BARRINGTON, Ill. (CBS) — In downtown Barrington, there is at least one critic of a high-flying display at a historic theater – but it’s not a stage act.
The house lights are still down at the Catlow Arts Center.READ MORE: 7 People Shot After Argument At Englewood Gathering
“You come in here and you just miss all the hustle and bustle you used to have – you know, especially around the concession stand and everything,” said co-owner Tim O’Connor. “It’s eerily quiet – that’s a good way to put it.”
But as CBS 2’s Marie Saavedra reported, you’ll catch a show there anyway – most nights at dusk – and the best seats are outside. Creatures can be seen flying out of the theater’s chimney.
But not everyone is a fan, as O’Connor learned this week.
“It was a certified letter from the Village of Barrington telling me that they had a complaint about some bats coming out of our chimney,” O’Connor said.
But they’re not bats – they’re birds. The village and O’Connor now agree they are specifically chimney swifts.
“And they’ve been migrating here for the last like 25, 30 years, so this is nothing new,” he said.
But this one complaint is new, and so was the village’s request for O’Connor to pay an expert to find a way to control the issue or face a citation.
“And we would have to appear before some attorney,” O’Connor said. “As soon as I hear that I’m like (grimace).”READ MORE: Massive Chemical Plant Fire In Rockton, Illinois, Could Burn For Days
The village believes the birds are safety and health risk to all parts of the building, but O’Connor disputes that – with no previous problems and all food secured inside. And to add another layer, the chimney swifts are federally protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.
“At this stage, we can’t touch them anyway,” O’Connor said. “I mean, we couldn’t get them out of there if we wanted to.”
We reached out to the village, and Barrington told us it is working on communicating with the owners of the Catlow to find a solution – hopefully in the fall when the birds migrate. Until then, they won’t be forced out, and no citations have been written.
O’Connor: “That’s good to hear!”
Saavedra: “Are they working with you?”
O’Connor: “I haven’t talked to anybody”
Saavedra: “Do you hope to now?”
O’Connor: “Yeah, I would love to settle this I think this is a non-issue basically.”
We call it a little off-screen drama that’s to-be-continued.MORE NEWS: Indiana Man Searches For Family Of Little Girl Seen In Film That Dates Back More Than 80 Years
The village maintains the birds are still a Pest Elimination Code violation, which requires compliance within 14 days. But from what officials tell us, they’re won’t be much movement until the birds move south.