UPDATE: Anti Pigeon Devices Removed!! “Both make intermittent, high-pitched squeals that are piercingly loud, at least to my 30-year-old ears”

by Prince Of Petworth October 12, 2016 at 12:45 pm 40 Comments

14th and Irving Street, NW

Ed. Note: Back in August 2010 we broke the news that an anti loitering device called the mosquito was placed outside the Chinatown Gallery Place Metro station. After complaints the device was removed within two months.

Update: Just got off the phone with the folks from Donatelli and as one commenter suspected – it was a device to keep the pigeons away! But because people have complained that they could hear it (more than OP here) they have taken down the devices today.

“Dear PoPville,

There are two noise-making devices, one just outside the Columbia Heights Metro above Five Guys and the other about 75 feet away above Potbelly. Both make intermittent, high-pitched squeals that are piercingly loud, at least to my 30-year-old ears. I could even hear them inside the Metro station. I come by this area at least twice a day during the week and first noticed the sound at 6:30 p.m. today. The machines were still going at 9:30. Two security guards in the plaza with Special Police badges told me they had never seen the devices before and believed they were new.

These devices, which likely violate the DC Human Rights Act, were installed in a public space without any identification of who installed them, how the decision was made, and what purpose they serve. Their existence infringes on the rights of young people and the underemployed, housing insecure individuals who frequent this public space. They’re also a real bother to those of us with young ears who just want to get some food or use the Metro. I call on the property owner, which I believe is Donatelli Development, to remove the devices immediately, and on the city to ensure that property owners remove these devices from public spaces.


David Spett”


  • Linc Park SE

    Are you sure they arent just to keep pigeons away? The HT on Potomac Ave uses them. They sound like a predator ird squeal. Same?

  • Seriously

    I think these should be mandatory at every metro station.

    • illinoisandjefferson

      and a good number of metro bus stops.

  • Anon

    Being under 18yo does not place you in a protected class. Such devices primarily target the young whose ears are sufficiently sensitive to discern the higher-register noise. My guess is that the folks responsible for the devices are still working through the kinks. That, or they noticed that many of the kids have prematurely lost their sensitivity to the higher frequencies due to listening to (very) loud music (most likely with headphones).

    • nevermindtheend

      It does in DC.

  • Anony

    Good. Be gone young loiterers that are mostly up to no good in front of the CoHi Metro. Yes, I said mostly not all so don’t respond with “what about my little Johnny who just wants to sit and eat ice cream at the Metro entrance”

  • textdoc

    “housing insecure” — I guess this is new-speak for “homeless”?

    • Anon

      Not quite, though “homeless” certainly falls under “housing insecure”.

  • petworther

    There are some of these on the GA Ave Yes Organic (where loitering was never an issue). I am pretty sure they are for pigeons, not people, and are intended to reduce waste deposited on the building; although the latter is the source of most of the animal waste that makes the Columbia Heights metro so foul (pun intended).

  • anon

    Considering I never feel safe walking through this area due to the loitering problem and blatant drug use/market, I wish they would put out more like in front of Unity Health Services and the 7-11.

    • divebar311

      What time are you walking around the area? I am a woman who walks 8 blocks to and from that metro almost every day and I feel safe and the sidewalks are full of non drug using non-loiterers.

      Now if you are talking about between 3 and 6 am that’s a whole different story…

      • FridayGirl

        Same. If I feel unsafe anywhere it would be a few blocks down, near the park. But during the day the area is so populated I’m not too worried.
        In other news, is that 7-11 still open? I walked by mid-day on Sunday for the first time in quite awhile and it looked suspiciously closed-up.

        • FridayGirl

          (Actually that might be a stupid question. It could have just looked closed to me because I hadn’t noticed a school display in the window on the southern-side before and it attracted my attention.)

        • CHGal

          The 7-11 was open as recently as last weekend. There’s always some guys loitering out front, but the guys who run that 7-11 are really nice.

      • anon

        My apartment overlooks this block and I watch drug deals in plain sight every day. It doesn’t matter what time, well with the exception of 6am, that’s about the only time the block is empty. I have talked with the police about it and pointed out exactly who was dealing, and they are still there. Every day.

      • MoldieOldie

        both you and ‘FridayGirl’ must be (absolutely) oblivious to your surroundings. that metro plaza is an open drug market and urinal. shootings happen every other day (and at all hours) one or two blocks away. i’ve seen too many (one is too many) blood trails in CH. of course, criminals have a constitutional right to assembly (i.e., loiter and sell drugs and piss on your own private property). VICTORY

  • Dunkin

    Dear Donatelli Development:
    We’ll take ’em at the Petworth Metro. Especially in front of Dunkin Donuts. So sick of that scene.

    • wobber


    • Hukiyoyo

      No kidding!

  • K

    Didn’t they used to have these, or something similar, at the Chinatown Metro? I remember hearing people complain about them back when I first moved to the area in 2006. I think it was called Mosquito Noise or some such weird name.

    • pa2nova

      I guess you didn’t read the editor’s note?

      • K

        Or I posted before the editors note.

  • Ashy Oldlady

    Just be thankful they haven’t turned on the shock feature.

  • Truxton Thomas

    Where can I get one of these?

  • FridayGirl

    I’m really curious whether residents in those apartments can hear this noise inside, too. If you can hear it in the metro, I think that the residents would be able to hear it and would have more reason to complain than pretty much everyone else…

    • CHGal

      I would imagine the owners of Potbelly, Pete’s and Five Guys wouldn’t be too happy either.

      • FridayGirl

        It looks like this may have been the case from PoP’s update. Haha….

  • Anonymous

    Metro really dropped the ball when they were fixing these particular escalators. It would have been a great time to install some anti-pigeon spikes under the canopy, like what Metro has done at the new Silver Line stations. Now that construction is over it will be a lot more expensive to install anything. While it’s unfortunate that these newly installed devices both some people, I have to appreciate the development company’s effort to at least do something about the flying rats.

  • John

    Funny I never noticed the noise, but just today when I was grabbing a bus at the CoHi metro I noticed a ton of pigeons on the metro canopy. I’m all for keeping them, especially if they keep the loiterers away that make that space unwelcoming!


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