My wife and I walked down to the 4th Street Panera Bread in downtown Louisville this morning and found workmen cutting down and destroying the trees in front of the restaurant. Puzzled we went in and asked the restaurant manager what was going on. She said that they had a “bird problem” outside the restaurant. The evil birds would congregate on the tree limbs and wreak havoc on the umbrellas over the tables below. It appears this constant need to clean the umbrellas was too much for the big restaurant chain, and so, the trees (and hence the birds) had to go. We were upset by all this, told the manager they would not have our business anymore, and left, sadly watching the wanton destruction of 6 or 8 old trees that were an inconvenient roosting place for those bad birds. I couldn’t help but thinking, the birds never bothered me when eating outside at Panera. What did bother me, what prevented me from eating outside, was the smokers. If Panera wanted to do something to improve the outdoor eating experience, I’d suggest: ban the smokers, leave the birds and the trees. There’s little enough of nature in the downtown area of a city.