The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

Dirty Birdy

By Prescott Carlson in Miscellaneous on May 10, 2008 5:17PM

Photo of a filthy, bacteria carrying mofo by RUNFAR

This picture of a seagull reminded us that Chicago's beaches officially open for swimming in less than two weeks on May 23. But being the overall grumps that we are, it doesn't make us think of lazy days basking in the sun and splashing in Lake Michigan, but rather of the various beach closings each summer due to elevated levels of E.coli bacteria caused mainly by our fine feathered friend above. The city is trying to cull the seagull population by coating gull eggs with corn oil, which prevents them from hatching. Let's just hope they are more successful with that endeavor than they were with the Canada geese.

The Chicago Park District uses a flag system to indicate water conditions -- green flag, safe to swim. Yellow, elevated levels of E. coli unsafe for children, the elderly, people with weakened immune systems and germaphobes like us. Red, a swim ban is in effect. The park district also posts an online swim report during the beach season. (Note for the CPD suggestion box -- a mobile version of that would be mighty handy.)