulberries are already fruiting. Remember, we live south of that magical line in New Mexico where the sage stops and the creosote starts. It was always one of my favorite things about driving to Albuquerque from Las Cruces is to slow watch some plants disappear while being replaced by others.

    That's just north of Socorro isn't it? All I know is there is a rest stop there where the line is.

    I don't live there anymore. I did apply for a job working Dona Anna county but that was before the recession really kicked in around August 2008-- never heard back but that really doesn't surprised me about Las Cruces.

  16. #16
    In my old days working for city government, people would just throw out any excuse to keep from doing something they didn't want to do. They just want to keep on the attack and hope something will stick.

    I would like to suggest that you can simply ignore these comments, but I know you cant.

  17. #17
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    If you need more quantitative data you should check out some of the studies Modesto did on street trees such as this:

    http://www.fs.fed.us/psw/programs/cu...avingshade.pdf

    I would echo many of the points above that the benefits of planting trees far outweigh the detriment of bird droppings. I would also look further into what trees make birds crap more, essentially, Using trees that dont offer fruit to brds may reduce this concern.

  18. #18
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    Can you grow pine trees in TX? I'm talking Christmas tree style trees, YOu can have the landscaping and the birds stay away from the cars. They can also provide some shade.

    Otherwise you can always build garages for the cars and use more of the land mass for landscaping! I'm sure that would go over real well in the eyes of the developers.
    We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes - Fr Gabriel Richard 1805

  19. #19
    Cyburbian Plus
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    Developers haven't thought to build and profit from carwashes near the lots?
    Then you must do the thinking for them.

  20. #20
    Quote Originally posted by DetroitPlanner View post
    Can you grow pine trees in TX? I'm talking Christmas tree style trees, YOu can have the landscaping and the birds stay away from the cars. They can also provide some shade.
    Sap-- any tree with a lot of sap will ruin a paint job faster than bird droppings.

    I think the best bet would probably be timber bamboo but that wouldn't be good for the window story.

  21. #21
    There are several strategy compendiums that have been released by the EPA on reducing the effects of urban heat islands. One of these is on trees and vegetation and can be found at http://www.epa.gov/heatisland/mitigation/trees.htm . The full pdf is located on the right hand side near the top of the page. One benefit discussed that would be of particular interest is the reduced maintenance for parking lots when trees are present. It also discusses several financial, environmental, and health benefits.

  22. #22
    Cyburbian Plus
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    Give developers quick personal incentive to be environmentally friendly.

    Most developers don't give a grackel's squawk about any of the excellent quality information that has been been put forth in this thread.

    They look at the information and documents as "socialist red tape spewed out by those damned liberals."

    How most developers think: "It's bad enough they got the White House and Congress, now they want to micromanage ME."


    Most developers want to know what is in it FOR THEM. NOW.

    They have deaf ears due to their own waxy buildup; the best way to unplug them is with a bunch of carrots.

  23. #23
    Cyburbian Emeritus Chet's avatar
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    Planners are funny. The BEST parking lot ever is at an insurance co. near Shebogay, WI. It is fully shrouded in shade trees. No one notices the aesthetic but planners. Never heard a word about bird poop.

    Now in south TX I's take shady bird poop over hot car.

  24. #24
    Cyburbian Plus Zoning Goddess's avatar
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    In FL it has helped if developers quit planting hollies, which seem to be very popular. The berries drop and stain, and they attract a lot of birds, which also drop and stain... A decent landscape guy can certainly steer developers away from trees that attract big, uh, deposit birds. You only have a few hundred to pick from here in the south...

  25. #25
    Cyburbian Emeritus Chet's avatar
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    Taking a queue from ZG, there wouldn't be a good parking lot shade tree here anyway.

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