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Look out below: Symphony seeks solution to a messy bird infestation at Waikiki Shell

Updated: Jun. 9, 2021 at 6:03 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - When the Hawaii Symphony Orchestra launched its concert series in May, that marked the first shows at the iconic Waikiki Shell in more than a year.

But the symphony is also sharing the iconic outdoor venue with hundreds of birds who moved in when it was shut down for 15 months during the pandemic.

“There’s holes up there where the birds are coming in and roosting,” said HSO executive director Dave Moss. “We’re getting droppings on our musicians. We’re getting nesting falling down.”

“It’s really a health and safety concern for our musicians.”

Moss estimates about 200 birds live in the shell structure and the evidence is everywhere ― on the stage, the area where the conductor stands, and the musicians’ chairs and equipment.

“I’ve had droppings on my music stand,” said HSO concert master Iggy Jang. “My colleagues, cellists, have had droppings on their cellos on their instruments. It’s not an ideal situation for the orchestra.”

And that’s just what’s on the surface.

Right above the stage in the recesses of the Waikiki Shell, there were bird carcasses and feathers with no sign of maintenance.

The orchestra’s since put up sheeting among other measures.

“You’ll also see a couple of tents on stage one from City Mill that is covering our cello section where they were really taking the brunt of the impact so to say from the birds,” Moss added.

He said he’s been talking with city officials for months to clear up the issue, but there is no firm plan in place.

In a statement submitted to Hawaii News Now, the city acknowledged the increased presence of birds due to lack of activity at the venue. The statement continued:

“We have utilized various, commonly-used abatement methods over the years which have not fully resolved the bird roosting issue. The Department of Enterprise Services is currently receiving bids from companies proposing humane mitigation methods for review.”

The HSO uses the venue six days a week and has shows scheduled through the summer, but is approaching a two-week break.

That intermission that could bring some much needed relief.

“I don’t anticipate that we’ll be able to mitigate the problem completely,” Moss said.

“I think that will be a much longer project, but I’m hopeful that we’ll be able to find a solution so that we can get through the rest of the summer and other organizations, besides the Hawaii Symphony Orchestra, can put this wonderful venue to use.

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