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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Landmark Co. should silence squawking

    It’s 2 a.m. You’re walking home from a night out on University Boulevard when suddenly a loud, piercing noise fills your ears.

    Or maybe it’s 2 p.m., and University is in full swing as you walk by Landmark Clothing and Shoes and hear that same screeching noise.

    It’s … a bird? The noise projects out of a speaker on the building in an effort to keep pigeons away, but it successfully startles and annoys everyone around.

    The 54-year-old store sits proudly on the corner of University Boulevard and Tyndall Avenue, selling quality shoes and outdoor apparel. I’ve never actually shopped there, but I know it as the store with the loud bird recording. As I stood outside, hearing the squawk go off every eight minutes or so, I found that I was not alone.

    “It’s annoying,” said UA alumna Whitney Nelson. “It shouldn’t be as loud as it is. … Maybe a nice chirp, but not a loud bird.”

    I have no doubt that the sound scares away pigeons, but I can imagine it would also scare away customers. Is the noise really that necessary? A quieter or less shocking bird noise would suffice. The sound at Landmark is not the soft coo of a dove or chirp of a songbird. It is a squawking, clearly upset, loud and overbearing bird scream.

    “We used to have a pigeon problem and they would nest on the side of the building. They don’t do that anymore,” said co-owner John Finkelstein. “There are less humane ways to get rid of pigeons; this is the most humane way to get them under control.”

    The shriek that comes from the speaker is of distressed pigeons, which scares other pigeons away from the building — and if that isn’t enough, there are also metal barbs lining the windows to frighten lingering birds.

    I saw a couple of pigeons here and there on University, but nothing I would consider a “problem.” Other stores on University get by without a similar bird scare, so why does Landmark need it?

    The store has had the timed pigeon recording for 12 years, according to Finkelstein, who said he doesn’t notice the sound anymore. He’s lucky, because other employees at nearby locations have grown tired of the ceaseless squawk.

    “[The noise] is the worst,” said Matt Coope, a pre-pharmacy student at Pima Community College who works at Espresso Art Cafe.
    “It’s the most obnoxious thing on campus.”

    He suggests the store follow in PCC’s footsteps and install a noise to scare away the birds that is less obnoxious.

    “[PCC has] a soft ticking noise you can’t really hear, and there are no birds on the campus,” Coop said.

    PCC has also invested in OvoControl, a bird birth control of sorts that is distributed from bird feeders placed on a roof. According to, the estimated 200 pigeons on the campus were reduced to just five in two years. Birth control for birds sounds ridiculous, but it has been approved by The Humane Society of the United States and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals as a humane way to deal with bird problems.

    In the same way the train that loudly chugs through Tucson may be annoying to some but calming to others, the noise at Landmark is nostalgic for at least one passerby I met.

    “I remember being little and walking by here,” said Paige Larsh, an undeclared freshman. “It’s been up there so long that it’d be weird not to hear it.”

    Larsh seems to be the exception. I stopped many students outside the store that had strong opinions against the noise; some hadn’t noticed it before, but upon hearing it for the first time they were quick to complain as well.

    That’s too bad, because many of them complimented the store itself.

    Landmark carries quality clothing and has been a staple on University for more than five decades. Unfortunately, I will forever remember the store as the one with the annoying bird sound instead of a popular outfitter. If pigeon reduction is absolutely necessary, there are a plethora of better solutions. The goal is to scare away the birds, not the people passing by.

    Kalli Wolf is a journalism junior. Follow her @kalli3wolf.

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