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Greenwood redoubles efforts to shoo away blackbirds

GREENWOOD — The city of Greenwood is renewing its annual effort to chase away thousands of pesky blackbirds.

Cities in the Mississippi Delta have tried imaginative methods to chase off thousands of blackbirds that stop over for weeks at a time on their annual migration.

This time, there are no shrieking pyrotechnics, starter pistols, recorded bird distress calls or electronic scarecrows. Instead, Greenwood is attacking the squawking blackbirds by cutting down the trees where they live.

Mayor Carolyn McAdams tells The Greenwood Commonwealth that workers have removed a line of Bradford pear trees from the median on U.S. Highway 82 where the blackbirds annually take roost.

“They are a haven for blackbirds. As you know, we’re a big habitat for blackbirds,” McAdams said.

She also said the trees were beginning to look unkempt, with limbs breaking off and requiring too much maintenance.

The mayor said it was decided to remove them and start with a hardier tree, such as a dwarf magnolia.

The trees were planted by Greenwood’s Altrusa International more than 15 years ago.

Altrusa member Patsy Blount said the service organization received approval to plant the trees from the Mississippi Department of Transportation. She said Bradford pears have a life expectancy of only 15 to 20 years. Some of the trees were also removed after being struck by cars, she said.

Although the city can remove the trees with MDOT’s approval, it must receive written permission from the agency to plant new trees on the median, McAdams said.

Once approval is received, she said, the new trees would be planted beginning in late October.


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