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Birds of Alcatraz

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(before 2003)

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Alcatraz Island used to be a prison. Prisoners like Al Capone and Scarface used to live there. The people who ran the prison used to chase birds away. Now thousands of birds live there.

Now the island is a National Park. More than a million visitors come to see and hear about prison history and see the ruins. They also see white bird droppings. They hear gulls screeching.

The visitors do not all agree about the birds. Bird lovers think they are wonderful. Other visitors complain about dodging bird droppings. They don't like stepping in it. They say it is scary. They want the National Park Service to clean up the bird droppings.

The National Park Service does not chase the birds away. They have to choose between saving the buildings of the prison or saving the habitat of the birds. They say there haven't been any complaints from visitors about the bird droppings. They say the bird droppings come with the island. There is no water to wash it away.

Visitors to Alcatraz get two for the price of one. They get prison history. They get a bird sanctuary. But they need to wear a hat!

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