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Owl helps store avoid dirty sign

Kroger’s fake critter deters roosting birds

POSTED: August 2, 2013 12:06 p.m.
Randy C. Murray/

Kroger in Hinesville uses a fake owl to keep birds from messing up or nesting in the store’s sign.

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Kroger customers entering or leaving the Hinesville store sometimes may feel like someone is watching them and, in a sense, they’re right. Above the entrance to the store, a ceramic sentry — an owl — stands guard on Kroger’s three-dimensional sign.
“I guess you could say it works sort of like a scarecrow,” said Mark Walden, manager of the Hinesville Kroger. “It helps keep birds from leaving droppings on our sign or making nests in the sign.”
Walden pointed out that his store also has a second line of defense against unwanted birds. Tiny spikes line the top of each letter in the sign and on the inside of the letters o, g and e. He said that a pair of sparrows that has made a home inside the “e” are small enough to fit between the spikes.
They apparently were unperturbed by the owl, which Walden thinks has been glued in place. He said the fake owl already was attached to the sign when he started working at the Hinesville store in October. He believes, however, the spikes probably are doing more to reduce bird droppings on his store’s sign than the owl.
“I’ve worked for Kroger for 36 years now,” said Walden, who came to Hinesville from Rincon. “The only other store that kept an owl on its sign to scare away birds was one on Victory Drive in Savannah. I think after a while, the birds get used to it sitting in the same place. They’ve started coming back.”
Midway resident Dot Moss recommended using rubber snakes to keep birds, squirrels and other pests out of fruit trees. A tour of her front yard finds at least one fake snake in each of her cherry trees, blueberry bushes and grape vines. Like the ceramic owl, which she strategically places near her vegetable garden, she periodically moves the snakes around so birds and squirrels don’t get too comfortable with the fake critters’ lack of mobility.

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