Vern Hee / Pahrump Valley Times - Last Monday 20 angry neighbors crowded into Liese Tamburrino’s home to hear Nye County Commissioner, Butch Borasky, speak on possible action that can be taken against the “pigeon lady.”
Vern Hee / Pahrump Valley Times - For close to an hour, Commissioner Borasky (far right) listened patiently to neighbors talk about how Marie Bennett feeds close to 1,000 pigeons at her home and refuses to stop, to the dismay of many of her neighbors.
In the Lakeview neighborhood pigeon war on the 1400 block of East Mount Charleston Dr., Liese Tamburrino fired the first volley.
On Monday, a neighborhood meeting with 20 of her neighbors was held. The group met with county Commissioner Butch Borasky, and all received a civics lesson on how to solve the pigeon problem plaguing their streets.
Most of those who attended are homeowners who either border Marie Bennett’s property — Bennett enjoys feeding the pigeons and many blame her for the pesky problem — or the property bordering Tamburrino’s. Bennett, who remains indifferent despite her neighbors’ worries, was absent from the meeting.
According to Bennett’s neighbors, over the past few years she has befriended the local bird population, claiming to only feed the quails. Her efforts with the quails have increased the pigeon population, however, from 50 birds up to 1,000.
At the meeting, Tamburrino told Borasky about her frustrations with the nuisance birds. She told the commissioner about the neighbors’ attempts to stop Bennett. She also described the mess the pigeons made around her home.
Neighbor Nancy Dury said she has a letter she sent to Nye County concerning the pigeon problem dating back to October 2012. She attempted then to get the county to help her stop the Bennett family from feeding the birds.
She said at one point the pigeons filled the power lines causing the neighborhood to lose power because there were so many birds on the wire. Valley Electric was called in and had to put in spacers on the lines to keep the pests from causing more power disruptions. The spacers were needed so that when the pigeons flew away the lines would not touch each other. The only thing the county could do back then was to have Bennett place the feed in containers because it was a health hazard to leave the food on the ground.
The neighbors were calm and open to what Borasky had to say. He allowed the neighbors to vent their frustrations.
When Borasky spoke, he briefly went over what options the residents had to keep the pigeons off their property. He mentioned things like WD-40 and Avitrol (a bird poison). Pigeons can’t stand the smell of WD-40. He urged caution in killing the birds.
He also recommended to the residents to put together a letter to all five county commissioners and asked them all to sign it. He said the letter should outline the problem and say that it was a nuisance beyond control. He told the residents that with the letter he could place the problem on the county agenda, which would be addressed at the next commission meeting on Aug. 19.
“I am going to research this to see if any other counties in Nevada have had to deal with this,” Borasky said. “This is not an isolated problem. I know of two other areas in the town that have the problem. The numbers of pigeons here are pretty scary. I have never seen such numbers before. Another option would be for the county to declare this a nuisance and then try to deal with it that way. If we do that, then we have to put funding behind that to pay for it. How to resolve this issue? I don’t know.”
Borasky also said having an ordinance written against feeding feral pigeons was another option. He said this option would take more time because it involved the district attorney’s office and he said that office was very busy. He then told the residents they had a week to get their letter to him for the next meeting.
For an ordinance to go through it would require three public hearings and would probably take 90 to 120 days.
Donald Peterson, who is Tamburrino’s fiancé, thought the meeting was productive.
“The commissioner had done some preparation and had some good ideas. He put some thought into them before coming and had a plan of action,” he said.
Another neighbor who lives across the street from Tamburrino, Sheila Loftus, was a bit more conservative. She also was not optimistic.
“I think the commissioner didn’t want to raise our hopes too much,” she said.
Joyce Gielow, a neighbor close to Bennett, agreed with Peterson.
“I thought he was efficient and was willing to help us out and was willing to do what he can. I know it will take time, but it will be worth it. I feel for as much time as he is talking about it’s not as much time that we have had to deal with the problem,” Gielow said.
Tamburrino was excited about the prospect of getting results.
“I was so gratified to see so many people come,” Tamburrino remarked. “I met people that I didn’t realize were affected by the problem. At the same time, it was discouraging to learn how long the problem had been around. It had been addressed before, but with no success. I was so impressed with what Nancy Dury had done. My goodness the hours she had put into this. Another thing that was astonishing to me was every single couple here with the exception of the people who lived on Doral Court had been to the ‘pigeon lady,’ and had said to her, ‘please stop feeding the pigeons.’ She is clearly indifferent.”