Let the Birds Sit in the Trees

Photo: AP (I hope this pigeon eating berries in Ankara, Turkey illustrates my point well enough.)
Photo: AP (I hope this pigeon eating berries in Ankara, Turkey illustrates my point well enough.)

Free idea: let the birds sit in the trees! Along with the atmosphere, roofs, and fine dining establishments (if frantic), this is where birds belong. And frankly it’s where you belong too if you try to prevent nature from running its course.


The Guardian reported on Tuesday that in the British city of Bristol spikes were recently affixed to trees to safeguard the “expensive cars” of its human inhabitants from being shat upon by perched birds. The spikes were installed by management company Hillcrest Estate Management.

Once word got out about this, the reactions on social media were almost universally reproving:

One resident who did not wish to reveal their identity told The Guardian:

“The spikes are solely to protect the cars [parked under the trees]. There is a big problem with bird droppings around here. They can really make a mess of cars, and for some reason the birds do seem to congregate around this area.... We did try other methods to scare off the birds. I think we had a wooden bird of prey in the branches, but that didn’t seem to do anything.”


I’m a fan of the wooden birds that didn’t do anything. More of those, please.

This brings to mind those malevolent little spikes many cities throughout the world have deployed on various benches, ledges, and underpasses to ensure that homeless people—or any weary person who desires a reprieve—can’t linger in the spaces claimed by moneyed consumers. Will the neighborhoods of the wealthy one day be covered ledge-to-flora with spikes? How will they exit their houses? Will they leave the rest of humanity primed for a Hitchcock-style bird attack? Is that what this is at least partially about?

contributing writer, nights


Even in scary witch forests, the trees are just black with grabby hands, not actual metal spikes. If it’s too hostile for scary witch forest, maybe it’s not a good addition to your neighborhood.