Province hires hawk to scare birds off Victoria buildings
CTV Vancouver Island
Published Thursday, April 25, 2019 10:47AM PDT
Last Updated Friday, April 26, 2019 2:12PM PDT
The B.C. government is using a raptor to scare birds off downtown Victoria buildings.
It's a new pilot project that the province hopes will solve the problem of seagulls, pigeons, and geese nesting on downtown buildings.
For the next three months, a handler and two trained hawks from The Raptors in Duncan will be visiting the rooftops of four downtown provincial buildings throughout the city, to try to prevent urban birds from nesting.
Robyn Radcliffe with The Raptors said the idea is not to hurt any birds but to disrupt them enough that they decide to move along.
“The long term goal is to get the gulls to go back to a more natural habitat,” said Radcliffe.
“We like to call it a landscape of fear. Where there's a natural predator or raptor, the other birds, primarily the gulls don't want to hang out here, it's not a super attractive location.”
The raptors are released to circle the top of buildings at different times throughout the day.
It's a humane way to discourage birds from building nests.
Nesting birds on rooftops have been wreaking havoc for years. A high number of birds nest on top of buildings each year, which causes a lot of damage. They also create safety issues when they make their nests near air intakes.
Birds have also been known to fly near or into staff and visitors.
The Downtown Victoria Business Association has been trying to deal with this problem for years. Using spike strips on the edges of buildings and even hawk kites.
“We're very supportive of that approach because we know that the fewer gulls we have downtown, the cleaner our sidewalks are,” said Jeff Bray of the DVBA. “The less time our clean team or city staff are having to deal with the mess left behind the better.”
The province has tried several methods to combat nesting habits in the past, including wire netting and anti-roosting spikes.
Several other cities and some airports have been successfully using raptors to scare off urban birds. The province says if this pilot is effective, it'll bring the program back next year.