Town of Cobourg Calls In Harris Hawk to Help With Seagull Problem

In Editor Choice, Local, Photo Gallery

The Town of Cobourg is trying to work on a solution to seagulls nesting on the roofs of Northam Industrial Park.
Starting Friday April 27, Michael Wood and his Harris hawk falcon will be at the Northam Industrial Park trying to deter seagulls from nesting and allow workers to perform maintenance on the solar panels.

Property Manager of the complex Sandra Arthur said they have tried a number of other solutions, but the birds seem to adapt to them very quickly.
Trying loud noises, within a few days the birds were sitting on the speakers.
“We have a hawk here that is trying to deter the seagulls from the roof of some of the buildings.”
Arthur says just the presence of the hawk keeps the seagulls away from the rooftops.
“We are trying to scare them away from the roofs prior to nesting and hatching.”

Along with the hawk, they are using pyrotechnics (fireworks) to keep the seagulls off the roof while workers are present.
“That seems to work, but with the addition of the falcon we’re hoping this will really take a step forward so it can decrease a population,” said Arthur.
When pyrotechnics were used previously within minutes the seagulls would land again on the roof, but with the addition of the hawk on Friday, Arthur said she was thrilled at the result.
The hawk stayed by its owner and only flew 30 metres, but the presence kept the seagulls off the roofs.
Residents in the area will likely hear the sporadic pyrotechnics going off through the day.
“It will be at different times so the birds don’t get used to it, multiple days of the week.”

Wood was a former teacher who is from Peterborough has been active in bird control for 20 years.
“The bird is trained to deter nuisance birds that encroach on human activities such as this.”
Wood said his primary area where he uses Congo is at transfer stations/garbage sites.
“The Harris hawk, is the preferred birds for bird control because they are user friendly and are obviously good around people and very tame.”
“It keeps them upset and the hope is that we are going to deter them from their stay here.”

As far as using an owl decoy, Wood said birds/seagulls tend to know the difference quickly.
“The movement of the hawk alone is what causes them to get upset. If you just put a plastic owl, they’ll get used to that very quickly.”
The hawk and the pyrotechnics will be in the area of Northam Industrial Park for the next few weeks.
Arthur said the Town of Cobourg must have a permit from Wildlife Canada that allows for the removal of any eggs that are on the roof.

Pete Fisher
Author: Pete Fisher

Has been a photojournalist for over 30-years and have been honoured to win numerous awards for photography and writing over the years. Best selling author for the book Highway of Heroes - True Patriot Love

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