To Nature Walk:
I'm Len Tatko and my friend?is Beverly Furtado.
We live in the shadow of a CenturyLink teletower and have gone after the company for more than five years because of the bird poop dumped on our property from migratory bird such as starlings and grackles who roost on the tower and defecate on our property.
A single Carolina lily plant.
CenturyLink has not done much to?help us. I contacted Lee County hoping they would deem the poop a health?hazard.
Nothing doing, stated Lee County. It poses no health problem.?
The poop is quite heavy from fall until spring.? Maybe you could steer us to someone who would help analyze the poop in a lab. Looking to hear from you,??
William Dunson, Ph.d., professor emeritus of biology at Penn State University, splits time between Southwest Florida and his farm in Galax, Va. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Signed: Beverly Furtado and Len Tatko?The Palmetto Inn?381 Palm Ave. Box 624?Boca Grande FL 33921?Tel: (941) 964-0410
Any type of feces are dangerous from a disease perspective. Type in "bird feces diseases" into Google and you will get a lot of hits. For example this site lists 60 diseases that may be present in bird feces: medicalnewstoday.com/releases/61646.php.
I would not want to be close to a concentrated area of feces. You have relatively few options, however, given that we have to have communications towers.
The blackbirds in our neighborhood on southern Manasota Key roost on telephone wires in large numbers and poop all over the sidewalks next to the public beach.
What can you do?
There is a long history of people trying to control large numbers of blackbirds at roosts involving various types of devices to scare them and to kill them.
Since many of the birds are native birds present in abnormally large numbers due to human food sources, it is controversial as to what to do. Again you can search in Google to read about these cases but you are not going to get permission to spray the birds on your tower.
Lowes plays a predator sound to scare away sparrows but it is barely effective. Some loud noises at night while they are roosting might be a deterrent but what would the neighbors say?
I would sell your place and move to a cleaner location!
Marveling at amazing nectar dispensers
Careful observations of flowers will yield many surprising ideas concerning the possible functions of their widely varied colors and shapes. Remember that flowers in nature exist only to propagate the species and not to please us. Therefore their primary purposes must be to attract pollinators (assuming they are not wind pollinated), to set and disperse the seeds.
Three examples of wildflowers that we have blooming on our farm in late July well illustrate the diversity and beauty of flowers.
Lilies are one of the larger and more beautiful flowers and a single Carolina lily plant grew in a small gap in the forest created about five years ago when a bulldozer made a forest access road.
Consider the arrangement of the long stamens containing pollen-filled anthers at the tips and the style containing the stigma at the tip, which receives the pollen. This flower, which hangs down, is obviously designed for hovering pollinators such as hummingbirds, large butterflies or sphinx moths, which would contact the anthers and stigma as they come in to feed on nectar.
Smaller insects would bypass the reproductive mechanisms and in essence steal the nectar.
In contrast, consider the flower of a wild swamp rose. It is relatively flat with short stamens.
Most roses do not provide nectar as a reward to potential pollinators but instead attract beetles or bumblebees, which virtually wallow in the massed anthers and collect pollen on their hairs.
The bumblebees also move around rapidly and vibrate, which may release the pollen.
The wild rose, and the exotic and invasive multiflora rose, are far more attractive and beneficial to insects and birds than the hybrid roses, which are widely planted in gardens. I often see hummingbirds attracted to the bright red flowers of knockout roses, go away disappointed by the lack of nectar.
A brilliant red native flower, found in disturbed wet areas, is the cardinal flower. This brightly colored flower is designed even more specifically than the lily to attract hummingbirds.
The nectar is available down a thin corolla tube, and the reproductive parts are concentrated in a structure at the top of the flower. Clearly this would contact the head and/or back of the hummingbird as it feeds on the nectar. Access would be difficult for other animals.
Why is it advantageous for a flower to be so specialized for a single group of animals or a single species of bird? Apparently hummingbirds are efficient at pollinating plants since they visit them repeatedly (a process called trap-lining) and accomplish a high degree of fertilization.
So enjoy the beauty of flowers simply for the colors and fantastic forms, or go beyond this simplistic appreciation and see how much more amazing they are when you think about why each flower has evolved its unique colors and shapes.