Story last updated at 1:56 p.m. Thursday, July 18, 2002

Birds hard to 'swallow'
It is not yet Alfred Hitchcock material, but the birds fluttering outside the bedroom window of Sue and Jim Winterrowd's home are long past the stage where they are welcome.

There are 24 nests built under the eaves of their duplex home in Eagle River, and the cliff swallows are fluttering around all day, especially early in the morning.

While the birds do a good job of keeping the mosquito population under control, the evidence of their existence has painted the home's windows, and the carport and vehicles below their nests are in a "danger zone."

Initially, Jim Winterrowd said, the nesting birds didn't seem too unusual. But while his neighbors have one or two nests, the Winterrowd's abode proved particularly popular for the swallow community.

The cliff swallows are migratory birds, and as such, are protected by federal law. The nests can be carefully removed by professionals with the knowledge and equipment, but only with a federal permit. The Winterrowds are seeking such a permit because they say the birds have exceeded their welcome.

"This is not protecting wildlife," Sue Winterrowd said. This is a pest."

For now, however, the Winterrowds will likely have to keep cleaning their windows and sidewalk daily as regulations prohibit the removal of the nests while the birds are nesting.

-- Alaska Star

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