Seagull solution seems to be working
The mitigation of the seagull population at the Scotch Line landfill and nearby Mountain Lake seems to be working, according to Minden Hills staff.
During a late September meeting, the township’s environmental and property operations manager Ivan Ingram gave council an update on efforts to control the gull population. Earlier last month, council voted to employ the services of Rentokil, a company that specializes in the control of migratory bird species. The company is using a combination of methods, including scare tactics and culling, to deter the birds, while in the meantime the township is making efforts to keep the landfill cleaner, including with new covered bins and more frequent covering of garbage.
Many hundreds, perhaps thousands of gulls, split their time between the Scotch Line landfill and the southern portion of Mountain Lake, polluting properties and the water with feces, feathers and garbage. Frustrated lake residents made presentations to councillors in August, asking them to do something about the issue.
The company began work the day after it was hired by council through a pre-approval motion at a mid-September meeting.
“The first thing they did was go to the OPP station to introduce themselves and told them what they’d be doing,” Ingram said. Deterrent methods include the setting off of flare-like sound blaster devices.
In the morning of the first day, employees of the company observed about 200 gulls at the Scotch Line landfill. They detonated two “pyro screamers,” and the birds left the landfill.
Hours later, there were a few “scout” birds observed in the air over the landfill, but none on the ground. When a flock of gulls is frightened from an area, it sends back “scouts” to check if the area is safe. The company’s methods include the killing of those scout birds, and it is awaiting approval of permits to cull the gulls.
The majority of the gulls that had fled the landfill were eventually discovered at a works shed on the Hydro One property along Highway 35.
“They did a screamer,” Ingram said, adding that the detonation of the sound device also scared away a group of gulls that had gathered at a nearby grocery store.
“So, they’ve added that location to their permit,” Ingram said. He provided council with a detailed report of bird activity over a number of days.
“They’re steadily moving, as you can see . . . and they’re chasing them all the time,” he said.
“We’re definitely seeing a change at the site, for sure,” he told councillors.
Councillor Jeanne Anthon said she’d appreciate a regular update with information on gull activity until such time as the birds fly south for the winter.
Mayor Brent Devolin said he’d like to see updates on the gull problem included at each council meeting.
A year’s worth of activities, that will include the targeting of nests and eggs in the springtime, will cost approximately $35,000, which the township can pay in monthly installments.